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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 2 of 31)

Golden Knights Reserves Become Fans Like Everyone Else

We know they’d rather be on the ice, but the VGK healthy scratches maintain the right attitude. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Imagine this. You’ve worked your entire life to become a professional hockey player, make it to the National Hockey League, and to eventually play for the Stanley Cup. Then, your team makes it there, coach brings down the lineup card, and your name is not on it. Rather than play in the game, you are destined to sit in the press box wearing a suit and watch. Sounds like the worst, right? Actually…

It’s awesome. When you’re sitting upstairs and we score a goal guys are jumping and down, hugging each other. That’s what it’s all about. Everyone is a part of the same goal. -Brad Hunt

Hunt hasn’t played since April 7th in Calgary, the Golden Knights last regular season game.

Guys like myself, Jonny (Merrill), and others who haven’t played in awhile, we all want everyone to do so good because we know it’s a chance at something we may never get a chance to do again. It’s been so special. -Hunt

Talking to Hunt, fellow defenseman Jon Merrill, and others, you’d think these guys average 20 minutes a night in the postseason.

I’m honestly more nervous when I’m not playing. When you’re out there playing you’re not thinking about anything, you’re just playing. When you’re upstairs you’re just a fan, you want the boys to win so bad. -Jon Merrill

Golden Misfits? More like Nervous Nellies.

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Golden Knights “Didn’t Execute” On The 5-on-3 And It Cost Them Game 2

5-on-3’s changes games whether goals are scored or not. Vegas was on the wrong side of it in Game 2. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

John Carlson called it a “momentum shifter,” Barry Trotz said he was “praying like crazy”, and Jonathan Marchessault said “they played it well.” The Golden Knights unsuccessful 5-on-3 power play in the 3rd period was a major turning point of Game 2.

Definitely when you have a 5-on-3 in the playoffs you have to score, and I think that’s on us. -Jonathan Marchessault

Early in the 3rd period, Tom Wilson took his normal residency in the box for an interference penalty on Brayden McNabb. This gave Vegas a two-minute power play with 16:47 remaining in the game.

Two faceoffs, a stoppage in play, and a Colin Miller shot attempt later, the Capitals made a second blunder. Lars Eller was caught hooking Miller, creating a two-man advantage for Vegas.

I was praying like crazy. They’ve done a really good job in those situations. They’re well prepared and they have a high commitment level. -Barry Trotz, Washington head coach

For the next 1:08, Vegas did very little and only shot once on net.

The chances are there. Really, we didn’t execute them. You look at it back, and everything we wanted to do was there. We just didn’t execute the play right. We didn’t do it quick enough. It was guys not making the right plays at the right time. -Gerard Gallant

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Nosek And Theodore Talk About The Goal That Won Game 1

Tomas Nosek has a knack for the big goal. He scored the 1st goal in T-Mobile Arena history too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tomas Nosek’s Game 1 winning goal was a Stanley Cup moment we’ll see for years to come. The men behind the tiebreaker were understandably laughing, smiling and in quite the jovial mood the following day.

In those type of games you just want to get pucks on the net and create a rebound. He made a good play popping out and a lane just kinda opened right up, and I found it. -Shea Theodore

Theodore’s first thought was to shoot the puck but hesitated because his aim was off earlier in the game.

A couple of plays earlier I tried walking in and had a terrible shot that missed the net. You go through ups and downs throughout games. -Theodore

Nosek created open space off to the side of the net, allowing Theodore to make a beautiful pass.

At this time of the year no shot is a bad shot. You want to get pucks to the net and create rebounds. You want to create some havoc around there. -Theodore

The 25-year-old Czech showed immense emotions in Game 1, something Golden Knights fans don’t often see from #92. At one point in the game, Nosek skated back to the bench and repeatedly slammed his stick on the boards. It was clear he was frustrated about something.

It was probably after the Oshie hit. There’s a lot of emotions in a game and sometimes you need relief a little bit. -Tomas Nosek

Is that why Nosek erupted in celebration after scoring his game-winning goal?

Maybe, yeah. It’s the Stanley Cup Final, you don’t get a chance to play in it every day. When you score a goal, and you help your team win a game. It’s perfect. -Nosek

Both players are relishing the moment of playing on the NHL’s biggest stage. They’re feeling confident and ready to make an impact in Game 2. Nosek and Theodore are normally reserved on the ice, so fans should appreciate the emotions in the Stanley Cup Finals. Because it’s working.

Back And Forth Game 1 Proves Golden Knights Can Thrive Ahead, Behind Or Tied

Last night was not your typical Golden Knights playoff game.

In the Western Conference final, there were no lead changes and Vegas was ahead in the series for 193 minutes. In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Golden Knights maintained a lead for only 22:50 minutes.

