After a lethargic loss to the Stars to start the series, the Golden Knights found their game (different, or familiar) in Game 2. Thanks to a breakthrough second period, the Vegas Golden Knights pulled off a 3-0 win in Game 2, tying their series with the Dallas Stars 1-1.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Golden Knights overwhelm Stars in Game 2 to tie series 1-1
During the first period, the Golden Knights looked more like their domineering selves. Attribute that to Ryan Reaves‘ return or not, but Vegas had a lot more energy right off the bat.
Even so, the two teams entered the first intermission tied 0-0. Considering how much the Golden Knights struggled to score against Thatcher Demko, the frustration had to be building as Anton Khudobin was looking sharp, too.
In a sequence that started scary with an injury close call for Shea Theodore, the Golden Knights broke through. Max Pacioretty sent a tremendous pass to Paul Stastny for the 1-0 goal, an all-too-rare tally by Golden Knights forwards:
Actually, maybe amend that to “once-too-rare.”
We really got a look at the sort of dominant team the Golden Knights can be during the second period of Game 2, as the Stars struggled to slow them down.
Less than four minutes after that Stastny goal, William Karlsson connected on the power play. (Assisted, promisingly, by Theodore.) It looked like the Golden Knights scored another power-play goal, but Pacioretty’s incidental contact with Khudobin derailed that 3-0 tally.
But only that one.
On an absolutely beautiful display of tic-tac-toe passing, Nicolas Roy, Chandler Stephenson, and Tomas Nosek combined for the 3-0 goal that stood. You normally don’t get this sort of time and space to make such a dizzying sequence of passes, but the Golden Knights were feeling it:
Golden Knights only needed strong second period
Once the third period began, the Stars switched to big, inexperienced goalie Jake Oettinger. This felt less like a mark against Khudobin than it did a chance to change pace (also: to get Oettinger some experience, and grab some needed rest for Khudobin). After all, the Golden Knights fired 19 shots on goal during the second period alone.
Robin Lehner cruised to another shutout after watching Marc-Andre Fleury lose Game 1 allowing just a single goal.
Not much happened during that third period, as the Golden Knights seemed happy with their lead, and the Stars couldn’t get much going. So far during the 2020 Western Conference Final, we’ve seen each team win a game their way. We’ll see if Game 3 looks more like 2 or 1, or a different beast entirely.
No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars (Series tied 1-1)
Game 1: Stars 1, Golden Knights 0. (recap)
Game 2: Golden Knights 3, Stars 0.
Game 3: Thursday, Sept. 10, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 4: Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
Game 5: Monday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
*Game 6: Wednesday, Sept. 16, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 7: Friday, Sept. 18, 9 p.m. ET – NBCSN
MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Final schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.