Golden Knights Shut Out Stars to Advance to Stanley Cup Final

The Vegas Golden Knights have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history after a dominant performance in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars, winning 6-0 and taking home the Clarence S. Campbell Trophy as the NHL’s Western Conference champions. The Golden Knights will take on the Florida Panthers, with Game 1 set for Saturday, June 3 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

William Karlsson led the way for the Golden Knights’ offense and capped off his best series of the playoffs with two goals and an assist. He now holds the single-season record for goals in a postseason for the Golden Knights with nine and tied Jonathan Marchessault for the most goals in series-clinching games with four.

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The Golden Knights have 12 players with Stanley Cup Final experience, including Alex Pietrangelo, who won with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, and Alec Martinez, who scored the game-winning goal for the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. There are also six players on this current roster who were with the Golden Knights when they made the Final in 2018.

Golden Knights’ Puck Management

Head coach Bruce Cassidy was very candid about his team’s poor performance in Game 5, attributing their loss to their 24 giveaways throughout the game while also sending some subtle shots at the Arizona Coyotes in the process.

While the viral moment may have taken away from the sentiment of what Cassidy was saying about his own team, it was evident early in Game 6 that the Golden Knights had made the adjustments necessary to improve their decision-making with the puck.

The Golden Knights had 11 giveaways in the game, 16 fewer than in Game 5, and were much better with their decision-making in the neutral zone. This led to their rush chances being so dangerous and it’s what ended up hurting the Stars the most. They were the faster team throughout most of the series, but being secure with the puck in the neutral zone is what allowed their speed to be such a huge factor in this game.

Golden Knights’ Fourth Line Bounces Back

Cassidy was also critical of his fourth line, who spent most of their time playing against the Stars’ top forward unit of Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, and Jason Robertson throughout the series. While the star players are the ones who get you in the position to be successful in the postseason, it’s the depth players that dictate your success, and Cassidy is well aware of that.

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The fourth line was at its best in the few moments where the pressure shifted in favor of the Stars. They found ways to cause chaos, turn pucks over, and shift the momentum back in the Golden Knights’ favor. William Carrier and Keegan Kolesar were both excellent in their forechecking and it directly resulted in the opening goal of the game, with Carrier picking up a forced turnover and out-waiting Jake Oettinger before tucking it in on the backhand.

William Carrier Vegas Golden Knights
William Carrier, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Carrier, Kolesar, and Nicolas Roy combined for five points as a unit in this game, and if you can get that type of production from your fourth line, you’re bound to be in a good position to win.

Adin Hill Shuts Down the Stars

While the Golden Knights have had a lot of different players step up throughout this playoff run, nobody has been more valuable than Adin Hill. After stepping in for Laurent Brossoit in Game 5 against the Edmonton Oilers, Hill has played exceptionally well, putting together two shutouts along with a 1.99 goals-against average (GAA) and a .939 save percentage (SV%) in this series.

Related: Golden Knights’ 2022-23 Goaltending Turmoil in Review

Hill stopped all 23 shots he faced and looked calm and collected throughout the entire game. While it’s worth noting that the Golden Knights’ defense was dominant, allowing just three high-danger chances, Hill only allowed one scoring chance off of a rebound, leaving no second chances for the Stars to capitalize on.

Adin Hill Vegas Golden Knights
Adin Hill, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The goaltending situation was the main concern for this Golden Knights team heading into the season, and to see how their personnel has been a major factor in propelling them to a Stanley Cup Final appearance is truly special. The Golden Knights will be coming up against the best goaltender throughout these playoffs in Sergei Bobrovsky, and Hill will have to be just as good in order to keep up with his historic run.