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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Ken Boehlke Page 3 of 184

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 ST. LOUIS BLUES 4 (24-15-6 54 PTS) – OT

Recap: The Blues did all the scoring in the 1st period. St. Louis had 11 shots on net and three of them got by Marc-Andre Fleury. Old friend David Perron assisted two of the Blues goals. After one period the Golden Knights trailed 3-0.

Vegas would chip away and finally get on the scoreboard late in the 2nd period. Paul Stastny got Vegas within one, scoring against his old team. After 40 minutes played the Golden Knights were down 3-2.

Nicolas Roy would get the all important tying goal 3 minutes into the final period. Reilly Smith gave Vegas their first lead of the game, climbing all the way back from a three goal deficit. Perron would tie the game 4-4 and force an overtime period. Chandler Stephenson would score in OT and clinch the game for Vegas

Vegas’ record to 24-15-6 and remain in first place in the Pacific Division. The Golden Knights will next hit the ice on Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game will begin at 7P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A miserable 1st period put the Golden Knights in a hole they’ve never climbed out of in franchise history. The 2nd period wasn’t going much better but a few key saves from Fleury kept the Golden Knights at least within striking distance. Then, the switch was flipped and every puck battle started going Vegas’ way. They won the ones in front of the crease to create goals, they won the ones in the neutral zone to help entries, and they were much better exiting the zone. They simply turned the game on its head scoring four straight and storming all the way back to take the lead. St. Louis’ power play goal would tie it and Vegas couldn’t get the job done late with a power play, but found a way with a player they’ve never used before in 3-on-3. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs St. Louis Blues at T-Mobile Arena

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on a future Golden Knight.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nic Holden
** William Carrier
* Ryan Reaves

McNabb’s Penalty Kills Saves The Day

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s not often that a player without a goal or an assist is named to the three stars of the game in a 5-4 contest. But that’s exactly what Brayden McNabb did on Thursday when he was named 3rd star in the win over Philadelphia.

McNabb posted a -2 rating, took just one shot, and was only on the ice for one of the Golden Knights five goals vs. the Flyers, yet there he was named among the three best players of the game for both teams.

McNabb earned his spot with his work in the dying seconds of the game. With the Golden Knights clinging to a 5-4 lead, a pair of penalties forced Vegas to have to kill off a 43 second 6-on-3 followed by a 45 second 6-on-4 in order to win the game.

It’s at the end of the game too and we’re up a goal it’s just a huge moment in a hockey game. -Brayden McNabb

McNabb made not one, but two massive plays in the first 20 seconds of the 6-on-3.

First, after a shot deflected perfectly to Shayne Gostisbehere, McNabb sprawled out to block a shot that very likely would have found its way past Marc-Andre Fleury.

In that situation it’s part of my role and any time you have a chance to get in front of a puck you do it, and you want to do it because Flower bails us out all the time so you want to make sure you can help him out as much as possible. -McNabb

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Setting The Price On Blue Line Trade Chips

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’re still nearly two months from the trade deadline but the ball started rolling yesterday before games got underway for the day.

A pair of trades (which was pretty much a three-way trade) sent defenseman Marco Scandella to the Montreal Canadiens.

Scandella is a 29-year-old left-handed defenseman who has eclipsed the 20 point mark each of the last six seasons. He’s been more of an offensive-minded defenseman over the course of his career but his offensive numbers are down a bit this year with just nine points in 31 games and averaging only about a shot per game while his defensive game has shined posting 1.7 defensive point shares this season.

Scandella is set to become an unrestricted free agent and carries a cap hit of $4 million. The price on the trade market for Scandella was a 4th round pick without any salary being held by the Sabres.

It’s still early, so trade prices will certainly fluctuate a bit as teams fall in and out of contention and the deadline approaches, but a 4th round pick for a mid-range rental gives us a starting point for what it might cost when the Golden Knights are ready to dip their toes into the blue line trade market.

