Through two years of games the Golden Knights have seen every team in the NHL at least four times. The Boston Bruins, tonight’s opponent, are one of the top five team’s the Golden Knights have struggled most against. They’ve tallied a 1-2-1 record, lost three straight with the only win coming almost exactly two years ago (10/15/17).
I dug into the stats a bit to try and figure out why, and there really isn’t one formula. There are a few common variables though that have popped up in the losses.
Protecting The House
This is fairly common in most NHL games, but it seems to be exaggerated for Golden Knights games against the Bruins. When the Bruins get shot attempts in tight on the goalie, Vegas struggles. Just look at the shot charts of the first four games, and try to pick out which one the Golden Knights won.
vs. Boston – 10/15/17
at Boston – 11/2/17
at Boston – 11/11/18
vs Boston – 2/20/19
Vegas won the first of these four, lost the middle two, and lost in shootout in the fourth.
As you can tell, when the Golden Knights keep the Bruins away from the front of the net, they have success. When they don’t, the Bruins feast on goals in tight. Five of the Bruins seven even-strength goals have come directly in front of the net and they’ve only scored one from outside of “the house” (and it was close).
In the only game Vegas won, the Bruins did not register a single high-danger chance at 5-on-5 the entire game. That’s 42:50 of clean hockey in front of the goalie (which was Malcolm Subban in that game).
The Golden Knights have yet to score a single power play goal against the Bruins. Vegas is a miserable 0 for 13 against Boston with the man advantage. They’ve created plenty of chances, registering 23 shots on goal in the 13 power plays and racking up 22 scoring chances, but only six have come in a high-danger spot on the ice. Plus, in three of the four games, they came up with one or zero high-danger PP chances.
Boston is one of two NHL teams the Golden Knights have never registered a power play goal against. Florida is the other. Vegas is 0 for 9 against the Panthers.
In four games against the Bruins the Golden Knights have just one goal in the 1st period. It came late in the 1st period of the loss at T-Mobile Arena last year, and it came after Boston had already opened the scoring.
Vegas has never overcome a deficit against the Bruins, losing all three games in which Boston scored first. The Golden Knights have been outscored 3-1 in the first period. And, despite winning the overall Corsi battle in three of the four games, Vegas has lost on shot attempt percentage in three of the four 1st periods.
Quite simply, the Golden Knights don’t do enough of it against the Bruins. Just seven goals in four games. That’s the fewest number of goals Vegas has scored against any team in the league (tied with Philadelphia), nearly a goal less per game than their team average.
The Golden Knights shot totals are not drastically down against the Bruins though, averaging 31.5 against Boston and 33.5 against everyone else. But they score on just 5.5% of shots where they hit on 9.3% of their shots vs. the rest of the NHL.
They’ve never scored more than three in a game against Boston and have four total goals in the last three meetings combined.
The Golden Knights enter as -140 favorites on the William Hill mobile sports app, the same line they were the last time these two teams met. Vegas dropped that game in shootout.