Help yourself and heaven will help you. The Dallas Stars didn’t help themselves. You know the rest.
The Stars were expected to have fire in their eyes Tuesday night as they returned home down 2-0 in their semifinal series. Quite the opposite happened.
Capitalizing on a disastrous home debut, the Vegas Golden Knights easily won 4-0. With the win, they moved into a comfortable 3-0 lead in their semi-final series. All this under the gaze of furious fans, who even threw their trash on the ice at the end of the second period.
First, there was that Golden Knights goal in the second minute. A piece of play signed Jack Eichel, who nicely passed the puck to Jonathan Marchessault, well positioned in the slot.
Then, as if a 1-0 deficit wasn’t enough, Jamie Benn got his team into even more trouble. After checking Mark Stone, the Stars captain had what amounts to a bubble in the brain: he delivered an unnecessary and brutal cross-check in the face of his opponent already sprawled at his feet.
We won’t pretend to be telepathic, but it’s easy enough to guess the words that crossed head coach Peter DeBoer’s mind when his fourth-leading scorer was picked up a five-minute penalty and a misconduct by part. Changing room management. Note also that Benn left the arena without meeting the media after the game, according to what journalists on site reported.
Despite a non-threatening power play, the Knights managed to widen their lead thanks to Ivan Barbashev, who accepted a fine pass from Nicolas Roy in the slot. Just over a minute later, William Carrier turned the iron on with a backhand shot over Jake Oettinger’s left shoulder. The poor goalkeeper, beaten three times on five shots, was forced to leave his place to Scott Wedgewood and went to find Benn in the locker room.
As if that weren’t enough, the Stars lost the services of Evgenii Dadonov, injured in the lower body in the first frame. The Texas squad, led by just 10 forwards, played good hockey in the second and third periods, but it was too little, too late. The damage was done.
The Golden Knights were opportunistic to say the least. Without achieving great things offensively, shooting just 16 times on net, they made the Stars pay for most of their mistakes.
More than half of the Nevada club’s forwards got on the scoresheet in the win. Among the lot, the three Quebecers Nicolas Roy (2 assists), Jonathan Marchessault (1 goal) and William Carrier (1 goal), who all have their role to play in the success of Bruce Cassidy’s troupe.
It is also impossible to ignore Eichel’s work. As recently as two months ago, we wondered how the 26-year-old center would react to his first appearance in the playoffs. Supported by Barbashev and Marchessault on his wings, Eichel creates scoring opportunities, in addition to being responsible defensively. With his assist on Marchessault’s goal, he now has 16 points in 14 games.
And then there is Adin Hill who, without flafla, continues the good job in front of the net. Quite the opposite of his opponent, Jake Oettinger. Confident with his team’s lead, still properly positioned, Hill calmly blocked 34 pucks and muzzled the opposing offensive guns to earn his first career shutout in the spring tournament. Thursday, he will have the opportunity to access his first Stanley Cup final.
As for the Stars, their room for maneuver is now zero. And the famous feeling of urgency that everyone talks about is still waiting…
The Quebecer collected two assists and distributed five checks, he who is in all the battles at the corner of the rink.
He only played 42 seconds, but his dangerous shot out of nowhere has no place. What’s more, he may have cost the series to his family.
This is the number of penalty minutes imposed on the Dallas Stars in the loss. Jamie Benn and Max Domi each received a 10-minute game misconduct.