Erik Gustafsson (Chicago)

Gustafsson posted a 60 point season last year while averaging nearly 23 minutes of ice time per night. Also set to become an unrestricted free agent, Gustafsson is currently making just $1.2 million against the cap. He has some defensive shortcomings, but offensively Gustafsson is exactly what the Golden Knights are looking for. He’s a puck-moving blueliner who sees a majority of his starts in the offensive zone and plays on a top power-play unit. Gustafsson is what Scandella was a few years ago with more potential upside and a cheaper cap hit. Projected Price: 2nd Round pick and a prospect

Mike Green (Detroit)

A George McPhee draft pick in 2004, Green used to be one of the NHL’s best offensive-minded defensemen. Father time has caught up to him quite a bit seeing his production dip drastically, but he’s still been around a half-point per game player each of the last four years. This year the numbers are completely in the tank, with Green posting just seven points in 31 games and a 0.2 point share count. Also a pending UFA, Green’s cap hit is enormous at $5.375 million. Projected Price: 6th round pick

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 4 (23-15-6 52 PTS)

Recap: The Flyers got the game’s first goal but the scoring was just beginning to heat up. The Golden Knights would get four first period goals. Shea Theodore, Max Pacioretty and Jon Merrill gave Vegas a two goal lead. Pacioretty scored twice, and Merrill scored his first goal as a forward. The Golden Knights held the 4-2 lead after one period.

Cody Glass picked up his 5th goal of the season midway through the 2nd period. Philadelphia got back within two with a second period goal of their own. After 40 minutes Vegas held a 5-3 edge.

Philadelphia would score :15 seconds into the 3rd period threatening Vegas’ lead. Vegas killed off the clock and won the contest 5-4.

Vegas’ record improves to 22-15-6 with a total of 52 points. The team will next hit the ice Saturday afternoon against the reigning Stanley Cup champions St. Louis Blues. Game is scheduled for 1PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A wild game from start to finish began with a bit of sloppiness in the Golden Knights zone. They didn’t really clean it up much in the 1st but were able to spring forward for 4 goals to basically offset any defensive shortcomings. As the game progressed the Golden Knights got better and better in their own end and continued to create chances offensively. A couple tough penalties put them in a tough spot but they were able to overcome it, especially the wild 6-on-3 chance at the end of the game. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Philadelphia Flyers at T-Mobile Arena

  • The 1st defenseman trade domino has fallen. Examining the price that’s been set.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Paul Stastny
** Max Pacioretty
* Jon Merrill

Leading Division On New Year’s Day Bodes Well For Future

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the 2nd time in three seasons when the fireworks went up over the Strip, the team that calls Las Vegas home was sitting in 1st place as the calendar flipped to the new year.

January 1st essentially marks the halfway point of the NHL season, give or take a few days, and while plenty of hockey is still to be played the standings when the year changes are significant in predicting the future.

Since the lockout killed the 2004-05 season, there have been 66 teams that have led their division on January 1st (four divisions from 2012-13 to 2018-19, six divisions from 2005-06 to 2011-12).

Of the 66 who led the division on New Year’s Day, 61 made the playoffs, including all 12 since Vegas has been a franchise.

Just 7.6% of teams with a hold of the division title on New Year’s Day have failed to reach the postseason and only one team (4.2%) has done it since the league went to the four division format it currently uses now (2015-16 Montreal).

39 of the 66 division leaders on January 1st went on to win their respective divisions for a nearly 60% success rate. Since 2017-18, eight of the 12 New Year’s division leaders (66.7%) raised a division champion banner that season, including the 2017- 18 Golden Knights.

31 of the 66 teams went on to win at least one round and 21 of the 66 went on to reach the conference finals.

In the 13 years since the lockout, there have been eight teams to win the Stanley Cup that held their respective division’s number one spot on New Year’s Day. That means 61.5% of Stanley Cup Champions since 2006 led their division on January 1st.

All in all, leading the division on New Year’s Day is significant. It means you have a 92% chance of making the playoffs, a 59% chance of winning the division, a 47% chance of winning a round, a 32% chance of reaching the conference finals, and a 12% chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

As I say every time I walk up to a craps table, “I like these odds.”


