May 21, 2024

Stars-Golden Knights Game 7: X factors, preview, predictions

Two of the NHL’s heavyweights had been matched up within the first spherical of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs, and the sequence between the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights has been essentially the most spectacular of the bracket up to now.

To nobody’s shock, the 2 golf equipment have reached Game 7 (7:30 p.m. ET, TBS), with a matchup towards the Colorado Avalanche ready for the victor.

Which gamers will likely be most crucial to their staff’s success? And who will win the sport?

Who is the one key participant you’ll be expecting the Stars?

Ryan S. Clark, NHL reporter: Jake Oettinger. The largest query going through Oettinger at this second is: What extra does this man must do to assist the Stars attain the second spherical? The reply may be a shutout, given the tight margins of this sequence.

His lowest save proportion since Game 1 has been .920, and that got here in that 3-1 loss in Game 2. But since then, Oettinger has posted an general save proportion of .944, together with a .960 in a Game 6 loss. Getting targets from depth parts of the lineup will definitely assist his trigger, however the truth that he almost actually must be good says a lot a couple of sequence that’s been separated by so little.

Victoria Matiash, NHL analyst: Oettinger. The Stars’ beginning netminder, after permitting one purpose on 29 photographs in Friday’s Game 6 loss: “I feel like [if] I play like that on Sunday, we’re going to win.”

Hard to argue! Growing sharper sport by sport towards Vegas, Oettinger seems primed to place in his stingiest efficiency but. If so, he’s probably proper about Dallas escaping this final sequence throwdown with the victory.

Arda Öcal, NHL broadcaster: Jason Robertson. He wants a robust Game 7 for Dallas to tug it out. He’s been scoring — three targets and two assists in six video games — however he’s additionally minus-4. In Game 3 he linked nicely with rising scorer Wyatt Johnston — together with on the extra time winner.

These are the video games for which superstars should stand up. Robo had 18 factors in 19 playoff video games final season. I’m on the lookout for him to point out up and present out in Game 7.

Kristen Shilton, NHL reporter: Roope Hintz. It’s onerous to fathom Hintz has scored only one purpose within the postseason, and has appeared removed from the difference-making middle he’d been all through the common season. There isn’t any time like the current for Hintz to search out his kind.

Given how Hintz’s whole line with Joe Pavelski and Robertson has struggled at occasions within the sequence, it gained’t be a singular effort from Hintz placing them again on monitor. But after watching Game 6 and seeing how rapidly Vegas can soar on an opponent, it’s now or by no means for Hintz to match the Golden Knights’ depth. If he helps set a tone there, it’d elevate his linemates and put the Stars on a profitable trajectory towards the second spherical.

Greg Wyshynski, NHL reporter: Joe Pavelski. I understand Pavs is 39 years previous. I understand that he has gone scoreless on this sequence — he hasn’t scored towards Vegas up to now seven playoff video games general — and is shotless in his previous three video games. I understand his line with Hintz and Robertson was cratered at 5-on-5 in Game 6 (minus-7 in shot makes an attempt).

But in a sequence this shut, with a goalie on the opposite aspect as seemingly locked in as Adin Hill, that is historically Pavelski Time. A time when pucks shot from the purpose bounce off of his numerous extremities and into the web. He’s one of many postseason’s preeminent “old guys without a Cup.” It’s time for him to assist Dallas take one step nearer to elevating it.

Who is the one key participant you’ll be expecting the Golden Knights?

Clark: Jonathan Marchessault. For all we all know, there’s an opportunity this could possibly be the final time we see him in a Golden Knights sweater. The reigning Conn Smythe winner is a pending unrestricted free agent who had 4 factors within the first 4 video games of the sequence, however was held with out a level up to now two contests.

He’s been lively, as evidenced by the 17 photographs he has recorded. But after we take into consideration what made the Golden Knights so formidable final yr, it was having gamers who could possibly be trusted in a few of the most troublesome conditions. Marchessault was on the high of that checklist, and it seems he could possibly be once more in Game 7.

