The Dallas Stars are still alive.
Down 3-0 in the series and behind early in Game 4, the Stars were able to fight back to win in overtime thanks to heroic efforts from Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski.
It’s still a big mountain for Dallas to climb to get back on even terms in this series, but the Stars can at least feel confident that they’ve played reasonably well for a team that fell behind 3-0 in a best-of-7 series.
Can the Stars build on the momentum as the series shifts back to Vegas for Game 5?
(8 p.m. ET)
It sounds hollow because of their 3-1 deficit, but the Stars have done a lot of good things in this series.
Outside of a dismal performance in Game 3, Dallas has looked every bit Vegas’ equal through the first four contests.
Vegas has outscored Dallas, 11-4, at 5-on-5 through the first four games in the Western Conference Finals, but those numbers are a bit misleading.
If you look beyond goals scored you’ll see the two teams have essentially split the expected goals and high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5.
The main difference in this matchup has quite simply been the goaltending. Before Game 1, everyone seemed to agree that Dallas would have a major edge in the blue paint with Jake Oettinger taking on Adin Hill.
But it’s actually gone the other way.
Oettinger was solid in Game 4, but he’s struggled for the lion’s share of this series, while Hill has posted a .943 save percentage and a +5.1 Goals Saved Above Expected in four games.
It’s quite the run for the career backup, but the more games Vegas has to play, the more you start to worry that Hill will get found out.
After closing as a -150 favorite in Game 3, Dallas went off at -115 in Game 4, which was just 48 hours later.
It was a massive overreaction from the betting market to a poor showing on Tuesday night, but it was understandable that money came in on Vegas.
It’s not often that bettors will want to back a team down 0-3 in a best-of-7, especially after losing two key contributors (Jamie Benn, Evgenii Dadonov).
But don’t be surprised if we see money back the Stars now that they’re on the board.
Dallas and Vegas have basically been on level footing all series, but the Knights have gotten the better goaltending so far.
That said, it’s hard to be confident that Hill will be able to continue playing at this level, while it’s fair to be confident that Oettinger will be able to get to another level.
The Stars are the value side on Saturday night.
Stars +118 (FanDuel)