If you haven’t noticed, we love 1) drama and 2) measuring things. So it’s even better when we get to put them together with our handy concern-o-meter.
This was something we planned to turn to after Game 3, when each series was guaranteed to have a leading and trailing team. But the Golden Knights decided to spice up their series with the tying goal in the last few minutes of regulation and the overtime winner to take a 2-0 series lead to Dallas.
Now we have two 2-0 series. So what better time to measure the level of concern each trailing team should have at this point in the conference finals?
The Stars are no stranger to this list and have bounced back both times they’ve been mentioned. In our ultra-reactionary Game 1 concern-o-meter in Round 1, they found themselves at a 4/10. Fast-forward to Round 2, and their 2-1 series deficit moved up a notch to a 5/10. Now after losing their first two games in the Western Conference final, Dallas gets one more bump up to a six.
A sluggish five-on-five game to start the series contributes to that. It’s the first time Dallas opened a series on the road, and that didn’t do them any favors with Vegas’ getting last change in Game 1. Jason Robertson and the Stars’ top line went head-to-head with William Karlsson’s. Though Dallas outscored Vegas 2-1 in that time, it doesn’t reflect how lopsided their minutes were. The Golden Knights had the edge in shot attempts (16-7), scoring chances (7-4) and expected goals share (about 72 percent).
Falling short at five-on-five extended past that one matchup, though. Vegas was the better team, as they earned almost 64 percent of the expected goals share and outscored Dallas 4-2 there. A better third period and a late tying goal from Jamie Benn kept the Stars in the game to force overtime, when they lost.
That lackluster five-on-five start is something Dallas managed to rebound from in Game 2, without controlling home ice. The Stars had the majority of expected goals share in each period of regulation, and the Robertson line managed the Karlsson matchup much better. Though both teams were scoreless in those minutes, the Stars out-attempted Vegas 8-3, out-chanced them 5-1 and earned about 86 percent of the expected goals share.
The fact there was clear progress between games 1 and 2 is something to build on back on home ice. So is the fact Jason Robertson has scored in two straight games after being held out of the goal column for eight straight.
The problem is, unlike rounds 1 and 2, the Stars didn’t tie the series after losing in overtime in Game 1. The progress they seemingly made at five-on-five didn’t pay off, when a Ryan Suter blunder led to Jonathan Marchessault’s tying the score late, which forced overtime.
Vegas had a hot start to the game and a strong finish to bookend Game 2, and that was enough to take a 2-0 series lead after some iffy play in between. Not capitalizing on a strong game has…
Read More: NHL playoffs concern-o-meter: How worried should each team trailing 2-0 be? 2023-05-22 01:56:03