2018-19

Tampa Bay – Won Division, 1st Round
Washington – Won Division, 1st Round
Winnipeg – 2nd Place, 1st Round
Calgary – Won Division, 1st Round

2017-18

Tampa Bay – Won Division, ECF
Washington – Won Division, Cup
Winnipeg – 2nd Place, WCF
Vegas – Won Division – SCF

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 ANAHEIM DUCKS 2 (22-15-6 50 PTS)

Recap: It was New Years Eve on the Strip so the Vegas Golden Knights hosted the Anaheim Ducks for an afternoon faceoff. The Ducks got on the board first, but their lead wouldn’t last long. Mark Stone tied the game 1-1 with his third goal in his last two games. Alex Tuch jammed one through with :20 seconds left in the 1st period to give his team the 2-1 lead.

Reilly Smith scores the only 2nd period goal, taking advantage of another Ducks mistake. Smith registered his 15th goal of the season, stretching Vegas’ lead to 3-1.

Jonathan Marchessault extended the lead to 4-1 with his first penalty shot of the season. The Ducks would get one back to get within two but Vegas would come away with a 5-2 victory.

Vegas’ record improves to 22-15-6 winning their last game of 2019. They’ll next take the ice on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Game is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A dominant 1st period looked like it was headed for a frustrating deficit but a couple fortunate plays helped get Vegas the lead they deserved. From there they controlled the game completely and were never really in any danger of losing it. An easy win that continues to remind us of how good this team can be when they are playing well. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena

  • 1st place on New Year’s Day, what does it mean in terms of winning the division, the playoffs, and the Cup?

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Mark Stone
* Jonathan Marchessault

 

Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes Photo Gallery – December 28th, 2019

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 ARIZONA COYOTES 1 (21-15-6 48 PTS)

Recap: It was a quick turnaround for Vegas as they returned home for a matchup against Arizona. The Golden Knights shook off their rust from the night before and came out strong. Mark Stone opened the game with his 14th goal of the season giving Vegas the 1-0 lead. After the Coyotes tied the game, Stone took it into his own hands and regained the lead for his team.

Chandler Stephenson scored :12 seconds into the 2nd period giving Vegas a quick 3-1 edge. Paul Stastny added another goal to extend the lead 4-1.

The 3rd period played out well for Vegas, only allowing four shots on net. Vegas held onto their three goal lead and won the game 4-1.

Vegas’ record improves to 21-15-6 and now hold sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. They’ll next hit the ice on New Year’s Eve day against the Anaheim Ducks. Game time is scheduled for Noon. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It took a massive effort from the penalty kill, killing off four minutes early, but after they got that out of the way the Golden Knights took over the game. An impressive effort snuffed out a Coyote team that looked up to the task. Vegas got solid contributions up and down the lineup and Fleury returned to his normal self. There would have been some consequences had they dropped this game, but instead they are now in sole possession of 1st place in the Pacific Divison. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on the man of the decade
  • Photo gallery from the game

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Max Pacioretty
* Mark Stone

 

Attempting To Explain Paul Stastny’s Down Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Halfway through the season, Paul Stastny is on pace to have the worst statistical year of his career. The 34-year-old center is a career 0.77 points per game player meaning he should be pushing 60 points per season if he plays all 82 games. Instead, this year he has just 15 points in 41 games and is staring at a career-low 0.37 points per game season, less than half his career average.

However, the eye test to me doesn’t really match the drop in production. Watching Stastny carefully (which I went back and did during the holiday break) he still looks like the exact same player. His vision is still there, he’s still an excellent passer, he’s defensively responsible, and he’s still dangerous in front of the goal on the power play. He’s never been a high-end skater, so while he may not look like the fastest guy on the ice, he certainly doesn’t look any slower than he did last year, or even while in Winnipeg or St. Louis.

So, I went to the numbers, which confused me even more. The first numbers you look at on the page of any hockey player are goals, assists, and points. For Stasnty, the goals are right where they should be midway through the season. He has nine, on pace for 18 which would be in line with his last five years or so. But then there’s the assists, six. That’s not right. He should be a 40-50 assist guy and he’s on pace for 12.

