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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 21)

Dominating The Pacific

Oh how much we miss you on a night like tonight Clayton Stoner. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tonight the Golden Knights are seeking their fifth divisional win and third in a row. Vegas is 4-1-0 in the Pacific and are just one point out of first place with two games in hand.

Divisional games are supposed to have more energy and passion than other games on the schedule. Against the Kings, fans of both teams felt the playoff-type atmosphere at the T-Mobile arena. The real question is, did it feel like the beginning of a rivalry to the teams playing?

It does, it does. They play hard, they play a fast game. Their crowd is into it. They’re a really good addition, and will be a rival in the division. -John Stevens, Kings Head Coach

Wasn’t just him either.

Yes definitely, the building was loud and had a lot of energy. They are a good team and a fast team. They came out hard right away and we weren’t ready for it. -Trevor Lewis, Kings Forward

The Golden Knights have made it rather clear to the Pacific Division, they are not your traditional expansion pushover.

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Shea-H-L No More

Shea Theodore, a man who makes growing a mustache look hard. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s safe to say the next time Shea Theodore is in Chicago it’ll be to play against the Blackhawks. Well, okay fine, with this club you can never say never, but we are pretty sure this time. The young defenseman is thrilled to be up with Vegas for good, and is working hard to adjust from the Shea-H-L to the NHL.

It’s all about instincts and what instincts I have, when to join the rush, where my shift is at. Usually if your late in your shift you’re not going to want to join the rush. Once I get more confident and start playing those minutes and build the confidence with the coaching staff that’s when I’m at my best. -Shea Theodore

Coach Gerard Gallant and his staff haven’t asked Theodore to change his style of play. They’re encouraging him to to push the puck offensively and allow him to follow his instincts. Which is why Gallant smartly paired Theodore with veteran defenseman Deryk Engelland.

I thought it was great. I thought we communicated well all night. We’re a pretty good pair out there, I thought it showed in the game. We had a lot of defensive zone breakups, that we were able to move the puck and join the rush. -Theodore

Theodore agreed that Engelland compliments his play on the ice.

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Golden Knights Aren’t Big, But They Aren’t Afraid Either

We may be little, but we live in front of the net. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are built differently than most teams in the Pacific division. For example, the Kings were ranked 2nd in average height (6’1), and 3rd in team weight (207 lbs) last season. The Golden Knights have 11 players weighing in at 200 pounds or more, and just seven players heavier than LA’s 207 pound team average. The Kings have 18 players 200+ lbs and 11 that weigh more than 207. On to height, Vegas has five players 6’3 or taller. LA has eight players 6’3 or bigger. I could keep going. Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, LA, and Vancouver are all designed to handle the heavy load in front of their own goal.

Net presence isn’t always determined by strength. When there’s room to take advantage of, size doesn’t matter. Vegas may not be a big, physical team but they proved to be strong around Vancouver’s net.

David Perron‘s deep slot goal in the first period was a gorgeous display of his typically velvety hands (the only real way to describe his hands) but Nate Schmidt‘s net presence helped create an open lane. Vancouver’s defense was so busy clearing out the VGK defenseman, they got in the way of goaltender Jacob Markstrom‘s vision. Once James Neal passed the puck it was all target practice from there. The distraction in front by Schmidt, and a patient Perron got Vegas on the board first.

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Golden Knights Have Had Success Against The Opposition’s Best

Luca, the good guy is about to go out there. Luca? Hey, where’s Luca? Doesn’t he know we really need him tonight? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As you’ve read on SinBin.vegas, containing individual talent has been a key factor in the early success of the Golden Knights. Today, on a day in which the Golden Knights are set to face the league’s superstar, we’re taking a closer look at how Vegas has done against each of the previous stars they’ve faced.

Our sample includes 21 star players over the course of the first 16 games of the season. 13 stars performed under their points per game averages, including eight who went scoreless against the Golden Knights. While only eight of the 21 exceeded their average against Vegas. Plus, you could argue at least four of the eight (Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson) were skewed by late-game, man-advantage points.

