The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. The Stars won Game 1 with a score of 1-0. Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves also made his return after his one game suspension. Here is the recap for Game 2 between the Golden Knights and Stars.
The Golden Knights knew that they had to establish their game early on in this game. Or else, this game would be a replica of Game 1. And, it seemed like that with the Stars getting scoring chances once again early during the period. However, the heavy forecheck and defensive play from the Golden Knights set the tone of this game. The Golden Knights also started to pressure the Stars in their defensive zone shooting eight shots on goal. But, both teams weren’t able to score a goal by the end of the period.
The game was tied at zero heading into the second period.
This was one of those games where the Golden Knights shined in the second period. They scored three unanswered goals which would also be the game’s only goals. Golden Knights forward Paul Stastny started the scoring from assists from forward Max Pacioretty and defenseman Brayden McNabb. Stastny’s goal would also be the first time the Golden Knights led in this series. Golden Knights forward William Karlsson followed suit and scored on a power play 8:24 into the period from Stastny and defenseman Shea Theodore. To finish the scoring barrage, Golden Knights forward Tomas Nosek scored off a highlight reel play from forwards Nicolas Roy and Chandler Stephenson 14:32 into the period. Theodore scored a goal on another power play but was reversed due to incidental contact with the goaltender.
Vegas went into the third period with a 3-0 lead.
Despite being down 3-0, the Stars wouldn’t back down and started to put shots on goal outshooting the Golden Knights 12-5. The Stars also pulled goaltender Anton Khudobin from the net and put in backup goaltender Jake Oettinger who saved all five of the Golden Knights’ shots. Not only did the Stars make a push this period but they started to play more physical on the defensive end not allowing the Golden Knights to set up any kind of offense. However, the Stars couldn’t find any spark to get one goal in and forward Alexander Radulov was assessed a high-stick double minor against McNabb. But, the Golden Knights weren’t able to convert on their last power play of the game. That wouldn’t matter however as the Golden Knights secured their first win this series.
Vegas won the game 3-0 and tied the series 1-1.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Tomas Nosek (1 goal)
Second Star: Robin Lehner (24 saves)
First Star: Paul Stastny (Game winning goal, 1 assist)
Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas turned their game around in Game 2 after practically not showing up in Game 1 until the third period. They were able to establish their forechecking and heavy hitting game early on despite Dallas getting good scoring opportunities. Reaves’ also made his presence known in this game with six hits, three behind Vegas forward William Carrier with nine.
Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner would also start in this game after Marc-Andre Fleury played in Game 1. Lehner now leads the NHL with four shutouts this postseason and is the fourth goaltender to post four shutouts in one postseason. Fleury was the last to do so in 2018.
Their power play could still use some work though Karlsson converted on one of their six power plays this game. Vegas’ first power play was very sloppy as they couldn’t produce any offense let alone get into their zone. If they can find consistency in their power play, then they could potentially be more dangerous than they are moving forward this series.
Defensively, everybody contributed in the hits and physicality department. Vegas outhit Dallas 55-47 after being outhit 49-47 in Game 1. They also didn’t allow Dallas to get to their game for the majority of this game. And, Vegas won 61.2% of the faceoffs when they’re usually on the losing side of the faceoff game. This allowed them to clear the puck out of their defensive zone.
Vegas should expect Dallas to come into Game 3 with more pressure that they set in the third period of this game. But, if Vegas can find ways to counteract Dallas’ pressurized game on both ends of the ice then they should have no worries taking the series lead at the end of Game 3.
This was a tale of two games for Dallas. In Game 1, they were the quicker and more physical team than Vegas. But, despite putting up five good scoring chances early in the first period, Dallas never really got to their game until the third period. This was just like how Vegas was in Game 1 when they started to put more pressure on them.
The one thing that caused Dallas to lose this game was the amount of penalties they took. Some of those were petty penalties to take. Radulov’s slashing penalty in the second period was out of retaliation after receiving a hit from Vegas forward Mark Stone and one that could’ve been prevented.
They also turned over the puck 14 times this game with one of them leading to Nosek’s goal. Dallas has to come into Game 3 with a more disciplined mindset if they want to regain the series lead. Because moving forward, Vegas is going to be a more dangerous team now that they’ve established their style of hockey during this game.
Game 3 of the Golden Knights-Stars series is on Sep. 10 at 8 p.m. EST on NBCSN.