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Breaking down Stars-Golden Knights Game 6
If there’s good news for Jamie Benn, it’s that he won’t lose any money because of his suspension.
His Dallas Stars teammates did that for him, winning two game to forced Game 6, making it so that he wouldn’t miss a game check in Game 1 of the 2023-24 season.
With Benn back in the lineup, with a chance to force a Game 7, Dallas imploded.
Vegas dominated, they’ll play for the Stanley Cup against the Florida Panthers.
Game 6 was bad, and we’ll talk about a bit of that, but this series ended in Game 3 when Benn cross-checked Mark Stone.
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A 3-0 series deficit, courtesy of the captain’s actions, was too much to overcome. It was emotionally and physically draining. Dallas spent everything to get back for Game 6, they were relying on Benn to lead and motivate them and like much of his Stars tenure, the Stars had a flat start in the first period.
We’ll talk more about the fallout of this series going forward, but here are a couple quick observations from Game 6.
Vegas fourth line
The Vegas fourth line dominated the first period.
The trio of William Carrier, Nicolas Roy, and Keegan Kolesar scored twice and provided a similar jump that the Stars fourth line provided in Game 5.
Kolesar that made it 3-0 was a pretty good encapsulation of how that unit impacted the game through the neutral zone.
It starts with Kolesar attacking the zone with possession and Carrier and Roy both taking smart routes through the neutral zone.
Carrier plays off Kolesar well in the zone and makes an area play to where the Vegas winger makes a simple chip off the boards to create space.
Kolesar and Carrier switch lanes, and Kolesar gets lost by the Stars defense as Carrier makes a simple area pass to the route.
It should noted that Roy, who doesn’t take part in this play formally, takes a key route and keeping things wide and was available to and pulling Joe Pavleksi (No. 16) away from coverage.
Oettinger down early
It wasn’t Jake Oettinger’s fault at all.
Let’s be clear on that.
But I wasn’t thrilled with his footwork in the first period.
On the first and third goal he was down early on the play, and Vegas was patient. On the second goal he wasn’t able to push all the way across because of how far he committed to the left post.
Here is Oettinger before goals one and three, where he’s down early and isn’t able to recover as Vegas moves the shot location past a prone goalie each time.
And here is his foot location on goal two, the power play goal against.
Again, not Oettinger’s fault, but we can nitpick at times.
It is important to note that this was Oettinger’s 81st game of the season. His 19th playoff performance after 62 regular season games.
Oettinger can’t play 62 regular season game against next season. It’s poor asset management and Dallas saw some of the ill-affects of that when Oettinger had some ups-and-downs in the postseason.
The Stars never wanted to play Oettinger that much, but an injury to Scott Wedgewood limited their ability to get Oettinger rest down the stretch. One thing I know the Stars will heavily look at this summer will be organizational depth in goal and decide whether they actually have a No. 3 they trust to play NHL games.
Vegas, and Florida in the Eastern Conference, are perfect examples of the value of having a No. 3 that can play games and alleviate the stress on No. 1 (or in Vegas case, take you to the Stanley Cup Final after an injury).