The Vegas Golden Knights are one win away from joining the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final.
Vegas holds a 3-0 advantage over the Dallas Stars going into Thursday’s Game 4 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Vegas dominated all 60 minutes of Game 3, as it scored in the first 71 seconds and held the Stars without a goal.
Dallas needs to compose itself to keep its season alive. The Stars will be without Jamie Benn, who was suspended two games for a cross-check on Mark Stone in Game 3.
The Stars need to play far better than they did on Tuesday night to even have a chance of avoiding a sweep.
An early goal and a strong overall performance are mandatory to at least go down with some pride after how ugly Game 3 got.
Dallas lost Game 3 in the first seven minutes and 10 seconds.
That’s how quickly the Golden Knights scored three times.
Dallas provided no answers and let frustration boil over on home ice. It will now be without its captain for Game 4 and Game 5 as well (if necessary).
Some of the statistics suggest the Stars had a decent Game 3. They outshot Vegas 34-16 and they did not concede a goal in the final 30 minutes.
However, the Stars lacked discipline. They totaled 35 penalty minutes and let the Knights go on six power plays.
Dallas needs to use the humbling Game 3 experience as a wake-up call or it will be out of the postseason on Thursday night.
The response to the Game 3 defeat starts at the top with the Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson line. They combined for just five shots on goal on Tuesday.
With Benn out, other veterans like Tyler Seguin need to make a bigger impact and provide a calm head throughout the 60 minutes.
A victory is not impossible to achieve, but after the way Game 3 went down, it feels like a massive uphill climb for the Stars.
The Golden Knights did not overwhelm the Dallas net in the last two games.
In Game 2, the Knights scored three times on 24 attempts. They followed that up with four tallies on 16 shots on goal in Game 3.
Vegas has been efficient on its shot selection. If that continues in Game 4, it will have a strong chance of leaving Dallas with a Stanley Cup Final berth.
Dallas should dictate the pace of the game with plenty of possession in its attacking zone, which likely means a high volume of shots thrown at Adin Hill. Hill turned away all 34 shots he faced in Game 3.
Vegas may not have much of the puck, but when it is in control, it has to take advantage of high-quality chances like it did on Tuesday.
The Golden Knights could send a plethora of shots in Jake Oettinger’s direction. They are more than capable of doing that with Jack Eichel leading the way, but the Game 4 situation calls for Dallas to control the contest.
An early Vegas goal, or even a tie game into the second period, would put a ton of pressure on the home side. That is where the Knights could capitalize on a mistake or two.