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Category: Stats

Golden Knights Weren’t Just Off In The First Eight Minutes

Wonder if Gallant makes any changes to the lineup. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

NBC announcers Joe Micheletti and Pierre McGuire used words like panic, upset and frustrated to describe the Golden Knights in Game 1. In the first period, Micheletti even said “Winnipeg is the quicker team” and he wasn’t wrong, at that time. The Jets deserve a ton of credit jumping on Vegas early and winning the series opener.

However, outside of the first twenty minutes of play, the final numbers tell a different story. The Golden Knights average game stats were all out of whack but can take away some positives.

Shots on goal
VGK – 21
WPG – 26

  • Vegas tied their lowest SOG total over the entire regular season and postseason
  • First game this season without a shot from Erik Haula, Colin Miller, James Neal and David Perron
  • First game since 2/21 (loss at Wild) that James Neal failed to register a shot on net
  • Colin Miller now has four postseason games without a shot on net
  • David Perron has three postseason games without a shot on net

Giveaways
VGK – 11
WPG – 14

  • Third highest total of giveaways in a playoff
  • Vegas is 1-3 when they turn the puck over 10+ times in a game

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The Most Impressive Stat Of The Playoffs Came On The Road In Game 6

Through two rounds of the playoffs, the Golden Knights lead postseason teams in a few crucial statistics. First and for most, Vegas is tied with Tampa for the most postseason wins with eight. Vegas leads the playoffs with 204 blocked shots and 106 takeaways despite playing the fewest number of games of any playoff team. However, the stat of the postseason may have happened last night in the series-clinching Game 6.

Against a desperate Sharks team, Vegas played smart protecting the puck and maintaining possession all game. Amazingly, the Golden Knights gave away the puck only once in Game 6. One giveaway in a road closeout game. One!

Unsurprisingly, they are the first team this season to complete a game with just one giveaway.

Some argue giveaway/takeaway stats are not truly accurate, but even with the margin of error involved in scoring hockey games, one giveaway is incredible. The definition of a giveaway is when a player’s own actions result in a loss of possession to the opposing team. Think back, can you even remember the one?

Overall, the Golden Knights have hit their giveaway average in four of ten postseason contests.

Fewest Giveaways in a single playoff game (1)
Fewest total Giveaways in Playoffs (83)
Fewest Giveaway average per game (8.3)

Won’t lose many games giving away the puck just once in 60 minutes. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Vegas was so responsible with the puck in Game 6 that San Jose had trouble gaining possession for a majority of the night. To be fair, the Golden Knights only created two takeaways in last night’s closeout game, but that was likely a result of Vegas playing conservatively with a lead while their opponent chased.

If the Golden Knights continue to play error-free hockey, the remaining teams should look out. Surprisingly, Vegas turned the puck over 15 times in Game 5’s victory. Proving the Pacific Conference Champions can win a sloppy game or two… or eight.

(In case you were wondering, Deryk Engelland committed the one giveaway in the game. Oh, and while we’re on the topic of giveaways, keep your eyes out for the next Adam Kutner contest. He’s giving away, see what we did there, two tickets to every Western Conference Finals game, and it’s free to enter. More details soon.)

Odd Numbered Wins Prove Massive In 7-Game Series, Especially Winning Game 5

7 down, 9 to go! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Game 6 is tonight and the Golden Knights are one win away from the Western Conference finals. Kind of chilling, isn’t it? History shows Game 5 was a whopper of a win for the Golden Knights.

In league history, 267 series have been in scenarios where the higher seeds have a 3-2 series lead.

  • Game 5 winner has a 79% chance of winning that series.
  • Game 5 winner on home ice has 81% chance of winning series
  • Teams trying to close out series in Game 6 are 102-61 (.623)
  • Visiting team up 3-2 has 53% chance of winning Game 6
  • Home teams hosting Game 7 have a 58% series edge

We talked about the importance of winning odd-numbered games. Vegas did their job winning games 1, 3, and 5. Odd games give the winning team control allowing them a chance to take over a series with another win. The Golden Knights faltered in their first two chances, but they have a third tonight.

