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3 Keys: Golden Knights vs. Stars, Game 4 of Western Conference Final – NHL.com


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3 Keys: Golden Knights vs. Stars, Game 4 of Western Conference Final – NHL.com

No. 1 Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Stars8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVASDallas leads best-of-7 series 2-1The Dallas Stars will try to put the Vegas Golden Knights on the brink of elimination when they play Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday.Alexander Radulov scored 31 seconds into…

No. 1 Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Stars

8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

Dallas leads best-of-7 series 2-1

The Dallas Stars will try to put the Vegas Golden Knights on the brink of elimination when they play Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday.

Alexander Radulov scored 31 seconds into overtime to give the Stars a 3-2 win in Game 3 on Thursday in Edmonton, the hub city for the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final.

Teams with a 3-1 lead are 288-29 (90.9 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including 10-0 this postseason. Since the conference format was adopted for the 1981-82 season, teams with a 3-1 lead in the conference finals are 34-1 (97.1 percent).

“We expect them to come out similar to how they came out in Game 2 when they were down,” Dallas center Joe Pavelski said. “I think it’s important that we try to play these guys 5-on-5 and I like our chances that way. It’s been a good series so far and I don’t expect a lot to change.”

The Golden Knights are 4-1 in games following a loss in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

“You start inching toward elimination, everything gets heightened,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. 

Here are 3 keys to Game 4:

1. Stars defensemen up in the rush

When Dallas has been in control, in particular during the first two periods of Game 1 and the second period of Game 3, a big reason has been its defensemen joining the rush.

The Stars are averaging 2.58 points per game from defensemen in the playoffs, up from 1.85 per game during the regular season.

“The big thing for us is the offensive-zone time,” Dallas defenseman John Klingberg said. “That comes from the ‘D’ joining the rush but also being able to read the play and keep the puck in the offensive zone to spend more time there and grind the other team down.”

2. Beating Khudobin

The Golden Knights have had at least 40 shots on goal in five games this postseason; they’ve scored two or fewer goals in each of those games, including in Game 3, when Stars goalie Anton Khudobin made 38 saves on 40 shots.

“We are getting quality chances, that’s what the numbers say,” DeBoer said. “We’ve got to stick them into the net. You can’t coach the puck into the net, but you can coach making it tougher on the goalie. That’s an area we have to concentrate on: more traffic.”

3. Scoring first

The team that scored first won the first three games. Vegas is 10-1-0 when it scores first in the playoffs; Dallas is 7-2-0.

“It’s been a key component through the first three games,” DeBoer said. “Our game plan is to put them in a hole more than we have the first three games and make them get out of that comfortable structure that they can get into when games are tied or they’re ahead.”

Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan MarchessaultWilliam KarlssonReilly Smith

Max PaciorettyPaul StastnyMark Stone

Alex TuchChandler StephensonNicolas Roy

William CarrierNick CousinsRyan Reaves

Alec MartinezShea Theodore

Brayden McNabbNate Schmidt

Nick HoldenZach Whitecloud

Robin Lehner

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Patrick Brown, Dylan Coghlan, Oscar Dansk, Reid Duke, Deryk Engelland, Nicolas Hague, Keegan Kolesar, Peyton Krebs, Jon Merrill, Gage Quinney

Unfit to play: Tomas Nosek

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler Seguin — Alexander Radulov 

Mattias Janmark — Joe Pavelski — Denis Gurianov

Joel KivirantaRoope HintzCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoJason DickinsonBlake Comeau

Esa Lindell — John Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakMiro Heiskanen

Andrej SekeraJoel Hanley

Anton Khudobin

Jake Oettinger

Scratched: Nick Caamano, Ty Dellandrea, Justin Dowling, Jason Robertson, Gavin Bayreuther, Thomas Harley, Landon Bow 

Unfit to play: Stephen Johns, Ben Bishop, Taylor Fedun, Radek Faksa

Status report

DeBoer said Nosek is doubtful after the forward was injured in the second period of Game 3. … Stars coach Rick Bowness said Faksa, injured in the third period of Game 3, is unfit to play. Cogliano, who hasn’t played the past four games, could replace Faksa.

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