The Vegas Golden Knights are now standing on the precipice of absolute disaster.
Needing a win in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, the Vegas Golden Knights instead failed to get their offense going yet again and dropped a crushing 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
The Golden Knights are now just one single loss away from leaving The Bubble empty-handed, and that would be a bitter disappointment for a franchise that had gone all in to win this year.
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- Vegas Golden Knights: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly from Game 5 elimination
As has been the case for much of this series, the two teams played out a goalless first period before veteran defenseman Alec Martinez got Vegas on the board in the second period with a power play goal.
However, that was as good as it got for the Golden Knights as Anton Khudobin didn’t let another puck breach his net, stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced in Game 4.
When you can’t light the lamp you are asking for trouble and that’s exactly what the Knights got as the Stars fought back.
It was a devastating loss that put the Golden Knights on the brink of elimination, so let’s go through The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Game 4…
Alec Martinez – The Golden Knights are struggling for offense right now, like really struggling, so they need their defensemen to chip in with secondary scoring now more than ever.
They got that in Game 4 as Alec Martinez, who knows a thing or two about scoring big goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, recorded his second goal of the postseason.
With Vegas on the power play in the second period, Nate Schmidt sent a pass across to Martinez who one-timed a slap shot into the net to give the Knights the lead.
Sadly, it didn’t last and Martinez’s goal was a rare highlight in what was another tough watch for Vegas fans.
Robin Lehner – You can’t fault the 2018-19 Vezina Trophy Finalist for the current struggles of this team.
In fact, you could argue that it might be even worst were it not for Lehner, who has bailed out the Golden Knights time and time again this series.
You aren’t leaving much room for error when you score just one goal a game and Lehner made some huge stops in Game 4 to give his team a chance.
He stopped 18 of 20 shots but the offense were again unable to give their elite goalie any support.
Turnovers – When your offence is faltering you need your defense to make big plays, but that didn’t happen in Game 4.
Instead, the Golden Knights turned over the puck in their own zone minutes after Alec Martinez had given them the lead with Nate Schmidt being picked after not handling a Mark Stone pass.
It led to Joe Pavelski having the puck right where he wanted it, with the forward’s backhand defecting off a defenseman and past Robin Lehner.
The Power Play – We’ll keep this short because all we seem to do these days is pan the PP, but the man advantage sunk to new lows in Game 4.
While Alec Martinez did convert on the power play in the second period, the Golden Knights went 1/5 in total.
And, in what was an utter cardinal sin, they had a couple of lengthy 5-on-3’s but were unable to capitalize.
What was worst was the fact that the Golden Knights couldn’t get any traffic to the front of the net, with Anton Khudobin having a family easy time of it between the pipes.
He saw everything perfectly but that is going to be the case when there is no screen in-front of net.
You can’t fail on a 5-on-3 in any situation if you want to be successful, but you especially can’t fail in a Game 4 when you are trailing in the series.
Gameplan – The Golden Knights have stuck with the same systems and the same plan of attack throughout this series, and it sounds like it won’t change in Game 5.
That’s a huge mistake.
While the Golden Knights are dominating in a number of different metrics and are consistently better than the Stars on the shot board, they are being completely stifled by Dallas when and where it really matters.
The Stars have found a way to completely shut down this potent offense and, if the Vegas Golden Knights don’t change something for Monday, then this series will be over in five.