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Category: Game Analysis (Page 1 of 5)

“They Are Just Absolutely A Dog And A Bone On That Puck”

The House Always Wins. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If one game could sum up the Golden Knights season, last night was it. Considered the ultimate redemption game for Vegas, they beat the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs, and did it with a goal from a guy who has been a healthy scratch in each of the last five games and 12 of the past 13. Not only did the team win for their star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury but they continue to handle the NHL’s best. After the 2–1 Golden Knights win, Fleury’s old mates commented on an emotional night.

When you see him in there it’s a little different, but once you get into play, you’re playing. Yeah, it’s the first time we played against each other, it’s to be expected to feel different. -Sidney Crosby, Penguins Captain

Maybe that’s a reason why #87 didn’t have one shot on goal. Alright, that’s a stretch but it was a difficult night for the two-time Conn Smythe winner.

I think they skate well. Every line plays the same and they keep it pretty simple. They didn’t beat themselves or make mistakes that could hurt them. When they did they didn’t break down and got some saves. Both goalies were good, but it’s just one of those games. Then they found a way to get that last one in the third. -Crosby

The win didn’t seem to upset Crosby nearly as much as it did Mike Sullivan.

It was a hard-fought game. It was another one of those games that could’ve went either way. There were chances on both sides and I thought the goaltending at both ends of the rink was good. It seems like those are the type of games that we’re in night in and night out and we haven’t found ways to win those, and that’s what we have to do. -Mike Sullivan, Penguins Head Coach

As Sullivan mentioned, the goaltending was good on both ends of the rink. For sixty minutes, Fleury was the better goaltender. His new teammates aggressively pressured his former backup Matt Murray.

They are just absolutely a dog and a bone on that puck. They just work so hard, and I think that’s where they know it caught us by surprise on a couple. Especially on the forecheck where like I said, caught by surprise, quick turn over, bang bang to the net. That’s what they are good at we knew that going into it, but they are definitely a hard working team and a fast team. Good in transition. You know, I don’t think they do anything special but they work extremely hard and I think that’s why they have such success. -Matt Murray, Penguins Goaltender

Quick, hard-working, strong on the forecheck, and good in transition. Basically, the Webster’s dictionary definition of an NHL playoff team.

There was also something about a dog and a bone, but we’ll leave that one alone for now.

Hurricanes Came Out Firing At Fleury

Well he had been out for awhile, you know almost for two months. I don’t know if we got to the him as much with bodies in front, but we got some pucks to the net.- Bill Peters, Carolina Head Coach

Stop shooting I’m me, I’m just used to getting back in there. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Overall, the early strategy didn’t affect the outcome but it was clear Carolina tested Marc-Andre Fleury right away. The Hurricanes won the opening faceoff, and took their first shot :20 seconds into the game. Fleury faced five Carolina shots before the Golden Knights took their first. When Brayden McNabb’s errant pass deflected off Marcus Kruger for a goal, the Hurricanes were outshooting Vegas 9 to 4. Kruger’s goal was mere luck, but the early strategy resulted positively for Carolina.

Put aside the first period gift-wrapped goal, and Fleury didn’t mind the early action.

The first shot I slipped, I missed my post… not a pretty first one. A few in the chest, two in the pants, it was nice to feel the puck and make a couple of saves. – Marc-Andre Fleury

On the other side of the ice, Carolina goalie Cam Ward secured his 300th career victory. A proud Ward broke down the Golden Knights two goals he allowed.

Someone flew through my eyes and I didn’t see it. All I could hear is the ping off the crossbar. I’m trying to think of the second goal now, oh the breakaway. A tremendous release by Reilly. He’s kinda gifted with that. -Cam Ward, Carolina Goaltender

The happy-go-lucky ‘tender continued to praise the Golden Knights.

They really push the pace. They put pressure on your D-men with their speed. They’re an exciting team, they feed off the atmosphere at home. It’s no secret that they were 11-2 at home. They have good things going here and I’m not surprised. -Cam Ward, Carolina Goaltender

I guess you could say it was a game of goaltending storylines. Fleury and Ward played well but faced different offensive approaches. Partly because Vegas made things easier on the Canes goalie. Remember, 35 SOG is the magic number? The Golden Knights got just 24 shots on Ward. Not good enough.

