The importance of winning the faceoff battle has been a three-year reoccurring argument here at SinBin.vegas. In my opinion, it’s all about possession. When a center wins a draw his team has immediate control and should safely get the puck out of their zone. Or create an offensive push towards the opponent’s direction. Whoever wins the possession battle, should dictate the game.
Faceoffs are probably one of the most underrated stats in this league. If you can start off with the puck, your much better off. And you’ll have better scoring chances. – Nate Schmidt
On the other side of the discussion is Europa Ken.
— Miss Abby (@abbyladzinski) July 25, 2019
He’s not concerned with a lost draw if Vegas’ forecheck, shooting percentage, and rebound control are positively effective. For the most I agree, but remember a forechecking attack begins with the puck, and there’s a good chance it was possessed by a winning faceoff.
2018-19 Golden Knights Faceoff Percentage Breakdown
- Record when winning 51% or more Faceoffs: (20-11-2)
- Record when losing 51% or more Faceoffs: (14-16-3)
- Record when Faceoff % is 50/50: (9-5-2)
While it’s clear the Golden Knights have a better record when they win more faceoffs, the formula isn’t as simple as you’d think. At first glance the numbers support my argument, but looking deeper, the higher the FO% didn’t guarantee a Vegas victory. In five separate games, Golden Knights’ centers won 60% or more from the dot. Their record was (1-4). Even furthering the madness, Vegas was (2-2) in games they lost more than 60% of draws.
The most infamous faceoff in Golden Knights history was lost by Cody Eakin. I’m not rubbing salt into the wound or anything (why bring it up dummy?) but bad things can happen when defensive draws are lost late in a game.
2019 Golden Knights Postseason Faceoff Percentage Breakdown
- Game One (5-2 Loss): 56.4%
- Game Two (5-3 Win): 54.4%
- Game Three (6-3 Win): 53.3%
- Game Four (5-0 Win): 50.6%
- Game Five (5-2 Loss): 50%
- Game Six (2-1 2OT Loss): 47.7%
- Game Seven (5-4 OT Loss): 36.5%
By no means did the Golden Knights lose their seven game series to the Sharks because of lost faceoff draws. However, their FO% dropped game by game, and Vegas’ 36.5% in Game 7 was their worst percentage of the entire season.
(Adding photo below to balance emotions)
The evidence may not prove anything but we know Vegas is blessed with several centers that can win a big draw. But don’t worry, this argument and many, many others will continue on social media, our site, and the SinBin podcast. We like arguing for a living.