NHL Playoff Spotlight: Who has the Edge in the West?
The Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars are ready to go at it the Western Conference Finals. The winner, of course, will move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. These are two evenly matched teams. This is also a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Finals, when the Stars beat the Golden Knights 4-1. While the Stars won all 3 meetings between these two teams in the regular season, 2 of those wins came via shootout. And when you consider that only 3 points separated these two teams in the regular season, both teams are capable of winning this series. It’ll come down to execution, fundamentals, and who plays the cleaner hockey.
One of the potential X-Factors in this series will be the coaching. Both Peter DoBoer and Bruce Cassidy have plenty of head coaching experience, but DoBoer has been around for 7 more years than Cassidy. Also, Cassidy’s record in the playoffs is under .500, at 38-41. Another question mark that will determine the outcome of the series is the goalie play for the Golden Knights. They used 5 goalies throughout the course of the season, with Logan Thompson playing a team-high 37 games. The Golden Knights will need leading scorer Jack Eichel and company to play well offensively, in order to take the pressure off the goalies and defense. For the Stars, Jason Robertson and Jamie Benn will be looking to force the Golden Knights to play well defensively, which isn’t always their strong suit. The pressure will be on the Golden Knights, as the Stars have several players capable of dominating offensively. Center Roope Hintz has 9 goals and 19 points in the postseason thus far.
Both teams have several players that are capable of dominating in a series. The pressure will be on the defenses and goalies of each team to keep the other sides’ offense in check. We should be in for a treat this series.