A PEEK AT THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter

The new expansion hockey team embraced the people of Las Vegas and the people embraced the team, the two needed each other. The City of Las Vegas needed something positive to recover from a horrific tragic event two years ago. The Vegas Golden Knights were the answer. The Dallas Stars may be fighting history and destiny.

The Golden Knights have advanced to the Western Conference Finals two of the three years of their existence. Only the St. Louis Blues did that 1969-1972 with the first NHL expansion.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

The Vegas Knights have become the darlings of the west replacing the struggling San Jose Sharks. The beginning of this franchise was rough with the mass shooting on October 1, 2018 at the Harvest Music Festival. A man camped out at the Mandalay Hotel with a semi automatic gun killing 58 people on the ground. The Golden Knights have all grown up since then.

The Knights took advantage of the mid-season break to get healthy and happy again. They were one of the three top teams in the west but they were running out of gas and it showed on the ice in March.

Vegas have one of the lethal power plays in the National Hockey League and the Dallas Stars might find out the hard way sitting in the penalty box. They are a Jackal and Hyde team because they are one of the worst penalty killing teams. Opponents try to goat them into mistakes on the ice for the man advantage.

We have to give a shut out to one of the last Goal Brothers in the playoffs, Ryan Reaves. Brother Reaves could be called the spark plug, the match, the instigator; because when Reaves flies so do the Vegas Knights. Reaves is Vegas version of Dustin Byfuglien with height.

Many teams do not go into the corners with Reaves and number 75 opens the door for his centers and forwards to dominate the crease area. For those who don’t know what the crease is. That is the blue semi-circle around the front of the goalie. Opposing players cannot enter this part of the ice and Mr. Reaves makes sure of that.   

The Knights use the two headed monster in net with Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Both goaltenders will be rested and ready to go. I still think Fleury has the championship yips and loses concentration in net so Lehner might be in goal in critical games.

With Reaves bouncing people off the boards it makes it easier for right wing-Reilly Smith and Nicolas Roy, left wing- Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty to score. Very impressed with the kid Zach Whitecloud on defense he needs to gain weight and get the fire of Reaves to be outstanding on ice.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Shea Theodore a scoring defenseman from Langley, Canada.

Like The New York Islanders they have a head coach that has been through the playoff rigors, Peter DeBoer from the San Jose Sharks. So he knows when to push and when to lay back with this team of talent.  

The Knights also have one advantage over the Dallas Stars they have been in the playoffs three straight years. 

DALLAS STARS

Of the four remaining teams in the playoffs this is the most surprising with their stingy defense and outstanding goalie pair Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin. These two just get the job done without flair or style. Nobody really notices them until after the game is over.

The Stars made a run in the season start up forward Jamie Benn has starred in these playoffs after being threaten to be traded throughout the year. Benn has 39 points and 19 coals

The Stars are riding the wings of Center Tyler Seguin with 50 points and 33 assist. Seguin seems to have eyes in the back of his head because he knows where his teams are.

Dallas will be leaning heavy on the veterans Corey Perry from the Anaheim Ducks and Joe Pavelski from the San Jose Sharks. The young players will be looking for leadership from these two.

Right wing Alexander Radulov and Jason Dickson are the men to watch this weekend.

Do not like their team colors as they should have kept the bright yellow and green from the Minnesota North Stars but this series is the future of the National Hockey League.

I like the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games   

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor News Radio Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email glcgray@gmail.com

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

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