  • Teams that win Game 1 win the series 69.9% of the time
    • Home teams that win Game 1 win the series 76.7% of the time
  • Teams that win Game 3 win the series 65.0% of the time
    • Away teams that win Game 3 win 71.6% of the time

Oh, and if you were worried about Game 6 going to an overtime period, don’t be. Home teams are 36-45 in sudden death.

We’re no good at prognosticating, but stats say, Nighty Knight San Jose.

Good vs. Bad Teams, Bad vs. Good Teams; The Story Of The Sharks Season

It’s often said that the regular season doesn’t matter beyond eliminating 15 of the 31 teams from playoff contention. While technically it is true and all that really matters is winning four of seven, four times in a row, the regular season does tell a story that can often offer context clues for the playoffs.

The best teams in the regular season do not always succeed in the playoffs, but if you look hard enough, the reasons for their playoff failures were on display at some point. The regular season is the haystack and playoff success or failure is the needle. It’s there, it’s just not always easy enough to see.

All of that was simply a set up to allow this data to stand without being cast aside as unimportant or irrelevant as we head towards a second round matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks. So, here’s the data.

The Sharks finished the regular season with 100 points, good enough to qualify for a playoff spot as the 3rd place team in the Pacific Division. They did so by winning 45 games and earning 10 points via overtime loss. Their points percentage was 61.0% Those numbers are fine, but when you drill down into San Jose’s path to 100 points, it doesn’t look so pretty for a matchup against Vegas or any other remaining playoff team for that matter.

San Jose played 25 games against the Pacific Division minus Vegas. They played five against Vancouver and four against Los Angeles, Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, and Arizona. In those 25 games, the Sharks managed a record of 20-3-2 for 42 points. That’s a points percentage of 84.0% and accounted for 42% of the Sharks total points in 30% of their games.

The Sharks earned 65 points in 42 games against non-playoff teams, if you add in the Ducks and Kings, that’s 78 points in 50 games. 78% or their total points against teams who either did not qualify for the playoffs or were swept in the first round.

The other 22% came in 32 games against playoff opponents including the Golden Knights. 22 points in 32 games is a points percentage of 34.4% which extrapolates over 82 games to 56 points, six more than the last-place Buffalo Sabres.

Compare these numbers to the Golden Knights? Vegas earned 109 points in 82 games (66.5%), 36 in their 25 games against those same six Pacific teams (72.0%), and 41 points in 32 games against the 13 playoff teams not including LA, Anaheim, and themselves (64.1%). Extrapolate Vegas’ number against playoff teams for a full season, they finish with 105 points.

Hey, remember when you thought the Sharks were good? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Yes, that’s right, against playoff teams that were not swept, Vegas was on pace for 105 points and San Jose was on pace for 56. Fifty-six!

So what does this all mean? Well, the Sharks were very good against bad teams and very bad against good teams. They were clearly better than the six Pacific teams that are now eliminated from the postseason, but by these numbers, they are nowhere close to the Golden Knights. Both Vegas and San Jose beat up on the Pacific whipping boys, but Vegas beat up on the teams still playing too. The Sharks cannot say the same.

But Ken! The Sharks were a different team after they acquired Evander Kane! Not so fast. The numbers do not agree. After adding Kane, the Sharks played 19 games, they went 12-6-1 for 25 points, but they did it by winning nine of the 12 games against non-playoff teams. Since adding Kane, they went 3-5-0 for six points out of 16. Small sample size, sure, but that’s a points percentage 37.5% or 61.5 points over 82 games.

Does this mean the Golden Knights will sweep the Sharks like they did the Kings? Nah, not necessarily, but it certainly makes it seem more likely than it did 600 words ago, right?

William Karlsson Named Finalist For Lady Byng Trophy; Snubbed For Selke (Fleury Not A Vezina Finalist Either)

Lady Byng, of course, but not even a Selke finalist? C’mon people, open your eyes. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Award season is nearly upon us and over the course of the next week, we’ll learn the finalists for each of the individual awards. Today, the finalists were released for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy and Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson was among the three named.

The Lady Byng is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” It’s voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Usually the trophy is given to the best offensive player who took the least penalty minutes. That’s no different this year as Aleksander Barkov (14 PIM) and Ryan O’Reilly (2 PIM) were named as finalists with Karlsson (12 PIM).

Karlsson should win the award when it’s handed out at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards Show on June 20th.

