In the Colorado series, the Stars had to go against their norm and push on offense to have a prayer of outscoring the high powered Avs. We didn’t necessarily race up and down the ice, but rather played high and aggressive with forechecking to bring the physicality to the offensive zone.
The result was five goal games in all four of our wins; a huge turnaround from the 2nd lowest scoring offense in the league during regular season.
In game 1 against Vegass, the Stars got back to our dominant defense and goaltending ways through a gritty 1-0 shutout. The neutral zone was clamped down shut, and if the Knights ever did find their way into the o-zone, the Dallas defensive bunker was impenetrable.
It’s hard to tell if we set out to use these tactics from the beginning or if the plan was to just lock down once we got a lead. The reason? Our goal came on our very first shot, just two and half minutes into the game…
Maybe we would’ve opened up more going forward if Vegass had ever equalized, but they didn’t. They didn’t even come close. Five total high danger scoring chances (including power plays) and zero total goals. It was a masterpiece.
A lot of people are pointing to the fact that the Knights were tired after playing back to back games 6 and 7 vs the Canucks. I’m sure that affected the game, but I have no sympathy.
Vegass gets a huge break all season by playing an easy schedule in the easiest division in hockey, while we have to grind it out in the hardest division every year. Also, don’t get pushed to seven games vs Vancouver if you don’t want to be tired.
When it comes to fatigue throughout the entire course of the series, Vegass should have the advantage. Mainly because of their goalie situation, as backup Theo Fleury looked very much like the Fleury that put the expansion team on his back and carried them to the finals two years ago.
Dobby was even better, as he stopped 100% of his shots and allowed ZERO rebound attempts.
In any given game, I’ll feel comfortable rolling with Dobby. However, he is a small goalie and depends on reflex skills that might wear down over a series.
I hope Bishop can snap out of whatever funk he’s in, or Vegass might get a leg up with fresh top-notch goalies. That’s why getting game 1 was so huge for us.
This was the best hit of the game though…
Now to Vegass’s credit, none of their players are out for the series yet. Good for them for being tougher than the Flames and Avs. Still, it was quite nice to see a team that was so visibly cocky for two series before this end up looking tired, quiet, and scared all night on Sunday.
A couple other notes…
Heiskanen is so, so good. The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro just released a nice writeup on how his 21 year old play measures up to old legends in their primes.
One gif can’t do him justice, but there’s so many things like this that he makes look so easy. It doesn’t show up in the box score, but he’s already breaking records in that aspect anyway.
The Avs were cheating against us all last series. It looks like Vegass won’t be able to and that might be huge. Finally, interference is being called again…
We win three out of six and we’re in the finals. Game 2 tonight. Let’s fucking go.