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October 21, 2020

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Keys to a Golden Knights win in Game 4, sponsored by Credit One Bank

Golden Knights Stars VGK

Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin (35) gives up a goal as Vegas Golden Knights’ Mark Stone (61) and Alex Tuch (89) celebrate Tuch’s goalduring the third period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Western Conference final, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Golden Knights Lose To Stars In Game 3

Dallas Stars' Jamie Benn (14) and Vegas Golden Knights' Alex Tuch (89) and Mark Stone (61) battle along the boards during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Western Conference final, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta. Launch slideshow »

The Golden Knights face a pivotal Game 4 against the Dallas Stars at 5 p.m. today on NBC.

Win, and the series is even going into next week. Lose, and Vegas is looking at a steep hill to climb with a 3-1 deficit.

The Golden Knights took it to overtime in Game 3, but the first shot of the period put the Stars up 2-1 in the Western Conference Final.

Vegas has only once faced a series deficit after three games, and that was the Stanley Cup Final two years ago.

Here are three keys to victory against the Dallas Stars, sponsored by Credit One Bank.

Find an answer for Dallas’ top line

In Game 3, the Stars loaded up their three best forwards on one line. It was a reunion for Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulovat the top of the lineup.

In 10:27 of ice time at 5-on-5, they were terrific, as Dallas out-attempted Vegas 12-8 and had a scoring chance edge of 7-3, according to stats site Natural Stat Trick.

Benn scored Dallas’ second goal, and Radulov scored the game-winner in overtime.

Vegas used Nate Schmidt and Brayden McNabb to guard them but rolled almost all their forward lines against them. Keep an eye on if that strategy changes in Game 4.

Can’t just be Shea Theodore

Shea Theodore has been tremendous this postseason for the Golden Knights, but at times, the offense has needed him to run.

Since Game 5 against the Canucks, Vegas has scored seven goals against a goalie, and Theodore has been on the ice for six of them — scoring three and assisting on another.

The power play has been that way all postseason. Theodore has been on the ice for almost two-thirds of all the Golden Knights’ power-play time these playoffs and has scored or assisted on eight of the 11 power-play goals.

It’s good that Theodore is having a breakout summer, but the Golden Knights need more than just him being great to score.

Take advantage of special-teams time

Vegas has a slight edge over the Stars this series at 5-on-5, but where the real discrepancy has been is on special teams.

The Golden Knights have been short-handed just five times this series for a total of 6:33 and have not allowed a goal in that time.

Compare that to the Stars, who have been shorthanded for more than triple that time — 21:00 — and have given the Knights a power play nearly five times per game.

Vegas is 2-for-14 with the man advantage, and if the Golden Knights can a pot a few more on the power play while staying out of the box, they’ll be in good shape.