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Dallas Brought Desperation And Tactical Adjustments To Game 4, VGK’s Turn To Counter

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

The Golden Knights have the Stars on the brink. With their backs against the wall, Vegas knew they’d get everything Dallas had left in the tank in Game 4. That of course comes with the cliches of desperation, higher levels of intensity, and in this particular series, trying to keep the season alive long enough to get Jamie Benn back from suspension.

Desperation was the highest it’s been. At home, you know what’s on the line, what the stakes are. Everyone came to play and we’re going to need that same desperation through these next three games. -Jason Robertson

What Game 4 also came with was a few new players in the Dallas lineup, a brand new set of lines through the bottom-nine, and a couple of tactical tweaks.

We felt they were forechecking the puck side very heavily and trying to outnumber us on that side. So that took away a little but of our ability to break out on the strong side. When we did we were good, and we did on the first goal by Karlsson. They were on us quicker after that. So we tried to change sides with some rims and we tried to balance our breakouts but that’s one area I noticed for sure they were more content to forecheck us and it worked for them. -Cassidy

As Cassidy mentioned, one of the first times the Stars tried to aggressively attack the strong side of Vegas’ breakout, the Golden Knights beat it and ended up scoring a goal. Watch.

As you can see, all five Stars players are on one side of the ice. Reilly Smith makes an excellent play along the boards to eliminate the pinching Ryan Suter and the Golden Knights are off to the races.

Of course, there’s a lot more to do on this play to end up putting it into the back of the net (including getting a lot of help from Suter’s peculiar route back into his own zone), but it all started with a clean breakout against a numbers disadvantage along the wall.

That adjustment would pay off for the Stars though. Here’s the very next time they got the puck in deep.

The play is almost identical, except this time Miro Heiskanen makes the pinch along the wall and beats Brett Howden where on the last one Smith beat Suter. There’s a quick little D-to-D pass along the boards and then it’s sent up the wall. In both instances, there are more Stars in the area than Golden Knights. If Dallas wins with the numbers advantage, they keep the play alive, if they don’t, Vegas is out with a rush chance.

Their defense was pinching a little bit and giving us some chances for 2-on-1’s and 3-on-2’s. Sometimes with that, you get caught going the wrong way, and they got some opportunities. We didn’t do a good enough job making it difficult on them. We get another opportunity in two days, but we can learn from this. -Smith

Cassidy noticed one other adjustment rolled out by Pete DeBoer as well.

In the neutral zone they want to get the puck wide when they can and then into speed either by changing sides or getting it into the middle if they can. I think it was just us in between our checking. They kind of play that way anyway but they just played better at it than we defended it. -Cassidy

On a neutral zone draw win, William Carrier and Keegan Kolesar are caught in between forechecking and dropping into the standard 1-2-2 neutral zone defense. A simple D-to-D pass followed by an unchallenged diagonal pass through the neutral zone eliminates both Carrier and Kolesar. This forces the defensemen and center, Teddy Blueger, to bail at the blue line and allow the controlled entry.

Unlike the overly aggressive strong side forecheck which will force the Golden Knights to break the puck out differently, this adjustment can be countered by better execution.

As the series heads back to T-Mobile Arena for Game 5, Cassidy will have his players even better prepared to adapt to what DeBoer and Co. are throwing at them. Vegas remain in dominant position in the series, and while the Stars aren’t going to go down easy, the Golden Knights have the answers to pass the test, they just have to go out and do it one more time in the next three games.




Adin Hill’s Outstanding Run Between The Vegas Pipes


  1. Excellent analytical look at things…Dallas definitely played better in game 4 than they had been….our gaps weren’t as good defensively… we didn’t play poorly at all.. we did have 2 one goal leads…perhaps if we can stay away from 2 high sticking penalties going forward a better outcome can be arrived at….hill/mountain was awesome.. he might have even saved the game winner if he could have seen it but Martinez applied to a perfect screen to his vision…sigh!!!


    Anyone tired of watching Theodore and Pietrangelo screw up the power play.???
    For that matter are we tried of them everywhere???
    Aside from them both coming up empty on every power play… AP and Martinez were on the ice for every goal.
    Martinez gets caught trying to cover for the wandering Pieceofshitrangelo all the time. Neither cover the back side and get caught either high or to wide onto the off side?
    When can we try Martinez, Hague, or Justin play Hutton for Theodore period… He is tougher, doesn’t panic, and makes WAY LESS MISTAKES…
    So tired of throwing up every time these dumb analyst praise Theodore… He makes a great skating play once every 30 games or so and then we disregard the mishandled keep ins, the panic passes that puts others in bad shape, and then fear of being hit or hitting someone… Hockey is a contact sport… No place for pussy’s like Shea
    These d men who live off of secondary assists that come from being on the ice with talented forwards make me sick.

    And can we get rid of MCCRIMMONS lover and mole Ryan Craig??? How has this bozo lasted thru every coaching change???
    I will tell you… Mole and C@€K S+×÷=R


    Hill was great all game! But on the game winner Martinez had the short side blocked and Hill moved into the screen. Martinez should have ignored Hills lost stick… Trying to grab it and give it to Hill caused both of them to lose focus and the game.

  4. knights fan in minny

    1 game away from the cup and we have a bunch of whiners

  5. Henderson One

    Despite the analysis this game came down to McNabb getting penalized for high sticking twice. Should be a healthy scratch in next game if he can not control himself..

  6. McNabb wasn’t the only reason we lost – they win as a team and lose as a team so
    all have to shoulder the responsibility of the outcome. It was disappointing they were not able to finish off Dallas in front of their fans based on their reaction in game three. That would have been poetic justice but apparently not meant to be. Vegas needs to end this tomorrow as going back to Dallas for another game spells trouble. As bad as this sounds if they go to game seven (which I sure hope doesn’t happen) they are likely eliminated as Dallas will have all the momentum and Vegas will be looking in the mirror asking what happened. Game four they took their foot of the gas and it cost them – leading twice and falling in OT is not an acceptable outcome from this team. They had Dallas on the ropes and gave them life with the win. They have been down this road before so hopefully they learned from previous mistakes. Here’s to ending it Saturday.

  7. Jailbird

    Wow, you guys want some cheese to go along with all that ?

  8. Arnold Rothstein

    none of these “tactical Changes” mattered as game was lost by PK

    end of story.

    New Day, Fresh Start. Wipe the slate clean.

  9. God

    Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart O Holy Spirit,
    that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is
    holy. Guard me, then,
    O Holy Spirit, that I always
    may be holy. Amen.

  10. bruce silliman

    I think we went away from what won the previous three games and that was playing strong defense and giving up the breakout pass. Yes, we did have a few chances which we screwed up or their defensemen countered our moves but we cannot beat this team if we play fastbreak hockey!

  11. God

    It happened at the time of the offering of the offering, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, “LORD, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Hear me, LORD, hear me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God, and that you have turned their heart back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces. They said, “The LORD, he is God! The LORD, he is God!”

    Read more at:

  12. Judas Iscariot

    Trailer park in Minny is correct. A bunch of whiners on this site.

    • knights fan in minny

      fuck you satan crawl back under your rock you piece of shit

  13. Donald J Trump

    Happy and Blesses Memorial Day weekend to all patriots and veterans.

    Freedom is not Free, (and screw all the anti American, anti constitutional) pedocrats . Previously known as democrats and jim crow law advocates. PArty of slavery.

    God Bless America


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