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Golden Knights drop second in a row as Stars force Game 6

The Vegas Golden Knights didn’t get the party they were looking for after Saturday’s Game 5, falling 4-2 to the Dallas Stars to extend the Western Conference Final to a sixth game.

Just as they did in Game 4, the Golden Knights built two one-goal leads Saturday night, but both were quickly erased. Dallas’ fast responses were critical, preventing Vegas from building on their lead as the Knights led for just three minutes and 57 seconds.

Part of the reason for the rapid responses was Vegas’ lack of puck management, something head coach Bruce Cassidy has emphasized all season.

“We had 24 giveaways,” Cassidy said. “I’m not sure you’re beating the Arizona Coyotes in January with 24 giveaways.”

The uncharacteristically high turnover number underscores a more general feeling around the room that the team simply didn’t match the desperation of the Stars.

Dallas has now handed Vegas its first consecutive losses in the postseason after falling into a 3-0 hole to start the series.

“We’re playing a desperate hockey team,” defenseman Alec Martinez said. “No one said it was going to be easy. We’ve got to match their urgency and desperation.”

Martinez, a 14-year NHL veteran, knows what it’s like to be on a desperate hockey team like Dallas.

In 2014, while with L.A., Martinez helped lead one of the four 3-0 series comebacks in NHL history. He and the Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks in the first round en route to a Stanley Cup championship.

Captain Mark Stone felt that while the Knights did have some desperation on display, it wasn’t consistent enough over 60 minutes.

“We’ve played good hockey through stretches of these games,” Stone said. “We’ve just got to consistently do it for the majority of the game.”

That consistency would go a long way during periods in which the Knights lead, as Stone added that the team needs “to have a more killer instinct to push and get that next goal.”

While things weren’t ideal Saturday night, one constant remained for Vegas: the play of goalie Adin Hill.

Hill helped the Knights reach overtime in Game 4, and he kept them in Game 5 through 50 minutes, stopping 30 of the 34 shots he faced.

At face value allowing four goals doesn’t appear to be a stellar performance, but Hill dealt with deflections, screens, and players in his crease that would catch out any goaltender.

“He played well,” Stone said. “He gave us a chance to win [...] He hasn’t let in any bad goals, knock on wood.”

Martinez agreed with his captain, saying that Hill “has been one of our best players, if not the best.”

Hill may not be to blame for the Game 5 loss, but he’ll certainly need to keep his form heading into Game 6.

With the Stars' offense awakening and their goaltender Jake Oettinger finding comfort in this series, Hill may be needed again to keep Vegas in the mix unless things improve in front of him.

The Golden Knights get their next chance to eliminate Dallas tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. from the Lone Star State. If necessary, Game 7 would take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Vegas is still in search of it’s second-ever trip to the Stanley Cup Final.


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