What Exactly Happened When Perron, Marchessault, And van Riemsdyk Were In The Box

Don’t yell at these guys. They got it right. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Early in the 3rd period of tonight’s game David Perron and Trevor van Riemsdyk got in a little scuffle in the Golden Knights attacking zone. It then spilled over into the neutral zone where the play was eventually stopped and penalties were dolled out. Here’s exactly what went down, and why the penalties were served as they were.

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Second Time Through Telling Story Of Golden Knights Sustainability

One third of the season is gone and the first 27 games couldn’t have gone too much better for the Golden Knights. However, over the course of those games, Vegas has only seen five teams multiple times. In the next 27, they play former opponents for a second or third time 17 times.

So you don’t buy that there’s no book on your team? -SinBin.vegas

Not a chance. No. When people talk about our team they know that we are a team that’s quick and we compete. -Gallant

Why can’t they all be like the Coyotes? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Arizona Coyotes
Win 2-1 (OT)
Win 5-2
Win 4-2
Win 3-2 (OT)

Anaheim Ducks
Win 4-2
Win 4-3 (SO)

Boston Bruins
Win 3-1
Loss 2-1

Dallas Stars
Win 2-1
Loss 3-0

Winnipeg Jets
Win 5-2
Loss 7-4

Last night’s game was a big one in showing how opposing teams would respond to their second crack at the Golden Knights. It was hard to take much out of the Arizona games because, well, Arizona tends to lose most games no matter how they are played.

However, with Dallas and Winnipeg, the second games were played similarly to the first. With Dallas, Vegas had a tough time getting out in transition, they didn’t get a lot of shot attempts, and the Stars controlled the game. In the first game, the Golden Knights were able to overcome it. In the second game, they were not. Against Winnipeg, Vegas played their style of north-and-south hockey which gave them a jump on the Jets and they were able to ride the hot start to the finish line. The second time against Winnipeg, the 1st period went that way, and there were moments throughout the 2nd and 3rd, but when all was said and done, the Jets came out on top.

Then there’s Boston. The two games were nearly identical with the home team winning each one. They are by no means the style of game Vegas wants to play, but the two games are further proof that the second time through, the games tend to go the same as the first.

The first game in Anaheim was one of the Golden Knights’ best. They were flying around in all three zones, created tons of scoring chances, and were even able to overcome an incredibly hot goalie and a deficit to fight back and get the win they deserved. Last night, it appeared to be going the same way in the 1st, but it came to a screeching halt out of intermission.

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Golden Knights Players Explain Why They Are Dominant In Overtime

The 3-on-3 Golden Knights struck again on Sunday night winning their fifth game in overtime game of the season. They are undefeated in the 3-on-3 portion of overtime (lost in shootout to Toronto) and have an impressive 4-0 record in the extra frame at T-Mobile Arena.

It’s easier when there’s fewer of us. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Back when the Golden Knights were just 2-0 in OT, we pointed out individual defensive efforts, line changes, and pure scoring skill as the reasons why the Golden Knights were having success in overtime. Well, now that they’ve pushed the number to five out of five, we need to add a few more aspects of the game that are leading to this OT domination.

To do that, I asked just about every player and coach I could find the exact same question, “what are you guys doing in overtime that other teams are not?”

I think it’s puck possession. We are a really high puck possession team, guys like James Neal, Marchessault, guys like that who like to hold on to the puck, and we are also really good off the rush. We do 2-on-1’s a lot in practice so I guess that’s helpful. –Alex Tuch

We just play well defensively and limit their chances, and we get a chance we’ve got to move, and we do that we are successful. We have good offensive power and if we just take care of being above them, we’ll get rewarded. –Jonathan Marchessault

Usually, I don’t think we trade as many chances as we did tonight (vs. ARI). We try not to do that, but it seems like we are finding different ways to win every time in overtime. –Reilly Smith

I think we are smart. Things like that little play off the boards by Marchessault, he’s made plays like that that create odd-man rushes, same with Smith, Perry (Perron), and all those skill guys, we have forwards that do it all. We’re playing tight and trying to control the play, and honestly, I can’t say enough about the fans here. They give us so much energy and so much adrenaline that gives us an advantage over the other team. –Malcolm Subban

We got some good, skilled players and they’re quick players. I think when there’s open ice, we’re a pretty good team. It’s early, but so far we’ve been really good at it. -Gerard Gallant

Here’s are the skills/reasons we took out of all of that.

