Do or Die Game Six for Golden Knights: Three Things That Need to Happen

Here we go. The Vegas Golden Knights have their backs against the wall in game six of the first round of the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Dallas Stars dropped the first two games of the series and have rallied for a three-game winning streak.

Can the Golden Knights win for the first time in franchise history when facing elimination in a non-game seven scenario? If the Golden Knights rally to win game six, and it seems a like a big if, can the Golden Knights break Stars coach Pete DeBoer’s perfect 7-0 game seven record?

Sportsbooks around the country do not think so. The Golden Knights are in the range of +380 to advance out of the first round. That in itself is disappointing considering the Golden Knights once held a 2-0 series advantage before playing a game in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

Coach Bruce Cassidy was asked how he expects the team to respond to the pressure of an elimination game.

“When the stakes go up, this group has responded well,” Cassidy said on Thursday. “I know this team will be ready to play. They will be ready to go, they know what is at stake.”

What three things need to happen for the Golden Knights to extend their playoffs for at least one more game?

1. Composure

The Golden Knights have a veteran group that is filled with former captains and Stanley Cup champions. Which also makes it seem strange that composure is being mentioned.

Chandler Stephenson has been called for a crosscheck behind the play. Alex Pietrangelo has taken a pair of brutal penalties, including a back-hand punch in game five that led to the Stars game-winning powerplay goal.

Tensions are high. But the Golden Knights have to avoid taking penalties in plays that are irrelevant to the outcome of the game.

Take a number and get your revenge in regular season game No. 37 next season.

2. Cassidy Needs to Pick a Lane and Stick to the Plan

The Golden Knights had trouble executing passes in the neutral zone and gaining clean entries in the last three games. Coach Cassidy needs to have a gameplan in order for better play between the blue lines.

Rush chances have been limited for the Golden Knights, credit DeBoer for winning that battle between the coaches. Cassidy needs to have a secondary plan to gain entry into the offensive zone.

Whatever the plan is to gain entry into the offensive zone, the Golden Knights need to stick to it. Dump and chase hockey can be boring to watch. But the Stars have been utilizing five defensemen for the series.

The Golden Knights can wear down the Stars defense with a proper dump and chase game. The Golden Knights forwards need to be willing to finish every check in the corners while playing dump and chase hockey. As the game goes on, hits will start to add up and take a toll on the Stars defensemen. That could lead to a critical mistake.

3. Creativity

Cassidy has referenced many times throughout the season that he likes to stay in the moment. Staying in the moment means trusting his instincts with in-game adjustments.

The Golden Knights found themselves trailing late in game No. 4 of the regular season against the Stars. Cassidy moved Karlsson to the wing and Karlsson scored a late game-tying goal. Karlsson playing the wing was not on our bingo card for this season.

It was mentioned above that Cassidy needs to pick a lane and stick to it. Cassidy also needs to have something up his sleeve that the DeBoer and the Stars have not seen before. What the Golden Knights have been doing for the last three games this series has not been working.

Creativity is not just Cassidy’s responsibility. One of the many leaders on the Golden Knights needs to show us something we have not seen before. More importantly, something that former Golden Knights employees DeBoer, Steve Spott, and Misha Donskov have not seen before.

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