Recap: For the first time in seven games the Golden Knights would not allow a first period goal. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 13 of Buffalo’s shots on net. It was a scoreless tie after the opening 20 minutes.
Tomas Nosek would break open the scoring with his 6th of the season. Chandler Stephenson drove to the net and Nosek picked up the early goal 1:55 into the 2nd period. Two costly penalties would spoil Vegas’ lead. Max Pacioretty was called for what looked to be a clean check, and then the Golden Knights would take a too many men bench minor. Both would result in power play goals for Buffalo. The visiting team trailed 2-1 after two periods.
Vegas tied the game 1:43 into the 3rd period on a power play goal by Reilly Smith. However, the Sabres would regain the lead on a nifty goal by Buffalo captain Jack Eichel. Gerard Gallant pulled Fleury with 2 minutes remaining but the Sabres would backhand a long distance empty net goal and won the game 4-2.
Vegas’ record drops to 24-19-6, losing their 4th in a row. The team travels to Ottawa to face the Senators on Thursday night. Game time is scheduled for 430PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: Coming later tonight. (Analysis by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center
The line change that led to the 4th loss in a row.
SinBin.vegas Podcast from Moneyline Sports Bar at Park MGM
Ken’s Three VGK Stars *** Mark Stone ** Alex Tuch * Reilly Smith
That one hurts. Completely outplayed the Sabres for the entire game.
Following the Golden Knights run to the Stanley Cup, they had some decisions to make. Two of their top six scorers were set to become free agents. David Perron had just put up 66 points and remains the only Golden Knights to record a 50 assist season, and James Neal scored 25 goals including instrumental ones every step of the way in the magical first season.
When the clock struck midnight, technically 9 AM on July 1st, 2018, both Perron and Neal walked away from the Golden Knights signing with St. Louis and Calgary respectively.
Both Neal and Perron expressed interest in staying but eventually signed contracts longer and more expensive than what the Golden Knights were comfortable with. Perron signed a four year $16 million ($4M AAV) deal while Neal got a five year $28.75M ($5.75M AAV) contract.
Negotiations are always secretive and often the details never come to light. But yesterday, Perron took to Twitter to give us a little insight into his experience negotiating with George McPhee while under contract with the Golden Knights.
never got an offer after trade deadline from VGK… yes my heart is in St Louis, but it also is in Vegas for how much I loved the year we all had together there. Still very happy the way it turned out(cup) but dont make me look like I wanted to leave…no grudges on my part btw
The Golden Knights found themselves in a three-goal hole late in the 1st period against the Blues. It felt like the sky was falling until Vegas stormed back to win the game 5-4 in overtime.
Three nights later, once again, Vegas saw 3-0 on the scoreboard, this time against Pittsburgh. Back-to-back games falling behind by three felt improbable, yet once again they stormed back only to come up a bit short.
A couple nights later, it happened again! 3-0 turned to 4-0 against the LA Kings and it’s officially reached epidemic levels.
Then, Saturday. 1-0 in the 1st. 2-0 in the 2nd, and what do you know in the 3rd, 3-0 again for the fourth straight game.
**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2019-20 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**
Right now, there’s not a whole lot of positive things happening with the Golden Knights. A three-game losing streak and a sudden lack of offensive productivity will do that to a team.
But I would like to point out one good thing that may be flying under the radar, that being the play of William Carrier.
When Chandler Stephenson was acquired by the Golden Knights last month, he was referred to as a “Swiss Army Knife” due to his versatility. Carrier may not have as many tools as Stephenson, but he has proven to be a versatile cog in the Knights’ machine.
The 25-year-old left wing has displayed some offensive prowess over the first half of the season and is projecting to having a record year scoring-wise. Carrier has five goals and eight assists so far.
But the number I’m most impressed with? His games played. The Knights have played 48 games to this point. Carrier has been in the lineup for every single one of them. That’s a far cry from his first two seasons in Vegas where injuries forced him to miss significant amounts of time.
His ability to stay in the lineup has been huge. Coach Gerard Gallant is playing him up and down the lineup and wherever Carrier lands, that line seems to perk up, save for Saturday when virtually everyone was a no-show in the 3-0 shutout loss to Columbus.
