At some point after Game 4 of the Las Vegas/Vancouver series, the Golden Knights offence looked like it began to sputter. With only four goals in the final three games of that series — and three of those four Vegas goals coming in Game 7 against an exhausted Vancouver squad that finished with 14 shots on goal –, the Golden Knights offense looked off.
The lackluster Golden Knights offence carried over into the Western Conference Final opener as Vegas was shutout 1-0 by the Dallas Stars. The situation has not gotten much better and with a total of six goals in the first four games of this Western Conference final series, Vegas finds themselves under a three games to one stranglehold. With Mark Stone clearly straining and potentially out for Game 5, the Golden Knights will need all hands-on deck to stave off elimination later this evening.
Who Are the Quiet Knights?
Astutely noted by Twitter’s @NHL_Watcher, two of the Golden Knight forwards have been particularly quiet of late. Neither Max Pacioretty nor Jonathan Marchessault have scored. That’s simply not good enough.
If Vegas wants to continue this series and hold onto any hope of reaching their second Stanley Cup Final in three years, both Marchessault and Pacioretty will need to find their offensive touch for Game 5. Clearly aware of how frustrating it is not to be producing, Marchessault said of his inability to get going, “My emotional level cannot rise. It needs to cool down a little bit.”
As for Pacioretty, he can be streaky. The team just needs to find that hot streak before it’s too late.
Vegas Knows the Numbers Game
Amazingly, during the 2020 third round conference semi-final series, three out of four teams clawed back to force a Game 7 (although all the teams that were down 3-1 all lost). Worse yet for Vegas, 60% (6 out of 10) of series that have reached a three games to one advantage during these 2020 playoffs have been closed out in Game 5.
During these nutty times, it just feels like NHL teams that are close to elimination might be tempted to fold the tent, get out of the bubble and reintegrate back into the ‘real world’. If Marchessault’s words mean anything, the Golden Knights won’t be one of those teams.
“It’s never over until it’s over,” he said.
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