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Author: Ken Boehlke (Page 2 of 114)

2nd Line Shows Out In Game 3 After Critical Self Evaluation Of Games 1 And 2

Whether Ehlers plays or not, VGK’s 2nd line must keep scoring goals and keeping Winnipeg off the board. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before the series on the SinBin.vegas Podcast I harped on the importance of the 2nd line in the Western Conference Finals against Winnipeg. Then after Game 1 I followed up with another article claiming they had to be better in order to Vegas to win the series.

Well, apparently it wasn’t just me thinking it. In fact, all three players mentioned during their press availability before Game 3 that they needed to play better. Game 3 happened, they did, and to no surprise, the Golden Knights got the result they were looking for.

As a line, we played a lot better. We were able to capitalize on a couple of opportunities. Felt good offensively. I still think we need to be a better defensively. I thought our wall play was a little poor at times, especially myself, so I’ve got to be better. -Alex Tuch

James Neal was on the ice for all three Golden Knights goals, and Erik Haula and Tuch were out there for the second and third. They did not allow a goal while on the ice and the line as a whole put up by far the best advanced stat numbers of the game for Vegas.

I thought tonight they were more involved on the offense. They played really well and had a great two periods and fell off a little bit in the third. -Gerard Gallant

The Vegas 2nd line now has the advantage in every major statistical category on the line of Paul Stastny, Patrik Laine, and Nikolaj Ehlers including the most important one, goals scored. However, the Golden Knights’ 2nd line center still isn’t satisfied.

We look in the mirror every morning and we know when we need to be better. We need to be right up there with Karlsson’s line. -Erik Haula

Haula admitted his line played better, but he appears well aware how crucial they are to the outcome in the series. If the 2nd line gets on the board a couple more times in Game 4, the Golden Knights will probably be heading north of the border looking to claim the Campbell Bowl.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #111: A Western Conference Finals Lead

After winning two games in a row the Golden Knights have taken the lead in the Western Conference Finals and are just two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Potential lineup changes for Game 4.
  • The 2nd lines have been the difference to this point.
  • One mistake leads to VGK goals while it takes multiple for Winnipeg to score.
  • Do you want honesty from injured players?
  • A moment to talk about the great sponsors of this podcast and SinBin.vegas, William Hill Sports Books and Adam Kutner.

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

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Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets: Game 3 Western Conference Finals – Photo Gallery – May 16th, 2018

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Vegas’ Stars Save Third Period Literally And Figuratively

The aftermath of two of the best saves Marc-Andre Fleury made all season. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Unless you are compiling unbelievable saves by Marc-Andre Fleury, the 3rd period of Game 3 will not make any of the Golden Knights highlight reels. Instead, they’ll probably want to find the film and burn it, or at least the first 14 minutes of it.

:18 in the Jets got on the board cutting the lead from 3-2. Then, they spent the next 13:42 harassing Golden Knights defensemen, dominating the neutral zone, and peppering shot after shot after shot on Fleury’s goal.

There was a lot said… It was 3-2 and they kept on pushing us and pushing us and Fleury had to make some great saves. There was a lot of chatter on the bench saying, ‘Let’s get it going here again boys.’ The first two periods we played really good hockey and then it just seemed like we didn’t have any legs in the third period.  -Gerard Gallant

The Golden Knights looked slow and at times timid. They appeared unsure trying to break out of their own zone and were forced to ice the puck six different times in the 3rd period alone. The final stats in the 3rd were staggering. The Jets led 26-15 in shot attempts, 14-7 in shots on goal, and an insane 8-0 in high danger scoring chances according to NaturalStatTrick.com. The score, however, was 1-1, mostly because of Fleury, but also because of a shift that occurred with six minutes to go.

We were flat all period. Around the six minute mark we got a chance, the crowd started getting into it. We started getting our energy back and our legs back. -Brayden McNabb

That chance, which happened at exactly the six minute mark, was a shot off the post from William Karlsson. From that moment on the Golden Knights seemed to get the game back under control. Of course, trailing by a goal the Jets weren’t going to go away, but unlike the first 14 minutes, the Golden Knights had their skating speed back. They were winning to loose pucks, they were breaking out of the zone by passing rather than chipping the puck out, and most of all, they were creating chances in the Winnipeg zone to relieve the pressure.

We calmed down. There were a couple words said on the bench to just relax and breathe. We had that goal lead and there’s no reason to panic. -Shea Theodore

The Golden Knights have always been dubbed a team without a superstar, yet in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, when everything was going wrong, their superstar goalie made 15 saves in the 3rd period to hold a one goal lead, and their superstar center created a chance that turned the tide of the game.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 WINNIPEG JETS 2 (2-1 VGK)