Every line we put him on seems to be the best line on the team. -Gallant on Jan. 4
Carrier’s still playing his usual physical game, even though his total number of hits are down from a year ago. He’s currently third to Ryan Reaves and Brayden McNabb. He’s still one of, if not the, fastest player on the ice for the Knights. He’s still winning footraces and battles for 50-50 pucks. But he’s being more offensive-minded and his underrated passing skills are starting to gain notice. He had a beautiful backhand pass to Paul Stastny that led to a goal in the 5-4 overtime win over the Blues. His forechecking has helped keep plays alive in the other team’s end and while he may not be garnering assists, Carrier’s value for making plays in the offensive zone should not be overlooked.
That what I used to think of him, seriously. We’ve been with Will for two and a half years but this year he looks more confident. He’s going to the net, he’s carrying the puck and he’s making plays. He’s 25, coming into his own and playing great hockey. … We like what he’s doing, he’s working hard, and he’s got a lot of speed. I don’t think he’s hitting as much as he did in the past but he’s playing great hockey. –Gallant
The fact he’s involved in fewer collisions no doubt has helped his durability and allowed him to remain in the lineup. Consider his first year with the Knights he was injured twice — in Nashville and at Washington and he appeared in just 37 games. Last year, he got hurt at Anaheim and again against Winnipeg and was limited to 54 games.
Assuming all remains well, he will set a personal high for games played next month when the Knights are in Florida to play the Lightning and the Panthers.
Where does Carrier best fit in? I still like him on the fourth line playing with Reaves and Tomas Nosek. They make things happen and they put pressure on opposing defenses. But from an offensive skillset standpoint, I also like having Carrier play with Stastny, a veteran playmaker who knows how to set up his linemates and provide them with quality scoring chances. They seem to work well together when Gallant pairs them up.
Carrier is still going to take the body, regardless of who he skates with. He’s still going to try and blow by defenders using his speed. It’s a question of how much do his offensive numbers rise playing with more skilled offensive players? And is that the right thing for the team?
Saturday, he played with Keegan Kolesar, who was making his NHL debut, and Stastny. Predictably, they didn’t do much.
No one is saying that Carrier is going to make a run at the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer. But with 13 points, he’s even with Tuch and ahead of Cody Eakin, Cody Glass, Nosek and Reaves. Yes, the two Codys missed significant amounts of time. But the fact is Carrier is having a very good season and the fact he hasn’t missed a game all year is a victory, both for him and the Knights.
**Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born — The remarkable story of the Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @stevecarp56. All of Steve Carp’s work here on SinBin.vegas is presented to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, the Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely recognized as one of Las Vegas’s preeminent full-service law firms. Specializing in high stakes business, civil and family litigation, the Jimmerson Law Firm has an unparalleled track record of winning when it matters most. To reach the Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you.**
The Golden Knights lost again. Again they fell behind in the 1st period, again they watched the lead grow to a number they wouldn’t be able to overcome, and again they salted away a pair of points at home they really should have won.
Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion as to what’s going wrong, but personally, I’m sick of the intangible excuses that are being made for this team. Tonight’s game was not about a lack of effort, a sense of complacency or any other unmeasurable factor people want to throw around. Instead, tonight was a full display of all that is wrong with the Golden Knights.
It starts with forward depth. This team doesn’t have enough of it. When Cody Glass and Jonathan Marchessault are out they don’t have the horses to fill their roles. And it would be a problem if there were any two of the top nine forwards missing.
Because of it, they’re forced to move Alex Tuch up to the 1st line to play out of position and on a line he has never fit on despite playing 13 prior games with Karlsson as the center. Some line combinations don’t fit, especially when you are playing one player out of position on his off-wing. That’s okay, but when a team is built in a way in which they literally don’t have another option outside of William Carrier, who has been exclusively a 4th liner until 2 weeks ago, it becomes a problem.
That then bleeds down to the 2nd line. The best 2nd line the Golden Knights can make is Paul Stastny between Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. It’s a line that has proven to work time and time again, including an unreal start to the playoffs last year, but isn’t truly an option currently because it leaves the bottom six far too bare. So, that forces Chandler Stephenson, to fill a role higher in the lineup that most teams would prefer. Stastny moves down in an attempt to put a bit more skill and vision with a pair of wingers who have proven they can’t be relied upon to score.
Finally, you are left with a 4th line that can certainly do the job of a standard 4th line, but must be expected to do more because there’s not enough scoring above them.
When they need an extra player, they turn to Nicolas Roy, Valentin Zykov, or Keegan Kolesar. All fine players, but none can be expected to score at the NHL level, especially when playing alongside other non-scorers Cody Eakin, Ryan Reaves, William Carrier, and Tomas Nosek.