How can a player be 15-20 assists off where he should be 41 games into the season? The easiest argument is age has led to a slip in production, but I’m not ready to make that case because I simply can’t see it anywhere but in one column on the stat sheet. Instead, I tried to find other underlying causes, which I did, and for the most part, they aren’t controllable by Stastny. So, I’m here to make the argument today that Paul Stastny’s down season is not his fault.

Here, let me show my work.

First off, Stastny’s time on ice is at an all-time low this year. Having “fallen” into a 3rd line role with the Golden Knights attempt at a balanced lineup (I’d argue they’ve put him there to help the team cause not as a demotion to the player), Stastny is playing 16:44 per game. Over the course of his career, he’s never played less than 17:38 and in only six of his 13 completed seasons has he been under 19 minutes per game. Three minutes less per game is a 16% decrease in time on ice. Thus, if he would be expected to get 0.77 points per game, or 63 points a season, his lessened TOI alone lowers that to 0.65 points per game or 53 per season. POINT DIFFERENCE: 10 points or 0.12 PPG

The next biggest detriment to his production this season has been shooting percentage. The Golden Knights are shooting just 7.6% with Stastny on the ice. The Golden Knights as a team are shooting 8.8% and they shot 8.7% last season. Shooting percentage tends to find its way back to the norm over time, thus it can be expected that Vegas will shoot at least 1.2% better in the next 41 games with Stastny on the ice (they’d actually have to shoot around 2.4% better to get him back to the norm, but we’ll ignore that for now). The Golden Knights have attempted 424 shots with Stastny on the ice, scoring on 32 of them. If the shooting percentage was just that 1.2% higher, they would have scored five more goals. So, now we need a calculation as to how many points Stastny would have if he were on the ice for five more goals. To solve that issue we’ll go by Stastny’s career with the Golden Knights. He’s put up 57 points in the two seasons with 45 of them coming at even strength. The Golden Knights have scored 66 even-strength goals with Stastny on the ice. Thus, he factors in on 68.2% of even strength goals while on the ice. 68.2% of five goals is 3.41 points for Stastny. Multiply it by two for the goals he’s already missed and the points he may get the rest of the year and we’re looking at a seven point difference. POINT DIFFERENCE: 7 points or 0.85 PPG

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ANAHEIM DUCKS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (20-15-6 46 PTS)

Recap: Fresh off the Christmas break, the Golden Knights got back to business in Anaheim for the first game of a back-to-back. The 1st period was a slow, flat period for both teams. Not much action either way, as the players tried to shake off some holiday rust. With only 12 combined shots on net, the 1st period ended in a scoreless tie.

Jonathan Marchessault gave Vegas the first lead of the game on a nasty shot up high passed John Gibson. The game would quickly change as the Golden Knights committed multiple penalties resulting in three Anaheim power play goals. After 40 minutes, Vegas trailed 3-1.

Vegas began the period on the power play, and would pick up a second man-advantage early in the 3rd period. The Golden Knights couldn’t muster up enough quality shots to get one through. Anaheim gave themselves a three goal lead midway through the period, taking a 4-1 lead. Nate Schmidt added two late game goals scoring his third and fourth of the season but it would be too late. The Ducks held on to defeat Vegas 4-3.

Vegas’ record drops to 20-15-6 losing their first of a back-to-back. The Arizona Coyotes and Golden Knights will faceoff tomorrow night in a battle for the Pacific lead. Game time is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A sloppy first period didn’t cost the Golden Knights where it could have, but an extended penalty did. They looked like a team that had three days off and traveled in the day of the game, and they couldn’t look like that. Missed opportunities, poor passing, too many guys not playing up to their ability, and no favors from the officiating. It was a bad mix that ends up costing the Golden Knights a game they really should not have lost. Tough loss that makes the next one a bit more important. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center

  • An attempt to explain Paul Stastny’s down season

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** William Karlsson
** Jonathan Marchessault
* Nate Schmidt

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