PlayerPPGvs. VGKDiff
Jamie Benn1.0000-1.00
Tyler Seguin1.00010.00
Dylan Larkin0.83310.167
Brad Marchand (H)1.0711-0.071
David Pastrnak (H)1.0631-0.063
Jack Eichel0.82411.176
Evander Kane0.94432.056
Vladamir Tarasenko1.1890-1.189
Alex Pietrangelo0.88910.111
Patrick Kane0.94410.056
Jonathan Toews0.6110-0.611
Nathan MacKinnon0.9380-0.938
John Tavares1.11820.882
Mika Zibanejad1.00032.000
Brad Marchand (A)1.0710-1.071
David Pastrnak (A)1.0630-1.063
Patrice Bergeron (A)1.0000-1.000
Erik Karlsson1.5451-0.545
Auston Matthews1.1881-0.188
Blake Wheeler1.4380-1.438
Mark Scheifele1.3131-0.313
Patrik Laine0.75010.250

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Winnipeg Jets Complimentary Of Golden Knights And T-Mobile Arena

These people are why Vegas is so good at home. These exact people. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Winnipeg Jets came into Las Vegas having earned a point in each of their previous eight games. That stretch ended abruptly when they faced a team on a streak of their own. After last night’s 5-2 Golden Knights victory, Vegas has now won six straight games at T-Mobile Arena, something the Jets were aware of coming in.

They were everything that we expected. Our preparation before the game showed that hockey team. You know I said how once you get out there, we just couldn’t get out of our zone. –Blake Wheeler, Jets Captain

The Captain didn’t seem upset or frustrated, if anything, he was more impressed with the team he faced.

I think just the way they play, their forecheck is really tough to break. They are great at getting above the puck. There just wasn’t a whole lot of space to make plays. You have got to give them a lot of credit, we made a lot of mistakes that cost us, gave them a little bit too much space. They really capitalize on their looks and you have to give them credit. They played a good hockey game tonight. -Wheeler

Wheeler expected a strong effort from Vegas but wasn’t stunned by the loss. Looking forward, expect Winnipeg to be even more prepared for the Golden Knights.

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#88 In Your Program, #1 In Your Defensive Pairings

I don’t know how to put this, but… I’m kind of a big deal. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There are many storylines this season, but one in particular is overlooked only because of his steady play. Golden Knights like Colin Miller, William Karlsson, William Carrier and others are on pace for career seasons. Heck, even Tomas Nosek has already doubled his career total in goals. Statistical career-paces are nice, but Nate Schmidt transforming into a trusted, top-pairing defenseman is the bigger story.

Heading into this season, Schmidt was stuck on bottom-pair for the Washington Capitals, which is why he was available to the Golden Knights. His scouting report highlighted his strong skating and puck moving ability. Something Vegas fans now get to watch 23 minutes a game.

2017 Averages: 29 Shifts, 22:31 ATOI
2016 Averages: 17 Shifts, 15:29 ATOI
2015 Averages: 22 Shifts, 18:04 ATOI
2014 Averages: 16 Shifts, 13:53 ATOI

I openly admit, I’m a sucker for shift statistics and time on ice. TOI numbers indicate the trust a coach will have in an individual player. After 15 games in the books, it’s clear Gerard Gallant heavily relies on Schmidt’s consistency. Due to his usage increase, #88 has turned into a top defenseman for the Golden Knights. Here are Schmidt’s game logs for this season.

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Comeback Knights Comeback Again, But Not All The Way Back

Today’s game against Montreal marks the end of a long six-game road trip. The Golden Knights have only three points in five road games, but the the trip hasn’t been a complete failure. After two disastrous games in New York, and one boring matchup in Boston (that for some reason people still think they played well in), the team perked up again in Ottawa. Vegas earned their three points with impressive performances against the Senators and losing to Toronto in a shootout. The Maple Leafs are one of the league’s most offensive teams, and Vegas kept up with three tallies of their own. Winning in Ottawa and coming back to force overtime in Toronto were strong statements by the traveling Golden Knights.

Definitely liked it better when the comebacks ended in wins, not OTL’s. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Although Vegas went on to lose in hockey’s Mecca, the comeback Knights made it a nail-biter, and probably should have won in overtime. The Golden Knights are impressively one of the NHL’s leading teams with five comeback victories. While it’s technically not a comeback, earning one point against Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs feels like a win.

Here are VGK’s five comeback wins:

10/06 @ Dallas: VGK wins 2-1
Dallas center Tyler Seguin scored first at 17:01 in the 2nd Period
James Neal scores two goals in final 9 minutes to win 2-1

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Only Similarity In Golden Knights Wins Are Differences

How should we win today boys? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After nine wins including three on the road, six at home, and against a wide variety of teams, I set out to find a pattern. What is the Golden Knights recipe for success? Instead, what I found, there isn’t one, and that’s a good news for Vegas.

