The Vegas Golden Knights are looking to avoid being the first team since 2014 to blow a 3-0 lead in a Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Dallas Stars — and defenseman Alec Martinez knows all about being on the other side of it.
Martinez's Los Angeles Kings overcame a 3-0 deficit in the first round of the 2014 postseason against the San Jose Sharks, incredibly winning the series in Game 7 before going on to win the Stanley Cup.
It was also a heroic run for Martinez, who scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in double overtime of Game 5 against the New York Rangers.
June 13, 2014: Alec Martinez scores the G5 game-winner against the Rangers in 2OT & the Kings win the Stanley Cup. pic.twitter.com/qZa39NYah5
— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) June 13, 2020
“I would probably rely on the experience that I've been in before, being up 3-0 and not closing a team out in that Game 4,” Martinez said on Friday, according to NHL.com's Derek Van Diest.
“The fourth one is the hardest to get, and they're a really good team. They played a really good hockey game, and they made it extremely difficult for us to win that game. That said, we were one shot away, but in terms of experience, I think I would just rely on experience in general rather than having been on the other side of that.”
The Golden Knights have more players than the Stars or Florida Panthers who have experience going to the Stanley Cup Final.
Besides Martinez, Alex Pietrangelo and Ivan Barbashev won a Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, while Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith were all on the 2018 Vegas team that lost to the Washington Capitals in the Finals in 2018.
“In terms of an approach to the game, it's finding that balance between knowing what's at stake and also approaching it as another playoff game,” Alec Martinez said.
“You're better off focusing on the process, knowing that if you play a good game, you play a good 60 [minutes], you stick to your game, the end result will take care of itself.”
The Golden Knights will have a raucous crowd behind them at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night as they look to close out the Stars and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in five seasons.