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.