Can Vegas Win the Wild West?

Game one was all Dallas Stars after John Klingberg scored the only goal. Vegas hasn’t looked like Vegas since game four of the second round against the Canucks. If it weren’t for Shea Theodore we could be watching Dallas play Vancouver for the Western Conference Championship. Robin Lehner did his job between the pipes but the goalies haven’t been the problem. The Islanders however…that’s a different story and I’m writing about Vegas.

The Golden Knights have been getting the chances but for whatever reason the puck isn’t hitting the back of the net. Ben Bishop is still unfit to play which means Anton Khudobin has had his hands full, and really been quite impressive. Dobby for the Stars is what Demko was for the Canucks. A brick wall that Vegas couldn’t seem to crack, until Paul Stasny finds the puck on his stick in front of the net early in the second period. Not even five minutes later Wild Bill goes five-hole on a beautiful powerplay goal. This is where the Stars start to fall apart or come unaligned whatever you want to call it. Multiple bad penalties from Dallas really hurt the Stars in the second period. Vegas thinks they scored another pp goal but after Dallas challenges on goalie interference it’s called back. Finally, Nosek from Roy and Stephenson on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play towards the end of the period puts Vegas up 3-0.

Game one was Anton Khudobin’s first career postseason shutout. I was a little surprised Khudobin was on the bench to start the third period in game two but it makes sense cause Dobby needs rest. This gives Jake Oettinger a chance for his NHL debut. The second goaltender of the modern era to make his debut in the conference finals.

Bob Champoux was the first back in 1964 when he replaced injured Terry Sawchuk for the Detroit Red Wings in a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Vegas was done scoring and Oettinger stopping all five shots he faced. The move to play Oettinger might be surprising but this gives the kid one period of playoff experience. Jake Oettinger is not from San Diego and the chances of an Ottinger start next game is pretty slim but look out for him in the future.

I’m finally starting to like this Peter DeBoer guy behind the Vegas bench. The way this coach shuffles the lines looks like he should be in Vegas on the poker tables not the bubble in Edmonton.

What makes Vegas so successful on offense is the speed and transition play. The Golden Knights are so stacked with talent DeBoer should be able to put the puzzle pieces together when they need the coaching. The 4th shutout for Robin Lehner during these Stanley Cup playoffs. Following a Dobby shutout this series has fallen heavily on the goalies and its starting to feel like Ben Bishop might be a factor soon.

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