This is a risk the front office took when they chose to go down a path this offseason of offloading talented forwards for a prospect and a bushel of picks as opposed to attempting to bite the bullet and unload some overpaid role players. When healthy, the team has plenty of offense, when not, they’re short.
Which leads to the next problem. Defensive scoring. With Nate Schmidt having a bit of a down year to this point, the only legitimate offensive threat is Shea Theodore. He may end up outscoring the rest of the Golden Knights blue line combined. If the forwards were putting up three or four goals a night, it would be fine to have a defense focused on defending, but while missing players, the team needs some chip in from the defensemen. At the moment, they don’t have the guys to do it. Nic Hague may eventually become more of an offensive weapon, but while he’s getting his feet wet in the NHL, making sure his defensive game is under control is more important. Brayden McNabb, Deryk Engelland, Jon Merrill, and Nick Holden are all acceptable NHL level defensemen, but between them, there’s one season of more than 30 points and they’ve played a combined 35 years in the NHL. So expecting to get anything more than they’ve already given to this point is unrealistic.
Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Blue Jackets got their last home game of their seven game stand. Vegas took two penalties in the 1st period and one ended up costing them the first goal of the game. It was the sixth straight game that Vegas allowed the visiting team to score first. Columbus lead 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes.
The Blue Jackets doubled up their lead 2:06 into the 2nd period. Vegas would try and play catch up for the rest of the middle frame. The Golden Knights were awarded two power plays but couldn’t convert. They continued to trail Columbus 2-0.
Vegas struggled again to generate any offense, and Columbus took advantage. The Blue Jackets stretched their lead to 3-0 deep into the 3rd period.
Vegas’ record drops to 24-18-6 and remain with 54 points. The Golden Knights hit the road and next play on Tuesday in Buffalo. Start time is scheduled for 4P. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: The Golden Knights just didn’t have it on this night, once again chasing a game after conceding first for the 5th straight game. Offensively they couldn’t generate much against a stingy Columbus defense and the Blue Jackets capitalized on a couple of opportunities. Vegas looked frustrated throughout as they had a hard time getting extended offensive zone time and rarely created more than once chance per possession. It’s a frustrating way to end a homestand that started out so promising. (Analysis by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Columbus Blue Jackets at T-Mobile Arena
Steve Carp’s Sunday column on William Carrier’s elevated role
Ken’s Three VGK Stars *** Paul Stastny ** Shea Theodore * Alex Tuch
8 points in a 7 game homestand is not acceptable. Puts a lot more pressure on the upcoming 8 game roadie, can't come back without a point per game at the least.
Ever since he was traded to the Golden Knights, Chandler Stephenson has done everything he’s been asked to do. And he’s done that and more.
From centering the team’s most talented line, helping the penalty kill, and even scoring a game-winning goal in 3-on-3 overtime. Stephenson has done so well in his role that the team trusted him to play another, 1st line forward.
I don’t really think there’s too much of a challenge. With the type of players I’ve been playing with, you know they make my life really easy. Stoney, Patch, Smitty, Karly, are all All-Stars in my mind. They’re fun to play with. -Chandler Stephenson
You think it would take some time to adjust during a game to new linemates, even for the professionals. However, Stephenson feels no pressure to make immediate chemistry with anyone Gerard Gallant has assigned him with.
They do all the dirty work and they let me play my game without telling me where to go, or do this, do that. They just let me play. That’s nice and relaxing at the same time. -Stephenson
Position adjustment doesn’t bother Stephenson either. Mainly he’s been a center in Vegas, but he’s played plenty of wing in the NHL. Either position, he will find a way to pitch in.
You have a little bit more responsive at center. At wing, your more of a straight line. It’s not too much of difference for me since I’ve played so much over the years. At center, you know you need to be more defensive but for the most part it’s pretty similar. -Stephenson
The same goes for forward William Carrier. One of the original Golden Knights has mostly been relegated to the fourth line playing alongside Ryan Reaves, Tomas Nosek, Nicolas Roy, and others over three seasons. Lately though, he’s been bouncing around filing holes when needed.
1st period problems have been evident throughout the entire homestand with the Golden Knights allowing 13 goals in the opening frame in the last six games. However, that’s been a temporary problem. There’s a bigger problem that’s been going on all year, and it’s reared its ugly head these last three games.
The Blues, Penguins, and Kings all scored at least three straight on the Golden Knights. In 13 separate games, Vegas has allowed the opposing team to score three or more consecutive goals. They are 2-10-1 in those games, and 1-6-1 at home.
