The Vegas Golden Knights were unable to complete the sweep of the Dallas Stars in Game 4, losing 3-2 in overtime and guaranteeing a Game 5 back at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.
The team was not happy with the overall effort afterwards.
“I thought they were way better today,” Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said, per NHL.com. “We're trying to play the right way, but their desperation was a little higher than ours. At this time of the year, it's not about X's and O's, it's about who wants it more and I thought they wanted it more than us tonight.”
Similar to Games 1 and 2 that both went to overtime, Game 4 could have went either way. But unlike in the first two contests, the Stars were finally able to win an overtime contest in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to keep their season alive.
“Our effort level, I think it was not good enough,” Marchessault continued. “Closing a series, it's probably the hardest game of the series, right. So, it's just not good enough for our group.”
“They were better than us,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy echoed. “They won more puck battles. If you look at the face-offs, they were heavily tilted toward them. That's your first competing act on the shift is the face-off. We weren't there.”
It was clear that the Stars were the better team in Game 4; they had a 30-23 advantage in shots on goal and 53-37 edge in total shot attempts through two periods, while winning 56.7 percent of the face-offs (21 of 38).
Regardless of the outcome, the Golden Knights still have a stranglehold on the series, leading 3-1 with two potential series-clinching home games on tap.
If Game 4 had went Vegas's way, they and the Florida Panthers would have been the first two teams to sweep their respective conference finals since the 1992 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks faced off in the Stanley Cup Final after winning each of their semi final series in four straight.
Another chance to close out Dallas for good awaits Las Vegas in front of what it sure to be a raucous home crowd at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.