The game was just :35 old when a turnover in the neutral zone caused by Brayden McNabb sprung Jonathan Marchessault. As he’s done all postseason long Marchessault put it past the goalie to make it 1-0. The Golden Knights did well to go to the intermission up one. The 2nd started with a lackluster Vegas power play and eventually led to the Jets taking control of the game a bit. They scored on a tip from Scheifele but just 12 seconds later a misplay behind the goal by Connor Hellebuyck set James Neal up to give the Golden Knights their lead right back. Then, another excellent shift by the Vegas 2nd line led to an Alex Tuch goal making it 3-1. The game got a bit chippy as the 2nd period wore on and ended with four players on the box for coincidental roughing minors. The Jets scored immediately to start the 3rd and then dominated play for the next 15 minutes. However, Marc-Andre Fleury made two unbelievable saves to keep the Golden Knights ahead and they eventually closed the game out with a Jonathan Marchessault.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 of Western Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • The Golden Knights 2nd line continues to be the key in the series.
  • These games have not been tied for long making it challenging to really see the difference in the teams.
  • Vegas was without question the fresh team the final three minutes.
  • Full photo gallery from SinBin.vegas photographer Brandon Andreasen

Three Stars
*** James Neal
** Jonathan Marchessault
* Marc-Andre Fleury

Golden Knights About To Play Biggest Game Of The Year, But You’d Never Know It

Tonight is Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights. It will be the first home game of the series for the Golden Knights and the first home game since they won Game 5 of the 2nd round against the Sharks on May 4th. The series is 1-1 and in tied series the winner of Game 3 going on to win about 70% of best of seven series.

Add it all up and you have no choice but to come to the conclusion that this is the biggest game in the history of the franchise and the biggest game for just about every single player on the roster. Yet, morning skate and the locker room after looked as if it was just another day at the office.

That’s the coolest thing about our group. Our guys just feel like it’s another game. We’re just having fun. We’re the same way at the rink, same way in the locker room, meetings are the same. (We) keep the pressure on the outside of the room, that’s kind of the way we’ve been handling things all year. Guys are still giving each other crap before games, it’s the same banter as usual, and it’s helping our guys calm down before games. -Nate Schmidt

If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you if this was Game 47 against Columbus or a pivotal Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

This isn’t normal.

We had a lot more pressure on our team (in Washington) to win, so yeah it’s a different feeling for sure. -Schmidt

I feel differently about this group. We’re such a tight-knit group. It’s just fun to come to the rink and battle with these guys. -Shea Theodore

It’s important to stay the course no matter what, that’s how we got here. -David Perron

Smile, laugh, joke, who cares? It’s not like Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals is in your home building tonight. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Those are three players who were in the 2nd Round or further last season and they all agree this team is different.

They are different because everything remains the same. The same guys stepped on the ice first to start morning skate. They maintained the same tradition of putting the players with the closest connection to the night’s opponent in the center of the stretching circle (Reaves and Eakin got the nod tonight both being from Winnipeg). They ran the same drills. They stayed on the ice for the same amount of time as they always do, and then they went to the locker room and it had the exact same feel it’s had every single game throughout this inaugural season.

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Golden Knights Took Crowd Out By Taking Away Winnipeg’s Ability To Get To Dangerous Areas

Nate Schmidt played the game of his life and his stick was a big reason this story was able to be written. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Game 2 started out frantic. Back and forth action forced goalies in both nets to be at their best to keep the game tied. The Winnipeg crowd was buzzing and the Golden Knights appeared destined to be headed for the same fate as Game 1 if any puck slipped past Fleury.

Luckily, unlike in Game 1 when the second shot he saw beat him from 40+ feet out, Fleury was able to turn away every early chance, including one that snuck under him and was cleared off the line by Nate Schmidt. The game was playing into the hands of the home team, again. Even though the Golden Knights were getting chances, the building was ready to explode and the game was ready to snowball like it did Saturday night.

We didn’t feel like it started poorly at all. We liked our start. -Paul Maurice, Jets head coach

Then, the tide turned a bit. The Golden Knights spoke about getting through the first 10 minutes. They did, but it wasn’t exactly pretty. However, once it got there, things changed and remained the new way for the next 30 minutes. 30 minutes that not only won Game 2, but got the series under control for the Golden Knights, and now have the Jets on their heels heading to T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday.

The Golden Knights first goal came 13:23 into the 1st. That goal shut the crowd down, but the rest of the 1st and the entire 2nd refused to let them, or the Jets, back in it.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 WINNIPEG JETS 1 (1-1)

The Golden Knights didn’t get off to the best start but Marc-Andre Fleury was tremendous to start the game. Connor Hellebuyck had a good start stifling a few chances for Vegas as well. Then, Tomas Tatar missed a wide open net but quickly recovered the rebound and put it in the net to give the Golden Knights the lead. Quickly after the Golden Knights struck again with a breakaway goal from Jonathan Marchessault. Instantly off the draw of the second goal, Erik Haula hit the post which could have made it 3-0. The Jets scored on a power play but less than 90 seconds later a tremendous shift by the first line regained the two goal lead. Vegas bled the clock out well and got to the finish line to even the series.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets in Game 2 of Western Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Center.

  • From 10 minutes into the first to the last 2 seconds of the 2nd the Golden Knights proved how you can take a crowd out of a game.
  • Golden Knights tweaked their PK and it made a huge difference (even despite the somewhat soft goal Fleury allowed).
  • Is the ice in Winnipeg slow?
  • Winnipeg was in Fleury’s kitchen all night but as it didn’t it the 2nd Round, it didn’t matter in Game 2.

