We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the second round having now wrapped up, the Conference Finals are now up next. In the West, the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights are set to face the Dallas Stars in a best-of-seven series, with a chance to play for Lord Stanley on the line. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday in Sin City.
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Golden Knights vs Stars Western Conference Finals Series Preview
- The Golden Knights and Stars clash in the West Finals
- Vegas is favored to move on to the Stanley Cup
- Keep reading for the series preview and analysis
It’s safe to say recent matchups undoubtedly favor the Stars. They beat Vegas in all three meetings in 2022-23, outscoring them 9-3. In fact, they’ve won four in a row against their West Finals opponents. Prior to that, however, the Golden Knights were unbeaten in three against Dallas.
Vegas Shocks Edmonton
Sure, the Golden Knights did finish a few points ahead of the Oilers during the regular season, but most people believed Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s brilliance would be enough to get Edmonton past their West foes. That wasn’t the case by any means though as Bruce Cassidy’s squad wiped the floor with the Oilers in six games.
Whil McDavid and Draisaitl still put up numbers, it wasn’t consistent. The German for example had six goals in the first two games but then never scored again. The Vegas blue line did a respectable job slowing down the Oilers offense, but they will need to improve on the power play, allowing far too many goals on the man advantage.
From a production standpoint, there’s a variety of guys doing their part for the Golden Knights. Jack Eichel is fully proving his worth in these playoffs, registering a team-best 14 points. That includes six goals and eight assists. Veteran Mark Stone is also showing out with 12 points, while two others are in double digits. There’s no shortage of guys who are capable of not only scoring but also setting up their teammates.
In net, the question mark will be Adin Hill. After starter Laurent Brossoit suffered an injury, Hill took over as the main man. He did play well though, allowing just over two goals per game and more or less keeping the Oilers in check. The Golden Knights are a deserving -140 favorite at 888sport.
Stars Get Through
It certainly wasn’t easy, but Dallas managed to get past the Seattle Kraken by the skin of their teeth in the second round. It took seven games to do so as the NHL’s newest franchise showed a ton of guts and heart against a group with far more experience.
Rookie Wyatt Johnston scored the winner in Game 7 a few nights ago in the third period to seal the deal for the Stars, who are heading to their second conference final in the last four years. The star of the show in the postseason for them has been Roope Hintz. After a uber-productive regular season, the Finland native is making his presence felt in the playoffs, compiling 19 points in just 13 games.
Statistically, Dallas is the best offensive squad left. They’re averaging nearly four goals per game and their supporting cast around Hintz is also brilliant. Jason Robertson, Max Domi, and Joe Pavelski have all added a minimum of 10 points apiece.
When it comes to defense, Miro Heiskanen and Ryan Suter are rock solid. In fact, they’ve only been on the ice for six of the team’s goals conceded so far. With the Golden Knights being very talented in front of net, it will be a good test for the blue-line duo.
Dallas might be an underdog at most NHL betting sites in the conference finals, but as we know, that means nothing at this time of the year. The Stars have the experience and an all-around solid roster that can easily push the Golden Knights to seven games. Plus, their recent track record against Vegas only adds more fuel to the fire.