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3 takeaways from Knights’ loss: Stars hold on to even series

Updated April 29, 2024 - 9:33 pm

It’s now a best-of-three.

The Golden Knights suffered their second straight loss at home Monday, losing 4-2 to the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of their first-round series at T-Mobile Arena.

The Stars’ win evened the series at 2-2 after the road team won for the fourth straight game. Game 5 is at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on Wednesday.

Center Jack Eichel and right wing Michael Amadio scored for the Knights, who have been held to two goals each of their last two games. Goaltender Logan Thompson made 28 saves in the loss.

“I think it’s just two good teams going at it,” right wing Jonathan Marchessault said. “They’re a veteran group that plays the right way and I like to think we’re the same. Now it’s a best out of three and we have to go to Dallas and bring a good road game.”

The Knights got off to a great start after their shaky first period in Game 3.

They opened the scoring when Amadio poked home a rebound off a shot from defenseman Brayden McNabb with 5:35 remaining in the first period. It was one of the Knights’ 14 shots on goal in the frame.

Dallas responded thanks to a fortunate break.

Left wing Evgenii Dadonov tied the game at 1-1 with 2:08 left until the first intermission when his shot from below the goal line deflected off Thompson’s mask and into the net.

The Knights weren’t deterred.

Eichel scored his third goal in four games 3:09 into the second period to put his team back in front. The Knights couldn’t hold onto the lead again. This time it was because they couldn’t stay out of the box.

The Stars made defenseman Alex Pietrangelo pay for a roughing penalty when right wing Wyatt Johnson tied the game again with a power-play goal 9:45 into the second period.

The goal appeared to give Dallas life. The Stars started controlling play in the offensive zone, which led to left wing Ty Dellandrea — who scored two goals at T-Mobile Arena in Game 5 of last year’s Western Conference Final — putting his team in front after a puck went off his chest and into the net with 1:26 left in the second.

“They scored two from the goal line tonight. But that’s what happens when you funnel some nights,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “So, at the end of the day, (it’s) on us not to get to the intermission at least 2-2 and take a breath.”

Dallas made sure its 3-2 lead held up.

The Stars took away the middle of the ice in their own zone and forced the Knights to the outside. Few of the 15 shots goaltender Jake Oettinger faced in the third period were dangerous.

The Stars finished things off with an empty-net goal from center Roope Hintz with 1:22 remaining in the third. That evened the series after Dallas fell behind 2-0 following the first two games at American Airlines Center.

“I think everyone knew these games would be like this,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “You look at the four and I don’t think we’ve played a poor game yet.”

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

1. Amadio makes difference

Cassidy’s one lineup change ended up being a smart one.

Amadio made his postseason debut Monday after appearing in 16 of the team’s playoff games a year ago. He scored and was part of the Knights’ best line.

The team had a 17-3 edge in shot attempts when Amadio, center William Karlsson and left wing Brett Howden were on the ice together at five-on-five.

2. Pietrangelo’s rough game

Pietrangelo is working his way back from an illness and an appendectomy that kept him out of the lineup down the stretch.

Monday’s game wasn’t pretty, however. The 34-year-old played a role in two of Dallas’ goals.

His roughing penalty occurred near the defensive blue line and led to Johnston’s third goal in two games. Pietrangelo then turned the puck over at the offensive blue line moments before Dellandrea’s go-ahead goal.

“The last goal we mismanaged the puck,” Cassidy said. “That has got to clean itself up.”

3. Road dominance continues

The first team that wins at home may win the series.

The Knights and the Stars were both strong at home in the regular season. Dallas was 26-11-4 at American Airlines Center. The Knights were 27-12-2 at T-Mobile Arena. It hasn’t translated to the playoffs yet.

Monday marked the third time in franchise history the Knights lost consecutive playoff games at home. They also did so during the 2018 Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals and the 2021 NHL semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens.

“Two good teams going at it, it’s going to be the little things that will decide it,” Karlsson said.

Contact Danny Webster at dwebster@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DannyWebster21 on X.

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