For the Golden Knights, Where Are the Answers?

Another home loss has the Vegas Golden Knights suddenly panicking. What is the answer?
Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Four
Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Four / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Not long ago, the Vegas Golden Knights were feeling great about themselves. They had a 2-0 lead and were heading back to the Fortress. Stealing two games at the American Airlines Center can make anyone feel good, after all. Home cookin' is a blessing for any team, bringing a hungry crowd and the emotions out.

However, that wasn't the case in Game 4, where the Dallas Stars doubled up the Golden Knights, 4-2. Once again, the Stars had too much offensive depth for Vegas to handle, leaving them overwhelmed and tired. Once again, the Golden Knights got too careless with the puck, committing 11 giveaways (Dallas had two).

As a result, the series is now tied, with Game 5 on Wednesday looming large. With the Stars feeding off emotions and wanting to win, the Golden Knights are suddenly in a worrisome position. It's strange how things change in less than a week, yet here we are. Once again, the defending champions have their backs against the wall.

What Happened in Game 4?

In Game 3, it was all about Logan Thompson, who stopped 43 shots and kept the Vegas Golden Knights in the game. However, he was the only Golden Knight who did anything of substance. Offensively, Vegas couldn't move past the neutral zone, letting Dallas hang around offensively.

In Game 4, the Golden Knights appeared to learn their lesson, attacking Jake Oettinger early and often. It led to two goals, one from Michael Amadio's shot squeezing by Oettinger, and another off a rebound for Jack Eichel. Things were looking good as Vegas led, 2-1, early in the second period.

Then, a couple costly penalties in the second period wore down the Golden Knights. With Wyatt Johnston burning Vegas on the power play with over 10 minutes in the second period, the game was tied. Then, a tough angle shot leading to a Ty Dellandra even-strength goal gave Dallas the lead late in the period.

It seemed that after that, the Golden Knights had no answers for Dallas in the third period. No matter how many times they came down the ice, they couldn't solve the Stars defensively. Granted, Jake Oettinger had a phenomenal game, bending but not breaking for the Dallas Stars. However, there are some questions with Vegas's lineup, particularly with how unproductive they've become.

The Problem(s) With the Vegas Golden Knights Now

One notable issue with the Vegas Golden Knights is how quiet they've been in the third period. The Golden Knights have had one goal in the third period against Dallas this series. That's an alarming trend for a team stacked with All-Star talent. It's also no excuse for a group aspiring to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

A part of being a better offensive team also comes from handling the puck better. That means cutting down on the giveaways and taking better care of the puck. No more lackadaisical passing for the Golden Knights. Take better care of the puck and build the play.

Another issue for Vegas is Dallas continues to hang around and gobble up more offensive zone time. In Game 3, the Golden Knights were on the offensive 47.7% of the time. Part of why they came up short in that game is because they were tired and couldn't generate any offense.

Who's Going to Step Up for the Vegas Golden Knights?

So, who's going to step up for the Vegas Golden Knights? Is it going to be the trade deadline acquisitions, who've suddenly gone quiet? Anthony Mantha hasn't been much of a household name in Vegas since he arrived. Tomas Hertl, who was supposed to be made for this moment, only has a goal in this series.

What about the hallmarks of the Golden Knights? Mark Stone has as many goals as Hertl this series, and he's received nuclear heat from opposing hockey fans. Chandler Stephenson has also been quiet this series, with only an assist to show for his efforts.

Long story short, the Golden Knights need more than the top line and Logan Thompson to perform well. The Dallas Stars were the top team in the Western Conference for a reason, with dangerous forwards in all situations. If the team doesn't step up against Dallas in Game 5, they're getting a Texas-sized boot kicking them out of the playoffs.