But with the positive news comes some negative news on the awards front. Despite posting some of the best numbers of any goalie in the NHL, Marc-Andre Fleury has not been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender). The main knock on Fleury was that he missed a large portion of the season and only logged 47 games. However, Fleury had a better goals against average (2.24) and a better save percentage (.927) than any of the three finalists. Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Pekka Rinne are the finalists.

The bigger snub, however, is William Karlsson in the Selke Award for best defensive forward. Karlsson was not listed among the three finalists and when the ballots are made public we will see that Karlsson is not even among the top five on many ballots, including voters from Las Vegas. We’ve already talked about Karlsson’s 12 PIM, but when you throw in his +49 rating, the fact that he and his linemates played against the opposition’s top line every game, and Karlsson’s ability on the penalty kill, and it’s hard to believe anyone would leave him off their list.

The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor wrote an extended story making the case for Sean Couturier to win the Selke. In doing so, he proved the incredible year Karlsson had as well. It’s an incredibly in-depth article, but it does a tremendous job of going beyond the standard stats to show the candidacies of each of the top Selke finalists.

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Sweep Success Moving Forward

Not this team is afraid to make history. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 1986 the NHL changed their postseason format adding two games to opening playoff rounds, making it a best-of-seven series. Since then, there have been 30 first-round sweeps… 31, including last night’s Golden Knights sweep of the LA Kings.

Only four (‘01-COL, ‘00- NJ, ‘99-DAL, ‘94-NYR) of the thirty teams went on to win the Stanley Cup. Not the highest percentage (13%), but winning the first-round in four has proven to be an early indication of further success.

Looking back over the past ten years, teams that swept their first-round series had extended success in the postseason.

10 First-Round sweeps

  • 3 Stanley Cup Runner-ups
  • 3 Conference Championship Runner-ups
  • 4 Teams lost in Second-Round
  • 0 Stanley Cup Champions

The full breakdown of every sweep teams success is below, and as you’ll see, many clubs got very close to winning it all. Teams that close out their series in four games will have a better chance of going deeper. However, it has been 17 years since the last time a first-round sweeper hoisted the Cup.

Interesting enough, over that same ten-year span four NHL teams (‘17- PIT, ‘16- PIT, ‘13- CHI, ‘12- LAK) won the Stanley Cup winning their opening round series in five games, the gentleman’s sweep.

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Vegas Golden Knights Regular Season Final Stats And Facts

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Team Totals

  • Record: 51-24-7 (109 Points)
    • 29-10-2 at home
    • 22-14-5 away
      • 1st in Pacific Division
      • 3rd in Western Conference
      • 5th in NHL
  • 272 Goals For
    • T-4th in NHL
  • 228 Goals Against
    • 8th in NHL
  • 207 Even Strength Goals
    • 3rd in NHL
  • Longest Winning Streak: 8 games
    • December 14th to January 2nd
  • Longest Losing Streak: 3 games
    • Happened three separate times
  • Longest Point Streak: 13 games
    • December 3rd to January 2nd
  • Records by month
    • October – 16 points (8-3-0) 11GP
    • November – 15 points (7-5-1) 13 GP
    • December – 23 points (11-1-1) 13 GP
    • January – 16 points (7-3-2) 12 GP
    • February – 17 points (8-5-1) 14 GP
    • March – 20 points (9-5-2) 16 GP
    • April – 2 points (1-2-0) 3 GP
  • Record Breakdown
    • vs Western Conference: 33-13-4
      • vs Pacific: 20-6-3
      • vs Central: 13-7-1
    • vs Eastern Conference: 18-11-3
      • vs Atlantic: 10-4-2
      • vs Metropolitan: 8-7-1
  • Most goals scored in single game: 7
    • 7-0 vs. Colorado on 10/27
    • 7-3 vs Calgary on 2/21
  • Most goals allowed in a single game: 8
    • 8-2 at Edmonton on 11/14
    • 8-3 vs New Jersey on 3/14

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How Many Goals Does It Take To Win 16 Playoff Games?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For two straight years the Pittsburgh Penguins scored 70+ (73, 77) total playoff goals en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories. The Penguins roughly averaged 18 goals scored per round over their past two postseasons. Based off recent playoff history, the team that scores 70-80 goals over four rounds will usually end up hoisting the cup.

