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Stanley Cup Final Q&A w/ David Dwork on Florida Panthers

As we do every series we welcome a guest to preview the series from the other side. In this Q&A we have David Dwork of TheHockeyNews and Channel 10 in South Florida. David has covered the Panthers for over a decade and grew up a fan of the team so there are not many that know them better than him.

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Recap: The Golden Knights were prepared to end the Western Conference Finals on the road with a Game 6 victory over the Stars. Vegas came out strong and scored the first goal of the game for the fourth straight game. This time William Carrier patiently flipped a puck over a sprawling Stars goaltender. William Karlsson buried a power play rebound to double the Golden Knights edge and few minutes later Keegan Kolesar gave Vegas a 3-0 advantage. 

After an expiring power play, Jonathan Marchessault extended the Golden Knights lead 4-0 heading into the second intermission.

Karlsson tallied another one, his franchise-record 10th of the postseason, in the final period giving Vegas a five-goal lead. Michael Amadio added a 6th for good measure.

The Golden Knights skated to a 6-0 victory, eliminate the Stars and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Vegas will host the Florida Panthers for a seven-game series to crown an NHL champion. The finals begin on Saturday night from T-Mobile Arena. Puck drop for Game 1 is scheduled for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: After a pair of games that left many wondering, the Golden Knights came out and put to bed any possible chance they’d lose this series. They played what may have been the best period in the history of the franchise in the 1st and then followed it up with a defensive clinic protecting the house the rest of the way. The Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup Final where they are four wins away from fulfilling The Creator’s prophecy. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Dallas Stars Game 6 at American Airlines Center.

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Adin Hill vs Dallas Part VI

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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Battle Of Depth Tilting Towards Dallas

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

For the first 10+ games of this playoff run one of the most consistent parts of the Golden Knights’ game has been their 4th line. No matter what has been going on with the group ahead of them, the grinders on the 4th line have gotten the job done night in and night out.

The Western Conference Final started out that way as Teddy Blueger came up with the go-ahead goal in the 3rd period. In Game 2 the 4th line was the only group that had any consistent success at 5-on-5, out-attempting the Stars 10-3, out-chancing them 3-0, and managing multiple high-danger chances without allowing one.

From there though, and especially in the past two games, it’s headed in the wrong direction for the depth players in gold.

Our 4th line didn’t do what it typically does in terms of puck possession in the O-Zone and then they were forced to play and got outworked in the D-Zone. So that’s something I expect to change. Whether Howden’s on that line, Blueger, or Nic Roy, they have to do a better job against their 4th line. Give credit to that line for Dallas, they outplayed our guys. -Cassidy

The group of Radek Faksa, Fredrik Olafsson, and Luke Glendening dominated the Golden Knights’ 4th line in Game 5 including the massive goal that tied the game. That group posted a 92% expected goals share against the VGK 4th line and did not allow William Carrier, Keegan Kolesar, and Brett Howden anything near the front of the net.

In many ways, it set the tone for the rest of the team.

That was one part of the game where that slot battle comes into play and that urgency tilts the game in their favor. When our 4th line is going well like that, our game goes better. They did some good things but they have to get back to who they are and their identity. -Cassidy

Vegas had troubles in many areas of the ice last night, including giving the puck away 24 times, but the largest area of concern is directly in front of the net. After being basically even through two games, the Golden Knights now trail 63-48 in high-danger chances in the series. Even as good as Adin Hill has been, the Stars have scored five goals from high-danger chances in the past two games, they had just three in the first three.

That’s our group, next man up. We got contributions from everyone. I mean that’s a gutsy win being down a couple of guys and coming in here. I like our group and I wouldn’t bet against them. -Pete DeBoer

To turn this around and secure that final win, the Golden Knights must get back to getting contributions up and down the lineup. Vegas’ depth has made line matching difficult for opposing coaches, especially in road games. With Game 6 taking place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Vegas is going to need everyone to get back to playing the way they were.


Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Stars for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals up 3-1 in the series. Ivan Barbashev opened the scoring with a great individual move in front of the net. Minutes later the Stars evened the score after deflecting the puck past Adin Hill. In the waning moments both teams had quality chances, but the goaltenders stepped up in net. Going into the first intermission the game was locked in a 1-1 tie.

Early in the period Shea Theodore found an open Chandler Stephenson and the top-six center wristed a puck into Dallas’ net. A couple of minutes later the Stars matched the score 2-2.

Dallas’ offense heated up in the final period, scoring the first two goals of the frame. The Golden Knights attempted a comeback, but the Stars held on to thier 4-2 advantage.

With their 4-2 win over Vegas, Dallas forces a Game 6 back in Texas on Monday. Puck drop is scheduled for 5PM  (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The game started out quite choppy and the Golden Knights seemed to be the beneficiaries of it, scoring first and posting the first seven shots. Then the Stars found their way into the game and started creating dangerous chances all over the place. Adin Hill was terrific once again but the dam eventually broke with a pair in the 3rd. VGK will now head back to Dallas where they’ll have a lot more pressure than they’ve had at any point in this postseason. Time to really react. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Dallas Stars Game 5 at T-Mobile Arena.

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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.

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Recap: The Golden Knights aimed to sweep the Stars with a clinching victory in Dallas. William Karlsson got Vegas off to another strong start, scoring the game’s opening goal 4:17 into the opening twenty minutes. Ten minutes later Dallas took advantage of a Brayden McNabb high-sticking penalty and evened the score.

Dallas came out firing in the middle frame, quickly outshooting Vegas 6-0. Later in the period the Golden Knights top line sustained pressure in the offensive zone and Jonathan Marchessault tapped one in to give his team a 2-1 advantage. With under three minutes to play in the period Dallas jumped on a rebound to tie the game. The game was locked 2-2 after 40 minutes.