Three Stars
*** Kyler Connor
** Marc-Andre Fleury
* Jonathan Marchessault

Golden Knights 2nd Line Needed To Win Game 2

Must be more of this in Game 2. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

0 goals. -3 rating. 18:00+ minutes on ice.

That was the output of the Golden Knights 2nd line of Erik Haula, David Perron, and James Neal in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

To make it even worse, between the three of them they did not record a single shot on goal.

That is not good enough.

Vegas’ 2nd line spent a majority of their time on the ice against the Winnipeg 2nd line of Patrik Laine, Paul Stastny, and Nikolaj Ehlers as well as their 2nd defensive pairing of Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom.

This matchup will continue to be one of the keys to the series. Not only because the Golden Knights need scoring out of that line but because they must avoid allowing those Jets to score. In Game 1, it was 1-0 Jets when those eight players were on the ice, but the shot attempts, shots on goal, and scoring chances were heavily in favor of the Jets as well.

The Jets 2nd line shut down the Predators 2nd line and it’s a big reason why the Jets are here, while the Golden Knights 2nd line had success against the Sharks. Vegas is best when they are rolling multiple offensive lines, if their 2nd best scoring line disappears, their chances to win this series dimish drastically.

David Perron did not skate this morning while Tomas Tatar skated in his place both in line rushes and on the power play. Whether it’s Perron or Tatar, the Golden Knights need more from the 2nd line. Otherwise, they’re going to be staring at a 2-0 deficit when they board the plane to come back to Las Vegas.

What If I Told You The First 8 Minutes Of Game 1 Weren’t As Bad As You Think They Were?

After 7:25 of hockey had been played in Winnipeg, the Golden Knights had already lost Game 1. The score was 3-0, the crowd was buzzing, and the announcers were fawning over the Jets as if they were the 1977 Montreal Canadiens.

In the moment, it felt like the Golden Knights were being run out of the building by a far superior team. Winnipeg was quicker, stronger, faster, and crisper, while Vegas was stuck in the mud, panicky, and making countless poor decisions. That is what it felt like, yet that’s not what was actually happening on the ice.

If you scroll all the way down to the end of this article, you’ll see that  I went through the first eight minutes of the game and wrote a transcript of exactly what happened in the game. If you feel like reading it and re-living it, feel free, but the real reason I’m publishing it isn’t for anyone to read it, it’s to prove two things. First, that I actually went and re-watched it on super slow motion, slow enough to be able to write a 1700 word recap of the events, and secondly so that anyone who disagrees with this article can roll back the game-tape themselves and point out the moments in which our opinions of what happened differ.

The puck drops to begin the game and nothing happens for :17. Remember, it only took 1:05 for the Jets to take the lead. Then, the first real event of the game occurs and it’s a terrific play by Nate Schmidt. He singlehandedly breaks up a 4-on-3 rush of the Jets and starts a 3-on-2 the other way for Vegas. This is the kind of play we’ve seen all year from the Golden Knights and a play that usually ends in better fashion than this one did.

Marchessault gives the puck away on a somewhat careless turnover ending the Golden Knights rush. However, this is not what led to the Jets goal. Instead, it was a miscommunication by Shea Theodore and Deryk Engelland, combined with a shot that should have been saved by Fleury. In other words, a good play led to three bad ones and a goal against.

Ok, so it’s 1-0 Winnipeg after a sequence of errors that’s incredibly rare for the Golden Knights. It’s bad, but it didn’t have to do with speed, quickness, or physicality, and it started because on an odd-man rush in Vegas’ favor that an unforced error ended. Aside from the well-placed shot from Byfuglien, this was not a Jets goal as much as it was a trio of subsequent Vegas mistakes.

If Schmidt scores on his identical chance, we’re talking about a much different story of the first eight minutes. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Next there’s a stretch of 4:39 of hockey in which Vegas has clear possession of the puck for 2:49 (61%) of that time. The Golden Knights created a scoring chance nearly identical to the Byfuglien goal, but Nate Schmidt’s shot was saved by Connor Hellebuyck. Shea Theodore had a good chance with traffic in front and Deryk Engelland had a clear lane but waited a bit too long and had his shot blocked. In the same 4:39, Winnipeg had one dangerous chance which came off an unfortunate hop off Engelland’s skate, and another shot from the point that should have been blocked by Theodore. It was saved by Fleury.

That’s when the penalty is called on Alex Tuch. It’s a tough call because Tuch hooks the Jets player due to the fact that his route to the puck was interfered with. It’s either a no-call or a penalty on both, the fact that it goes only on Vegas is a rough break.

Now the Golden Knights have to kill a penalty. For over a minute they put on a penalty killing clinic. During that clinic they forced an easy shot that Fleury opted not to cover so McNabb could clear it out. McNabb was less than an inch away from succeeding in doing so, but instead, it’s kept in, Bellemare is stuck on the ice, and another miscommunication leads to the Patrik Laine goal.

It’s now 2-0, 6:49 into the game and there’s certainly not a domination going on.

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