Over the past two series, Vegas goaltender Adin Hill has performed like a Conn Smythe candidate. Mark Stone and Jack Eichel are the headliners but the Golden Knights backstop is becoming an overnight sensation in 549 postseason minutes in net.
On the flip side, the Dallas Stars had full confidence in starting goaltender Jake Oettinger coming into the playoffs. It wasn’t a question of who would be in the net for the Stars. Through 18 postseason starts, Oettinger hasn’t been as sharp as he was for Dallas in the regular season The 24-year-old is significantly below his career averages in goals allowed per game and save percentage. Hill, however, has exceeded all expectations.
So what should we expect from the two netminders tonight in Dallas?
Every time our team’s stumbled, every time he’s had a stumble, his response has been exactly like it was tonight. I had no doubt that’s what we were going to get. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet. I think he’s starting to heat up here too. -Pete DeBoer
Stars coach Pete DeBoer has seen his share of goalie adventures in the past. In 2012, an ageless Martin Brodeur led DeBoer’s Devils to a Stanley Cup Final. As Sharks coach, he had long runs with Martin Jones, and several failed runs with Martin Jones. And, like VGK fans, I’m sure DeBoer has wiped Marc-Andre Fleury’s 2021 Conference Final blunder away from his memory.
So, for the Stars coach to be so optimistic about Oettinger’s ability to take over, he’s likely expecting a low-scoring battle. With Hill’s newfound success, a tight game suits the Golden Knights as well.
They were slinging pucks from everywhere. There were mistakes by us and some turnovers. He gave us a chance to win. Had a huge goal early in the 3rd to keep it 2-2. He hasn’t let in any bad goals. He’s given us a chance to win every night. -Mark Stone
Hill is no longer a question mark. Coach Bruce Cassidy, Golden Knights players, fans, and even Oettinger are anticipating another stout performance from Vegas’ starter tonight. And why shouldn’t they? He’s been defeated just three times in nine postseason games and wasn’t the Golden Knights’ problem in any of them.
HOLY MOLY ADIN HILL pic.twitter.com/b7vqoNWlWC
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 28, 2023
Last series the Golden Knights cruised to a 5-2 Game 6 victory against the Edmonton Oilers. After trailing 2-1, Hill’s heroics and Jonathan Marchessault’s natural hat trick closed the door on the Oilers. Tonight’s Game 6 will likely be more tense but don’t expect Hill to be impacted. Having watched Oettinger’s inconsistency through five postseason games against the Golden Knights, I’ll let DeBoer speak for him.