Here’s the breakdown of the four lead changes in Game 1:

Game Tied: (0:00-7:15)
VGK Lead: (7:15-14:41)
Game Tied: (14:41-15:23)
WSH Lead: (15:23-18:19)
Game Tied: (18:19-23:21)
VGK Lead: (23:21-28:29)
Game Tied: (28:29-41:10)
WSH Lead: (41:10-42:41)
Game Tied: (42:41-49:44)
VGK Lead: (49:44-60:00)

The Golden Knights played a lot more time with the lead than Washington did in Game 1. The Capitals had a hard time holding the lead, which led to the scoring being tied for a majority of the night despite the fact that 10 goals were scored.

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Stanley Cup Final Media Day: Quotes and Pictures

We are close but there’s still a lot of work to get done. We’re going up a very good club over there. It’s going to be our toughest series yet. -Colin Miller, Vegas Defenseman on staying focused during the series

It’s a nice looking trophy for sure. -Miller

It’s kind of amazing how things worked out for him. I remembered talking to him before his contract expired in Calgary, he pretty much knew he wasn’t going back. He thought that if he can maybe get a one-year contract in Vegas and take that in to retirement. It didn’t really guarantee him much but I think this is the best year he’s had as a pro.- Brooks Orpik, Washington defenseman on his friend Deryk Engelland

You want to do the little things. Make sure the puck is kept out of the net at the end of your shift. If it’s a draw, you want to start with the puck and give yourself a chance to get it out of your zone, get it out of trouble. Everyone has a job to do on the ice at that point. -Cody Eakin, Vegas Forward talks about his role in the postseason

We were watching when gave his speech, there were guys in our locker room saying, ‘man, what a good speech.’ Especially, at a very, very difficult time. -Orpik

They have a couple of players that play similar style to the way we play as the fourth line. It’s your mindset. Every little shot matters, so obviously blocking shots is a huge factor. Making sure they’re not getting shots to the night. It’s a big part of my game, and I have to continue that. -Jay Beagle, Washington Forward on similarities to the Golden Knights fourth line

We know they’re coming. We got to be prepared for it. We have a good plan and now we got to follow it and try and get the win. -Christian Djoos, Washington Defenseman on Vegas coming out strong early in games

Just play. They’re going to get hit, I’m going to get hit. Personally, I’m not worried about it. I’m expecting to get him, I’ll throw some hits. I don’t think any of us really have to change. -Devante Smith-Pelley, Washington Forward talking about being smart when playing physical against Vegas

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NHL GM’s May Try To Copy Golden Knights’ Balanced D Unit

Since coming in for Jon Merrill, Sbisa has been excellent with Colin Miller. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Throughout the postseason, analysts have talked about the Golden Knights as a future model for teams living under a tight salary cap. The players’ average age, salary, skill, desire, leadership, and unity is what makes Vegas so ideally well-balanced.

We don’t have that superstar D-man that has to play thirty minutes. As a group, we’re pretty balanced. Everyone can do each other’s job… we’re a real tight unit. It’s been fun. -Luca Sbisa

Signing a defenseman, or any player, to a massive contract can sometimes hurt a club’s progression. Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty averaging up to 30 minutes a night doesn’t guarantee great team defense. Instead, the plan of balancing minutes among three defensive pairings has been wildly effective for Vegas.

Ice time is pretty spread. In certain situations guys play more but I think everyone is pretty fresh because every guy plays around 20 minutes. You don’t have to play 28-30 minutes over 82 games because eventually it’ll catch up to you. -Sbisa

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said he expects the Golden Knights “passive aggressive forecheck” a problem for Washington’s defense. The same unit he said looked “done” against Tampa. Through 15 games in the postseason, no one has said the Golden Knights defensemen looked tired.

A D-pair that only plays 12 minutes a night, I don’t think they’d play at their best. If everyone is getting regular shifts it gets you into a rhythm playing more at their abilities. -Sbisa

Like other leagues, the NHL is a copycat league. Other GM’s have to be taking notes, drooling over the Golden Knights success. A team with four solid lines, six reliable d-men, and a lights-out goaltender is a blueprint every franchise dreams of designing.

I think we’ve done a good job blocking shots, giving them shots from the outside. They may create some chances, that’s the way hockey is. -Sbisa

Sbisa and the other Golden Knights defensemen will have to continue playing brilliantly against the Capitals. If Vegas can keep fresh on the ice by sticking to their gameplan, Washington’s offense will have a hard time getting close to “Superman” Fleury.

And if that happens and Vegas wins the Cup, every NHL GM may look to add ‘Golden’ to their team name too.

Scoring First Is Great, What Vegas Does With It Is Better

If VGK jumps out ahead of Washington like they did Winnipeg, it might be another quick series. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In the Western Conference finals, the team that scored the first goal of the game won all five games. Pretty simple formula. However, it was what Vegas did once they had the first lead of the game that really determined the series. The Jets tied things up in Games 3, 4, and 5, but failed to take ever over a lead. After Game 1, Vegas never allowed Winnipeg to take a lead in the series.

