The Golden Knights dropped out of their first closing match in franchise history in Game 5, sinking 5-2 in San Jose. It was far from a perfect match for both teams, but the Golden Knights certainly did not play a terrible match (like in the first match).
So the difference between winning and losing is tiny. I asked six players and the head coach the same question: "If you think something needs to change from Game 5 to help you win Game 6, what would it be?" Here are their answers.
I think we need to make sure more people go to the net, more chances to score in the interior. I thought we were a bit too out in the last game. I think we need to send more pucks to net, more people to net in search of rebound goals and uglier goals. -Gerard Gallant
Play more post by post, a little more urgent. Bring them intensity rather than waiting to see what they will do. Bring the game to them. -Alex Tuch
The first 10 minutes of the match, they were buzzing early. We did not play a terrible game, but we did not play a game that you have to play to close a series. Every night, it's the one who wants more. -Jonathan Marchessault
I'm not sure it's something that needs to change. I liked that we were disciplined, we stayed much more numerous. I think that's a big part of that. I would like to continue in this part and a good start would be good. -Nate Schmidt
I would not say it would change a lot, but a little bit cleaner. Our performance was not perfect in the last game. I thought we had the right state of mind in many areas, but no time keeping an o zone. Maybe the rearguard, the shuffles, it's probably different in each scenario, but we know we have a little better in all areas. -Max Pacioretty
You must take advantage of your opportunities, be they happy or unhappy, and conversely, if it hurts you, you must continue. For us, just continue playing the same way. Play well and try to be the aggressors at home. Plus, they were probably a little more desperate than us and now we have to do the same. -Paul Stastny
I would say it's a failure before. We need to put more pressure on them and have to step back in groups of five. -Shea Theodore
It's a wide range of answers, but they all have merit. My answer is a bit of a combination of Theodore and Pacioretty. In this series, it begins and ends with the Golden Knights' ability to put pressure on the Shark defenders. The best place to do it is in the offensive zone with a good failure before, but this applies in the neutral zone and defensively to the blue line. Gold Knights must be closer to the Sharks players and a little more connected as a unit when they are trying to recover the puck.
That said, it's not as if the Golden Knights behaved badly in the fifth game, they just did not take advantage of the mistakes they made. There were five or six good chances that, if Vegas converted one, we did not even talk about the Sharks anymore. The last thing to improve for me is therefore the last one. When luck is there, bury it.
At home, they were able to do it against San Jose, especially at the start of games. This must happen again in game 6.