Matiash: Jack Eichel. Serving as a key issue early for the Knights, Eichel scored three targets and three assists by way of the primary 4 video games of this playoff set. Since then, one helper and 5 photographs whole up to now two. A productively clutch efficiency from Marchessault’s linemate — who led his membership with 1.08 factors per sport this common season — would go a good distance in swinging issues in Vegas’s favor.

Öcal: Noah Hanifin. He has two game-winning targets this sequence, together with in Game 6. We all know that depth wins video games, sequence and Stanley Cups; nevertheless it helps when your stars shine the brightest. Other than a difficult Game 3, he’s been fairly good on this sequence, and if Hanifin has one other sport the place he can present a spark, and even factors (he has 5 this sequence), that bodes nicely for VGK.

Shilton: Ivan Barbashev. Think again to the playoffs final yr, when Barbashev had seven targets and 18 factors in 22 video games. The incontrovertible fact that he has simply 4 assists on this sequence up to now — however has been producing some terrific possibilities — suggests Barbashev could possibly be on the cusp of a breakout.

Game 7 is when all the things is on the road. Top strains may be neutralized. It’s a staff’s depth that may swing an end result, and Barbashev is poised to be that man for Vegas. He has the talent and historical past in his favor. Now it’s nearly executing once more, and discovering his second to really influence Vegas on the rating sheet.

Wyshynski: Adin Hill. After Logan Thompson began the primary three video games of the sequence, Hill comes strolling in along with his hockey bag and says “Hey, I heard you needed a goalie who could post a .938 save percentage and a 1.52 goals-against average and pitch a shutout while facing elimination?”

Adin Hill is doing the Adin Hill factor once more. In his previous 18 playoff video games, Hill has a .933 save proportion and a 2.09 goals-against common. In his previous 62 regular-season video games, he has a .912 save proportion and a 2.62 GAA. There’s an alchemy between the best way he performs and the best way the Knights play in entrance of him within the playoffs. He’s already on the best way to being their postseason goaltending savior — once more.

The closing rating will likely be _____.

Clark: 1-0 Stars in OT. Here’s the fact of this sequence. Neither staff permits that a lot offensively. But that’s what occurs when one staff is attempting to win a consecutive Stanley Cup and the opposite has constructed a roster that’s constructed to succeed in the Cup Final after reaching the Western Conference finals final season.

It quantities to 2 groups that thrive from capitalizing on errors, and Game 7 will likely be determined by which one makes the costliest miscue.

Matiash: 3-2 Stars. After a cautious, tentative and tight first interval, either side will loosen up and supply us with a extra entertaining affair much like the Stars’ victory in Game 5. Only this time, Pavelski — Greg is bang-on about this being “Pavelski Time” — scores the sport winner as a substitute of Robertson.

Öcal: 2-1 Stars in OT. Low-scoring sequence, each groups extremely stacked, gained’t need to make any errors in Game 7, tight checking. I might have picked 1-0, actually, if Ryan hadn’t already. But this one seems like an instant-classic OT thriller.

Shilton: 4-3 Stars. Despite some tight video games earlier within the sequence, this one seems like a sport that will likely be broad open from the beginning. But Dallas has been the higher staff general, and that ought to carry it by way of to 1 extra victory. Vegas gained’t make it simple, although, and the Stars must channel their defensive habits (which have been particularly good at dwelling) to maintain the Golden Knights’ stars from working wild. In the tip, all these margins will likely be slim, however Dallas has the fortitude to outlast Vegas’ assault.

Wyshynski: 3-1 Stars. The Golden Knights performed their most full sport of the sequence in Game 6, and it was nonetheless a one-bounce sport till Mark Stone‘s empty-netter.

Dallas has performed higher defensively on dwelling ice on this sequence (1.97 anticipated targets towards at 5-on-5) than on the street (2.33). They’re going to get the matchups they need with home-ice benefit. That Game 6 loss was extra disappointing than debilitating. Coach Pete DeBoer is 7-0 in Game 7. He’ll have the Stars assured and prepared for his or her second. The Stars will break an intense 1-1 sport with a purpose halfway by way of the third interval, and Hintz will ice it with an empty-netter to advance.