Both teams had chances throughout the final period but neither could find the back of the net. After 60 minutes the game needed overtime to decide a winner for the third time in four games. Three minutes into sudden death the Stars scored to win 3-2 and force a Game 5 in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights will try and eliminate the Stars with a Game 5 win on Saturday. Puck drop is scheduled for 5PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights got off to the perfect start by scoring quickly. Then, the pushback that was expected came from Dallas and they started to take over the game. Adin Hill was tremendous in keeping the game close and VGK in the lead for a lot of it. Vegas looked its best in the 3rd, nearly finding a way to win it in regulation. McNabb takes a penalty in OT and the Stars made them pay. See ya Saturday. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Dallas Stars Game 4 at American Airlines Center.

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Does Dallas Have Enough Fight Left To Force A Game 5?

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. No team in NHL history has come back from an 0-3 conference finals deficit. The downward-spiraling Dallas Stars will try and begin a historic run tonight with a win in Game 4. Win or lose, in all likelihood the Golden Knights have done enough to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s just a matter of when.

So, what should the Golden Knights expect from a Stars team that the record books have shown they have nothing to play for?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That’s the approach we’re going to take with the rest of the series. We’re not going to get back in the series tomorrow night, but we’ll take a bite and see what happens. – Pete DeBoer, DAL coach

As former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna reminds us weekly; hockey players have a lot of pride. So, of course the Stars have something to play for but it’s unlikely to be for the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. It’s hard to believe Dallas’ locker room, coaching staff and fanbase have any confidence in a four-game win streak but a victory in Game 4 would give them some sense of false hope. Even if Dallas can return home for a desperate Game 6, history is still heavily against them.

Assuming Vegas comes out as sharp as they have all series, the home team will be up against it from the opening puck drop. The Golden Knights will be hungry to sweep the series and earn as much rest as the Eastern Conference champions Florida Panthers. Dallas will be down two impact forwards but it’s not the focus around the locker room. The Stars are taking a simple approach into tomorrow’s elimination game.

We’re just worried about trying to get our first win in this series. That’s all that matters. We’re going to have to play desperate hockey now. Our lives are at stake here and I’m looking forward to it. This group has answered when our backs are against the wall. We’re going to find a way to muster up a good 60 minutes and find a way to beat a really good team. We’re going to have a hungry team tomorrow – Max Domi, DAL forward

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Golden Knights’ Style The Impetus To Opposition Frustration

Image from NHL on ESPN Broadcast

It’s not uncommon in the game of hockey to see someone lose their cool. It is however quite rare is to see an entire NHL team and the 18,532 people in the arena cheering for them do it all at the same time.

It started less than two minutes into the game after the Golden Knights took a quick 1-0 lead when Stars captain Jamie Benn viciously crosschecked Mark Stone in the face while he was laying on the ice. As a captain often does, Benn set the tone for what was to come with his team and his fan base for the rest of the night.

Three more Vegas goals, and about 90 minutes later, while Max Domi was being called for as blatant a boarding penalty as you’ll ever see, Stars fans began showering the ice with beers, rally towels, and whatever else they could find to hurl over the boards. It got so bad the 2nd period couldn’t even be completed as the officials sent both teams to the locker room with 21 seconds left on the clock as the ice crew cleaned up the debris.

Everyone in the building was frustrated tonight. -Pete DeBoer

Adin Hill’s popcorn shower is the visual confirmation DeBoer hit the nail on the head.

On the other side, there were the Golden Knights, who just kept playing their brand of hockey.

Games have gotten like that and we’re right there with each other. I’ve never seen it phase us really. -Nic Hague

Yes, many games this postseason “have gotten like that” and no longer can it just be chalked up to the competitiveness of playoff hockey, instead, tonight, we learned the real catalyst of the frustration experienced by the Stars, Oilers, and the Jets before them. That catalyst is the Golden Knights themselves.

They bring this side out of teams. Not because they are cocky or loud or try to rile the other team up (to be fair, they do indeed do some of this, but not any more than any other team) but instead because of the way they have chosen to play the game.

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Recap: The Golden Knights were looking to take a three-game series lead with a win in Game 3. Vegas didn’t hesitate to get on the board, scoring the opening goal 1:11 into the game. Less than a minute later Dallas captain Jamie Benn committed a penalty and was called for a game misconduct for cross-checking Mark Stone to the neck. Ivan Barbashev capitalized on the extended power play and doubled VGK’s lead. Seventy-three seconds later William Carrier gave the Golden Knights a commanding three-goal advantage.

Up 3-0, Vegas came out protecting their lead while continuing to pressure Dallas. Deep into the middle frame the Golden Knights drew a penalty which the PP unit wore down the Stars PK’ers. Seconds after the man-advantage Alex Pietrangelo joined the party and extended the visitors lead. After 40 minutes the Golden Knights held a 4-0 edge.

The Golden Knights continued to protect their lead in the final period.

With their 4-0 win over the Stars, the Golden Knights are one game away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. Vegas will try and close out the Conference Finals on Thursday night. Puck drop for Game 4 is scheduled for 5PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Sometimes everything just goes your way. It was one of those nights for the Golden Knights as they scored on pretty much every chance they had to start the game. They chased Oettinger in the first ten minutes and then just buckled down and defended the middle of the ice. From there, the Stars completely crumbled, and their fans did with them. It wasn’t as dominant a performance as the score indicated, but who gives a damn as the Golden Knights are now one win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Dallas Stars Game 3 at American Airlines Center.

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