Video Credit: NHL

FSM Essential Recap: VGK vs Stars – Western Conference Finals – Game 4

 

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Woof.  VGK dropped game four of the Western Conference Finals 2-1 to the Dallas Stars and are now one game away from elimination.

 

Photo Credit: NHL

Alex Martinez got VGK on the board in the second period with a slapshot from the right side on the powerplay. VGK’s lead would last about four minutes until Brayden McNabb failed to clear the puck off the boards, and Nate Schmidt could not clean up McNabb’s mess. Joe Pavelski scored on a fluky backhand that beat Robin Lehner over the glove. Jaime Benn gave Dallas the lead for good on the power play when he slapped a rebound by Lehner. That would conclude the scoring for the game. VGK failed to convert on a two-man advantage in the third. As is a common theme for the series, VGK outshot Dallas thirty-three to twenty.

Anton Khudobin…what is left to say about him? Perhaps he and Thatcher Demko strategized after the last series?  Khudobin, or the ghost of Demko, has been excellent. You can’t take anything away from his performance this series. A hot goalie can take a team all the way. It has happened before, and it may happen again. The NBC broadcast crew had a great perspective. The line was something along the lines of “VGK needs to shoot before taking that extra step because Khudobin is a step ahead of Vegas.”

It is true, Khudobin is putting on a clinic. It would be a lot more enjoyable if it were not at VGK’s expense!  Confidence is fueling Khudobin’s performance. He made multiple saves where he was three feet or greater out from the crease.

Coach Pete DeBoer made what I considered to be a bold statement at Saturday’s presser before the game. “You can’t coach the puck into the net, but you can coach making it tougher on the goalie.”

So what did VGK do to make it tougher on the goalie? I saw more of the same. Lots and lots of shots, lots of shot attempts, and save after save after save. I am not questioning VGK’s shoot-first mentality by any means; just after a quote like that, I was expecting more creativity. DeBoer better get creative, or VGK’s bubble is going to pop.

Brayden McNabb and Nate Schmidt have been so good this season. McNabb and Schmidt have been bad over the last two games. Playoff hockey is about dirty goals and low scoring games. Playoff hockey is also about making the most out of opportunistic situations. Dallas has taken full advantage of the opportunities created by Schmidt and McNabb.

Side note, I like to listen to music when I write my articles, and lately, it has been the classic rock station on iHeartRADIO. “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey just came on.  Take that for what it is worth.

 

Lehner or Marc-Andre Fleury?

 

Photo Credit: NHL

I think it is probably Lehner, but I hope it is Fleury. Fleury should be our ride or die for the rest of the Western Conference Finals. Lehner has done nothing wrong. I will take it a step further and say that Lehner is the reason VGK qualified for one of the top four spots in the West.  But VGK has two great goalies, and Fleury is the spark that VGK needs.

Mark Stone clearly was not right after a shot block early on. Credit him for a great effort. Will he play Monday night? Time will tell.

When a team goes down three games to one, the clichés start to fly. “You have to stay positive. The more you get down on yourself, the more you push yourself in the wrong direction,” said Reilly Smith. “It’s perseverance. There’s no magic pill to take… this is a long way from over, and we’re going to be a tough out.”Pete DeBoer.

 

No matter how you slice it, VGK is fighting for the right for their season to continue and needs to find a way to win three games in a row. Seems impossible, right? Remember, in Vegas we have lived the impossible.

 

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars series and T.V. schedule:

 

Game 1 – Stars 1, VGK 0

Game 2 – VGK 3, Stars 0

Game 3- Stars 3, VGK 2 (OT)

Game 4 – Stars 2, VGK 1

Game 5 – Sept. 14 – 5 p.m.  (NBCSN)

*Game 6 – Sept. 16 – 5 p.m.  (NBCSN)

*Game 7 – Sept. 18 – 6 p.m.  (NBCSN)

*If necessary

 

 

The magic number for the Golden Knights to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup remains at 7. 

 

Go Knights Go!

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: TDChrisG

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