The Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars will face each other for the fifth time in the Western Conference Finals at the Rogers Place on Monday night. Will the Stars finally make it to the Stanley Cup final after twenty years, or will the Golden Knights force a Game 6 and keep their Stanley Cup dreams alive?
Vegas Golden Knights: backs against the wall
The Vegas Golden Knights were seen as the big favorite for winning the Stanley Cup entering the Western Conference Finals, but after four games being played in the Conference Finals they have their backs against the wall. Vegas is trailing the Dallas Stars 3-1 in the series. It is mainly the lack of goals that seems to break up the hockey team. Guys like Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone aren't stepping up their game at the moment.
In any case, it is not Robin Lehner's fault that Vegas is facing elimination. The goalie has a save percentage of 92.28% in the postseason and a 1.77 goals-against average. Vegas putting up no more than two goals in each of Lehner’s six losses this postseason so the Swede will hope he gets some offensive support in Game 5. Head coach Peter DeBoer watched his players take the lead in Game 4 last Saturday, thanks to a power play goal by Alec Martinez, but the Dallas Stars rebounded to score twice later in the period.
Dallas Stars: one win away from Stanley Cup Final
In the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the Dallas Stars looked like a different team than in the regular season, which was known for its solid defense, but had a hard time scoring. They were averaging 3.76 goals per game and giving up 3.58 goals per game in those first two rounds. The Stars were seen as a big underdogs for their meeting with the Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals, but they can reach the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night for the first time since 2000.
Anton Khudobin is largely responsible for the success in the series against the Golden Knights. While the Russian conceded eighteen goals in the last five games against Colorado, he has a 1.68 goals-against average against Vegas in the first four games and a save percentage of 95.20%. Unlike the top players of the Golden Knights, those of Dallas did step up their game when they needed to bring their ''A'' game. Alexander Radulov and captain Jamie Benn were responsible for winning goals in Game 3 and Game 4 respectively.
Under 5 goals
I find it hard to imagine that Vegas will be eliminated in five games by Dallas so I expect them to force at least a Game 6. Both teams have put up just six goals in four games this series and it has been extremely close each game . The under has been a winning bet in each of the first four in this series, and seven in a row for Vegas now. Of course there is always a chance that the Golden Knights' attack will come alive in this elimination game, but if the goalies Lehner and Khudobin manage to reach their high level, a low-scoring match is the most likely outcome.