  • Puck possession
  • Scoring and defending 2-on-1’s
  • Skilled possession-minded forwards
  • Quick players that find open ice
  • Not trading chances
  • Home crowd

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Who Plays When On Special Teams?

The Golden Knights power play king. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights continue to be one of the most disciplined teams in the NHL. Vegas is one of the least penalized teams allowing 7.5 penalty minutes per game (PIM). Players have committed the fourth least PIMs in the league, and opponents have only 82 Power Play opportunities against (PPOA) the Golden Knights. For comparison sake, Nashville has allowed 114 PPOA.

When it comes to shorthanded (SH) situations, Gerard Gallant relies heavily on six players. Four out of the top five penalty killers are defensemen. Deryk Engelland clearly leads the group with 71:15 total SHTOI. Forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Reilly Smith, Cody Eakin and William Karlsson are also called upon to kill penalties for Gallant.

PlayerTotal SH TOIAVG SH TOI
Deryk Engelland71:152:51
Luca Sbisa59:133:07
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare57:382:13
Brayden McNabb55:582:26
Nate Schmidt54:102:05
Reilly Smith52:522:02
Cody Eakin47:401:50
William Karlsson47:141:49
Tomas Nosek26:001:05
Oscar Lindberg25:001:00
Colin Miller13:260:31
Erik Haula9:100:25
Shea Theodore6:000:30

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Golden Knights Are Fast; Not With Their Skates, But With Their Minds

Following their second game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the head coach of the Dallas Stars said this…

They’re the fastest team we’ve played all year, quickness on pucks, quickness on attack, so it’s a hard game for a goalie. -Ken Hitchcock, Dallas Stars Head Coach

When he says fast, we normally equate that to skating speed. Connor McDavid is fast. Patrik Laine, Nathan MacKinnon, and Nikita Kucherov are all fast. David Perron, James Neal, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Erik Haula, and William Karlsson, are they really the top six forwards for the fastest team in hockey?

I don’t know if we are that fast to be honest with you… are we? Outside of maybe Tuch and Haula I can’t think of many guys that are extremely faster than everybody else. I just think we play well or each other and we do the right thing. You look faster when you execute plays when you are playing well together. For me when I’m executing all my plays I look faster than I really am. –David Perron

What they actually are is quick.

I think our game is a quick game. I think we’re a quick team, we’re a fast team. I think we are a little bit quicker than we are fast though. -Gerard Gallant

It’s about playing fast rather than actually being fast. When the Golden Knights are rolling, they make instant decisions and then string them together. The puck moves quickly and they are able to get from their own zone into the attacking zone in a short period of time. It gives the allusion of speed, but it’s really smart decision making, spacing, and precision.

Here are a couple examples of just that.

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Jets, Hellebuyck Have Redemption On The Mind

We like when other goalies suck against the Golden Knights. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night the Golden Knights lost a frustrating game in Minnesota. Tonight, they face a Winnipeg team that scored seven unanswered goals against the Wild on Monday night. Since leaving the T-Mobile Arena empty-handed, the Jets rebounded by winning seven out of their next ten games. After being yanked against Vegas, goalie Connor Hellebuyck is on a roll winning five out of his last eight starts. Oh, and he’s been looking forward to his start tonight against the Golden Knights.

Because Hellebuyck got pulled against Vegas, I really expect him to get a chance…. it’s not a redemption game necessarily but I think Connor Hellebyuck is saying to Paul Maurice I want another crack at those guys. -Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun on TSN 1290

The Sun scribe goes on to say Hellebuyck was disappointed by the way he performed in Las Vegas.