Close games, blowouts, high scoring, low scoring, up late, down late, good team, bad team, you name it, Vegas has done it. We even dug deeper to total goals scored, game start times, game length, and even referee/linesmen pairings, and it all showed absolutely nothing.

The truth is the Golden Knights are winning by all forms and styles. They’ve won scoring seven and they’ve also won scoring two goals. VGK has won scoring first, and won scoring last. What I really found out, nine wins adds up to nine different stories.

Wins – @DAL, @ARI, vs ARI, vs BOS, vs BUF, vs STL, vs CHI,  vs COL, @OTT

Wins when scoring 5 or more goals: vs ARI (5), vs BUF (5), vs COL (7), @ OTT (5)

Wins when scoring 3 or fewer goals: @DAL (2), vs ARI (2), vs BOS (3), vs STL (3)

Wins by day of the week: Saturday (3), Tuesday (3), Friday (2), Sunday (1)

Game start times (PST): 11A, 3P, 4P, 5P, 6P, 7P(3), 730P

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What Did Gallant See That We Didn’t?

Let’s first start off with a very important disclaimer. I am not a coach, and I’m not qualified to be a coach, and I probably never will be. Gerard Gallant, on the other hand, is a coach, and was a player, has done it for a long time, so his opinion should probably hold a bit more weight than mine.

I think the guys really battled, against a good, strong Boston team. It was a bounce here and a bounce there that was the difference in the hockey game. I thought it was a real good hockey game that we didn’t get points out of but we probably could’ve. -Gerard Gallant

Maybe we just prefer the higher scoring games? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Gallant seemed pleased with the Golden Knights performance, regardless of the outcome. The Vegas coach liked his club’s effort, especially following two awful finishes in New York. However, Thursday’s “promising” play resulted in a third consecutive Golden Knights defeat. Which leads to my dilemma. Gallant thinks his team played well enough to win, I disagree.

Don’t get it twisted, I’m not calling out effort, instead, I’m calling out strategy, and maybe even skill. The Golden Knights looked like a team struggling to get anything going which hasn’t been common for this team. They skated for long stretches without shots or pressure on Bruin’s goaltender Tuukka Rask. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Jonathan Marchessault, and Alex Tuch were the only forwards to register a 1st period shot. In the middle frame, the Golden Knights turned the puck over four times in a matter of three minutes. Two such giveaways were on a man-advantage situation. And the 3rd period it just never really felt like Vegas’ goal would come because of a lack of chances, and sure enough, it didn’t.

Gallant was noticeably frustrated after Tuesday’s loss to New York. He even went on to call Vegas an expansion team. After Thursday’s 2-1 loss in Boston the head coach had a much more positive message.

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Honest And Angry; A New Side Of Gerard Gallant After Back To Back Losses

“We pissed away points that we should’ve got.” (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A few weeks back, Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant answered my question about Marc-Andre Fleury in a peculiar way.

I can’t tell you the truth all of the time. That’s the way it works, to be honest with you. -Gerard Gallant (October 15th)

Well, that changed after Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers. We got the brutally honest Gallant.

That’s two nights in a row that we pissed away points that we should’ve got. And tonight was a bad one. -Gallant

For the first time in his brief Golden Knights history, Gallant spoke like a ticked off coach on a two-game losing streak. Not an e-word coach content with a hot start. After two consecutive blown leads, a frustrated Gallant spoke the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

We got too many veterans to be learning. We’re a good team, and we’re a better team than that. We’re not a real expansion team, we’re a good hockey team. We play a lot better than that. -Gallant

He wasn’t pointing fingers directly at anyone, but if you are David Perron listening to the coach’s postgame comments, it probably felt like there was a finger pointed right at him. Every time Gallant said penalty, he was talking about Perron. But Gallant wasn’t letting anyone on his team get away with their MSG collapse. Especially, after Monday’s Barclays Center collapse.

We made excuses last night (Monday) and again tonight we sit back defensively and they took it to us. We didn’t respond the right way and sat back instead of trying to attack like we did all game… That’s all on us. We lost the game. -Gallant

To be honest, I like honest Gallant. We’ve never seen this side of the Golden Knights coach. I thought it would take a lot longer before we saw him this furious. In his mind, he’s coaching a playoff contending team, not a first-year organization. Fans against the tank should be thrilled to read Gallant’s comments. Apparently, he’ll never accept pissing away points for better draft odds no matter how badly his GM may want it to happen at some point this year.

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