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Maxime Lagace Saved The Golden Knights Season

Often times Brian Blessing of Vegas Hockey Hotline fame rings my phone in what eventually becomes a 45+ minute conversation about various Golden Knights related topics. Normally it’s just complaints over the saltiness of the press box peanuts or disagreements over intermission entertainment (don’t care what he says, this video is glorious), but last night he brought up a point so good it needed to be fully researched and shared.

See that in his glove? It’s the Golden Knights season. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Marc-Andre Fleury has been activated off IR which caused the Golden Knights to send backup to the backup to the backup goalie Maxime Lagace back to the AHL. Lagace has started 13 of the Golden Knights 29 games. The team’s record in those games is 6-6-1. More importantly, Maxime Lagace has started 11 of the Golden Knights 16 road games. The team is 4-6-1 in those games.

Let me remind you, Maxime Lagace is the Golden Knights fourth goalie, he has played in all but five of the Golden Knights road games, and the team’s away record is 8-7-1 and their overall record is 19-9-1.

Was Max Lagace great for the Golden Knights? No he was not. But what he definitely was not either, was terrible… like he probably should have been. Normally when a team loses their starting goalie they try and tread water until he returns. When a team loses their second goalie they are just hoping to win a game here and there. We don’t even know what happens when teams lose their third goalie because it hasn’t happened in decades.

The Golden Knights did not tread water while Lagace was in the net. Instead, they maintained the play and even put together a five-game Pacific Division win streak in the middle of his 13 game tenure.

Vegas getting their first goalie back after missing 25 games and their second goalie after missing 13 games should be hoping for a massive upgrade in overall results. Instead, because of the play of Lagace, they’re simply hoping to keep going the way they have.

If the Golden Knights remain in the playoff hunt or even better, actually make the playoffs, don’t forget the 13 game stint of Lagace. He not only kept the Golden Knights in the mix, he helped keep the season moving along just like it was before he got in there.

Every night I felt we had a chance to win, it didn’t matter who was playing. They did a great job and they are a big reason why we are at where we are at in the standings. It was fun to watch. -Marc-Andre Fleury

Vegas is 13-3-0 with a goalie that didn’t begin the season fourth on their depth chart. They are 4-0-0 on the road with Fleury and Subban.

The Golden Knights have been dealt, by far, the toughest injury situation of any team in the NHL this season. Teams have lost stars, others have lost multiple top line players, but no one has lost three goalies inside of the first 10 games of the season. No one has lost anything even close.

But because of the play of Maxime Lagace, it didn’t really matter. Vegas is securely in a playoff position 29 games in AND they’ve earned  14 points in the 14 road games without a goalie who had more than three career starts prior to this season.

Lagace let in a lot of pucks during his 13 game run as the Golden Knights starting goaltender, but he did make one save that should never be forgotten as he heads back to Chicago… the save of the Vegas Golden Knights season.

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11 Comments

  1. Ken

    “…their road record is .500 despite having not played a single road game with a goalie who had more than three career starts prior to this season.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Fleury start the opening two road games against Dallas and Arizona?

  2. Brian

    Bravo and GREAT read, Ken, as always. You guys are spot on 100% correct. Max played AMAZING—-considering—- and deserves a LOT of credit. What a Team, what a season !! That Dallas win was something else. How does GMGM keep him around past his current 1 year deal ?

  3. RJ

    1000% agree!

  4. thecommish

    Max’s .873 save percentage was well below average, but he played well enough. Did anyone think he would be competent after his debut where he let in 4 goals on just 11 shots against the Islanders? I did not and feared that the good start would be a blip on the radar.

    He was never supposed to be here, but he ends up saving the first half of the season. It’s a great job considering he was basically Luke Skywalker, our only hope between the pipes for a month. One of the what if questions for this team will be, what if he was terrible, what would GMGM have done?

    He leaves Vegas winning 5 out of 6. Stick tap to you, Max.

  5. Cody

    When can we start thinking about not just making the playoffs, but…you know. Vegas is literally one of the best teams in the league.

  6. Yoopers

    Great article!

  7. 006

    With hockey, having any reasonably competent goaltender in net (even from the AHL) will work when the team is pumping in a plethora of goals every night and doing an above average job on the defensive side. It wasn’t really Lagace at all – it was the team in front of him providing run support first and foremost, and decent defensive coverage second, that made the biggest difference between the Knights being frontrunners versus falling into the middle or back of the pack.

    Put another way, over a 20 game stretch, having a great goaltender who gives up an average of 2 goals a game while the offense averages 1 gets you absolutely nowhere. Offense trumps everything in hockey. You win (and winning is all that matters) by scoring more goals than your opponent – if you do that, the number of goals your goalie lets in is irrelevant and merely a statistic at that point.

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