Here are the past four NHL postseason’s broken down by Goals For (GF) and Goals Against (GA). I examined the Cup champion and the runner-up over the past four seasons.

2017

  • Stanley Cup Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins
    • 77 Goals For/ 57 Goals Against
      • Round One: 21 GF/13 GA (won series 4-1)
      • Round Two: 20 GF/18 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Conference Finals: 17 GF/13 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 19 GF/13 GA (won series 4-2)
  • Western Conference Champs: Nashville Predators
    • 60 Goals For/47 Goals Against
      • Round One: 13 GF/3 GA (won series 4-0)
      • Round Two: 15 GF/11 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Conference Finals: 19 GF/14 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 13 GF/19 GA (lost series 4-2)

2016

  • Stanley Cup Champs: Pittsburgh Penguins
    • 73 Goals For/54 Goals Against
      • Round One: 21 GF/10 GA (won series 4-1)
      • Round Two: 16 GF/14 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Conference Finals: 21 GF/18 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 15 GF/12 GA (won series 4-2)
  • Western Conference Champs: San Jose Sharks
    • 75 Goals For/56 Goals Against
      • Round One: 16 GF/11 GA (won series 4-1)
      • Round Two: 25 GF/17 GA (won series 4-3)
      • Conference Finals: 22 GF/13 GA (won series 4-2)
      • Stanley Cup Finals: 12 GF/15 GA (lost series 4-2)

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Third Period’s Haula’s

This is UrbanDictionary.com’s definition of the word clutch.

Exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

In the last few seconds of a close game, only a player with ‘clutch’ can lead the team to victory. -Urban Dictionary

He doesn’t even really have to try anymore. The other teams are just giving him 3rd period goals now. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Or in other words, Erik Haula.

As we all watched on Tuesday night as Vegas ripped a game away from Calgary, Haula continued to be one of the Golden Knights top third-period performers. In the last frame, the 26-year-old center has three game-winning goals, three game-tying goals, and two empty-net goals. Those are cluth numbers for an entire season, let alone with 34 games to go.

Haula’s Third Period Scoring Summary: 17 Points (13 Goals, 6 Assists)
11/04/17 @ Ottawa: Scores game-winning PP goal (6:47)
11/16/17 @ Vancouver: Scored game-winning goal (6:27)
12/05/17 vs Anaheim: Scored game-tying goal (15:38)
12/08/17 @ Nashville: Scored game-tying goal (19:20)
12/09/17 @ Dallas: Scored empty-net goal (19:17)
12/17/17 vs Florida: Scored game-winning goal (11:40)
12/19/17 vs Tampa Bay: *Assist on Shea Theodore’s game-winning goal (19:57)
1/23/18 vs Columbus: Scored empty-net goal (18:58)
1/30/18 @ Calgary: Scored game-tying goal (18:14)

As much as I’d like to shout “Third Period is Haula’s,” (please, do not ever chant this) he’ll have to share that cheer with teammate Jonathan Marchessault. #81 has one game-winning goal, and three empty-net goals as part of his 22 3rd period points.

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Golden Knights Lead Conference At Break; Something Five NHL Franchises Have Never Done

It should come as no surprise at this point in the year that the Vegas Golden Knights have re-written, or are on the path to re-writing, just about every record in the expansion/inaugural season record book. As they head into the All Star break the Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference with 68 points on 32 wins.

Hey James, we’re already better than the Coyotes, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Panthers, and Jets! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the NHL broke into two conferences in 1968 there have been 42 All Star games, which means 84 teams have led the conference in the standings at the break. Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Florida, and Winnipeg have never done it.

Those teams were founded in 1996, 1997, 2000, 1993, and 1999 respectively. It goes all the way back to 1979 if you consider that neither the Hartford Whalers nor the first rendition of the Jets ever led the conference at the break either. The Minnesota North Stars never did it in their time in the league from 1967 to 1993. Nor did the Quebec Nordiques while in the league from 1979 to 1995.

By doing it in year one, the Golden Knights join the Ducks, Kings, Wild, Predators, Penguins, Sharks, Maple Leafs, and Canucks who have all only led the conference at the break a single time.

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