Now, this looked more like it — more like the Golden Knights.

Following an improved effort in the first period, the Golden Knights took over the second period of Game 2, scoring three times against the Stars. Vegas fired 19 shots on goal during that middle frame alone. Vegas looked dangerous at every level, including on the power play. It seemed like the Stars might get a lifeline when a would-be 3-0 goal was called back on goalie interference. Instead, the Golden Knights scored a prettier 3-0 tally to make up that edge.

From there, the Stars never really tested Robin Lehner. So far, the 2020 Western Conference Final has been the story of two very different games, with a contest apiece working to the Stars’ and Golden Knights’ advantage.

Look, Lehner didn’t need to work that hard. That was especially true when the Golden Knights were surging during the second period.

When the smoke cleared and the flamingos fell, Lehner ended up with a 24-save shutout. He was already coming off of an even lighter shutout (14 saves) to close out the Canucks in a Game 7, making it harder and harder to manufacture any drama with Marc-Andre Fleury.

This puts Lehner at four shutouts during the Golden Knights run in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Whether something interesting works out to keep Lehner with Vegas or he hits the free agent market, it’s hard to imagine Lehner failing to gain the long-term security he craves in free agency.

Even when they were scoring against Demko, Shea Theodore was doing most of the damage. So, the great news is that the Golden Knights’ offense exploding, and multiple forwards were involved. That does make it tougher to pick out specific standouts for the three stars, though. It was very much a team effort.

Stastny stands out as having the best night. Thanks to a great pass by Max Pacioretty, Stastny scored the game-winner. In addition to the GWG, Stastny assisted on the 2-0 power-play goal.

Honestly, you could give Nicolas Roy, Chandler Stephenson, and Tomas Nosek a collective star for that beautiful 3-0 goal. But they didn’t have the strongest overall games, generally speaking.

You know whose numbers pop out when you look at underlying stats at Natural Stat Trick, though? Whitecloud. His possession numbers were bonkers (including 12 shots for and just one shot against at even-strength), and Whitecloud played a role in keeping Tyler Seguin and Denis Gurianov quiet in Game 2.

There’s some evidence that Whitecloud is another sneaky-good Golden Knights defenseman, by the way. Also, if you’re bored, refer to him as “White Claw” for a cheap chuckle.

No doubt, these highlights are heavy on the second period:

Game 2: Islanders vs. Lightning (TB leads 1-0) – 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream)

 

MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Final schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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