It definitely is a testament to great goaltending. Its something special, especially with all of the big saves. It’s a common effect when Marc has the net. -Reilly Smith

There’s no question Marc-Andre Fleury has been the difference maker for Vegas this postseason, his brilliance has made it easier for teammates do their job.

We played well defensively, our goalie was tremendous. We made the right play at the right time. Time after time the way we play, the right plays happen more often than not. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Against Winnipeg, the Golden Knights played disciplined, made quick decisions moving the puck, and capitalized on forced mistakes. In 300 minutes played against the Jets in the WCF, Vegas had the lead for an astounding 194 minutes.

Game 1: Vegas @ Winnipeg
WPG Time in Lead: 58:55
Tied: 1:05
VGK Time in Lead: 0:00

Game 2: Vegas @ Winnipeg
WPG Time in Lead: 0:00
Tied: 13:23
VGK Time in Lead: 46:37

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Trends, Trends, And More Trends… All Of Which Aren’t Really Trends

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since 1987, fourteen NHL teams advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in 15 games or less, five won the Stanley Cup.

2018: Vegas Golden Knights (15)
2012: LA Kings (14)
2008: Pittsburgh Penguins (14)
2007: Ottawa Senators (15)
2003: Anaheim Ducks (14)
1999: Buffalo Sabres (15)
1997: Philadelphia Flyers (15)
1995: New Jersey Devils (15) 
1995: Detroit Red Wings (14)
1993: Montreal Canadiens(15)
1992: Chicago Blackhawks (14)
1989: Montreal Canadiens (15)
1988: Edmonton Oilers (14) 
1987: Edmonton Oilers (14)
*Bold = Won Cup

This postseason the Golden Knights swept LA, beat San Jose in six games, and ruined all of Canada’s dreams in five games. Combined, Vegas will have 21 days off in between series this postseason. It’s very rare for a team to have that much rest in between playoffs series. To compare, back to back Stanley Cup champs Pittsburgh Penguins had 19 days off between series in 2016 and 2017 combined.

Teams to make the Stanley Cup finals in 15 games or less are 5-8 since 1987. Not ideal, but also not much of a trend to get upset about if you’re a Golden Knights fan. In that same timespan, 26 NHL Champions took 15 or more games to get to the Cup finals.

Continuing in the useless trend department, the Golden Knights should feel good about Deryk Engelland handling the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. Pittsburgh is 3-0 when they touched the Prince of Wales trophy, but prior to 2016, six champions in a row did not touch their conference prizes.

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Ryan Reaves Earned His Golden Moment For Vegas

Just like we all expected; Ryan Reaves with the series-clinching goal of the Western Conference Finals. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Game 5 hero Ryan Reaves has only been a Golden Knight for four months but is easily the most polarizing player in franchise history. That was up until yesterday’s series clinching goal.

Reaves is a big body that can hold his own in front of the net. His strength around the crease opens up shooting lanes for his teammates, which is what happened on Reaves’ game winning tip in. Defenseman Luca Sbisa saw some light and let it sling. Like they’ve done hundreds of times together in practice, Reaves kept his eye on the biscuit and deflected it over Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

You’re always trying to get some offensive opportunities. You don’t want to be running around, getting some hits and not doing anything. You try and help out on the scoreboard anyway you can. -Ryan Reaves to SinBin.vegas on 5/15/18

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Vezina Candidate Being Outplayed By Conn Smythe Favorite

Hellebuyck had no chance on this one, but the other two… (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Like all sports, NHL award voting takes place before the postseason begins. This season, both the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets have several award nominees. One of which is Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who was nominated for the Vezina trophy along with Eastern Conference finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy, and amateur golfer Pekka Rinne.

Over four games against Vegas, the Vezina nominee has allowed 11 goals and has lost three straight conference final games. Not the trait of a goaltender of the year candidate. Neither is this.

It’s a great effort by Reilly Smith, that’s clear, however Hellenuyck has to have this one. Dustin Byfuglien misses his mark, Smith jumps on the puck and streaks for the net. Hellebuyck had a clear view of Smith’s approach tracking the puck immediately after the turnover. He had plenty of time to get into position. The Golden Knight pulled the trigger at the top of faceoff circle with a good wrist shot, not a great one. Byfuglien’s mishap began the breakout but the Jets goaltender could’ve bailed his teammate out.

Down a game in the Western Conference finals, a reliable goaltender makes that save. Hellebuyck did not.

And that wasn’t even Hellebuyck’s worst mistake of Game 4. He bobbled a seemingly harmless shot from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, then allowed a rebound shot through the five-hole on Tomas Nosek.

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