I always call them redemption games no matter what, if you lose you get right back on the horse and try again. You have that extra motivation and extra energy.”-Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Goaltender on 11/10 following loss to VGK

Hellebuyck’s next start was a 4-1 victory at home against Arizona. He allowed one goal on 34 shots, and was very happy with his bounce back effort. Four days later, the Jets goaltender still had the Golden Knights game on his mind.

This was definitely my redemption game. Any time you get pulled you have to enter strong, and I’m glad the guys played well in front of me. -Hellebuyck on 11/14

Can we all agree the Jets goaltender has been obsessing over tonight’s game since November 10th? In Winnipeg, the Jets are 8-2-1, and Hellebuyck is undefeated in regulation (8-0-1). It’s a tough matchup regardless for the Golden Knights, but the redemption talk could be real. However, Vegas has only lost three games in a row once this season, so it’s possible they’re looking at tonight as redemption game themselves. Either way, someone will feel redeemed.

Stars Take It To Golden Knights, Again

Maybe this is getting old? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was bound to happen at some point. The Golden Knights have been playing historically great hockey at home, there was no way it was going to continue forever. Maybe it doesn’t need much analyzing. It could be possible the Stars were more prepared for the Golden Knights after losing to them on opening night. They were a hungry team in need of a road victory.

Vegas is a hell of a hockey club. They’re the fastest team we’ve played all year, quickness on pucks, quickness on attack, so it’s a hard game for a goalie. Vegas comes at you with numbers and puck possession… That’s the challenge when you play against Vegas you are going to give up chances off the rush and you just have to negate them. -Ken Hitchcock, Dallas Head Coach

Opponents have consistently talked about the Golden Knights team speed. Hitchcock went ahead and called them the fastest squad Dallas faced all season. The Stars apparently learned after the first matchup how to defend against the Golden Knights speed. Add in their elite offensive skill, superb goaltending and it’s no surprise Dallas won 3-0.

I think Dallas came in with an attitude that Vegas is playing good hockey here and we’re going to come in here and work real hard. I thought their team played an excellent game.. We just couldn’t create any scoring chances. I think a lot of that had to do with how Dallas played. -Gerard Gallant

It’s reasonable to think teams previously burned by the Golden Knights will come in with an attitude. The Stars planned on defending speed and possession, specifically by muddying up the game early and then making exiting the defensive zone and going through the neutral zone difficult for the Golden Knights. It’s no secret the way to beat a fast team is to slow them down and keep them off the puck, most teams just haven’t been able to do it.

Jamie Benn was one of two NHL Captains (Henrik Zetterberg) to leave Las Vegas in a good mood. He smiled when I asked about the atmosphere in the T-Mobile Arena.

It was awesome. It was pretty electric and these fans were great tonight. We’re glad to bring along our Dads, brothers and mentors as well. – Jamie Benn, Stars Captain

I continued to snoop around and asked Benn if the team would take advantage of their time in Las Vegas? He sent me away with an answer only a veteran Captain would give.

Nah. We’ll get dinner tonight and start getting ready for Chicago. -Benn

This is when I thought I saw multiple Dallas Dads hiding their laughter. He may be the captain of the hockey team, but no one is the captain of the Wolfpack.

Brent Burns Now Holds The Title Of Most Upset Player After A T-Mobile Arena Loss

Let’s go with something vague so Burns gets mad. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was clear Sharks defenseman Brent Burns wasn’t in the mood to speak with the media after Friday’s overtime loss. In San Jose’s locker room, Logan Couture spoke first while he ate a slice of pizza. Sans pizza, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi held quick media scrums of their own after Couture finished. Heck, even Joe Thornton poked his head in after finding his teeth.

The three San Jose players that spoke after the game were still wearing Sharks t-shirts and shorts. Burns came out showered, dressed and ready to hit the bus. It was clear by his demeanor the defenseman was upset. What might’ve set off Chewbacca was a 3rd period overturned goal that would’ve put the Sharks up 5-4. I asked Burns if he would talk about the overturned goal, and immediately you could feel his beard burning up.

No, not really. It is what it is. -Brent Burns, Sharks defenseman

Burns was upset with the overturned goal in Vegas, but it seemed like built up frustration from previous games.

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