Allowing 3+ consecutive goals 10/08/19: 4-3 loss vs Boston – 4 straight 10/15/19: 5-2 loss at Nashville – 4 straight 10/21/19: 6-2 loss at Philadelphia – 4 straight 10/25/19: 6-1 loss vs Colorado – 4 straight 11/02/19: 4-3 OTL vs Winnipeg – 3 straight 11/13/19: 5-3 loss vs Chicago – 5 straight 11/27/19: 4-3 OT win at Nashville – 3 straight 12/08/19: 5-0 loss vs NY Rangers – 5 straight 12/12/19: 4-2 loss at St. Louis – 3 straight 12/27/19: 4-3 loss at Anaheim – 4 straight 01/04/20: 5-4 OT win vs St. Louis – 3 straight 01/07/20: 4-3 loss vs Pittsburgh – 3 straight 01/09/20: 5-2 loss vs LA – 4 straight
Recap: The 1st period was completely lopsided to the visiting team as they lit up the scoreboard. The Kings scored four times in the opening 20 minutes. Malcolm Subban had trouble stopping the flurry of LA shots. Vegas trailed 4-0 after one period.
The Golden Knights outshot the Kings 24-4 in the 2nd period and would get two past LA goaltender Jack Campbell. After 40 minutes Vegas trailed 4-2.
Vegas was awarded the first power play of the game 13 minutes left in the 3rd period. They couldn’t convert on the man advantage and would fall eventually fall 5-2.
Vegas’ record drops to 24-17-6 and remain tied with Arizona for first place in the Pacific Division. The Golden Knights will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Game time is scheduled for 7PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: An absolutely atrocious 1st period, again. The 3rd straight game the Golden Knights were a complete trainwreck in the 1st and it cost them their second straight game. Sure, the 2nd and the 3rd Vegas destroyed the Kings, but it’s too little too late. There’s one more game in the homestand, they better not give up a 1st period goal. (Analysis by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena
Probably something about all the 1st period goals, but we’ll see.
Ken’s Three VGK Stars *** Too Little ** Too * Late (There were some good players, but if you fall behind by four, it doesn’t really matter.)
Golden Knights keeping the pedal down to start the 3rd. Campbell is having a solid game in there.
No real reason for this picture other than that it’s awesome. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
One of the common phrases from Golden Knights throughout the course of the first three seasons has been that they want to play the same way no matter the score of the game. If it’s tied at 0, they want to play the same way as if they are up 4-0 or down 4-3.
It’s one of those sayings that sounds like a cliche rather than something that can actually be implemented in real life though.
Much like the saying “we roll four lines,” which is unequivocally not true about the Golden Knights. Vegas’ top-six forwards play about three minutes more even-strength time than their 3rd line and five minutes more than the 4th line. Quite simply, over the course of the whole game, the Golden Knights don’t “roll four lines” and they never have. (The numbers are essentially identical in all three years.)
However, the “play the same way” mantra is surprisingly accurate and the Golden Knights are on pace to do it at a historical rate.
The way this is calculated is through Corsi or SAT%. Corsi is a horribly imperfect stat but until we have accurate puck tracking data, it’s the best we’ve got. The idea is to gather up all the shot attempts to try and figure out which teams spend the most time in the offensive zone. In theory, a team with a 50% Corsi spends the same amount of time defending as they do attacking. 55% Corsi means you spend more time in the o-zone than the d-zone, and 45% Corsi means more time in the d-zone than the o-zone.
Again, it’s not perfect, but the numbers for the Golden Knights are astounding.
Vegas’ overall Corsi this season when the game is at 5-on-5 is 53.3%. That’s good for 4th best in the NHL, behind Carolina, Los Angeles, and Montreal.
When the game is tied, the Golden Knights Corsi is 53.2%, nearly identical to their total. When Vegas is ahead, the number is 52.8%, half a percentage point under their norm. When they are behind, the number is 53.8%, half a percentage point over their norm.
This is to be expected. When they are down as they protect the lead, they shoot less, when they are up they shoot more as they try to tie it up. However, the disparity is essentially nothing, which is incredibly rare for an NHL team. Over the course of a game, we’re talking about a difference of about one shot per situation. If Vegas gets 53 shots for and allows 47 when the game is tied, they’d get 52 and allow 48 when they are up, and get 54 and allow 46 when they are down. A one shot attempt swing is basically inconsequential and when compared to the rest of the league, unbelievable.