When the Golden Knights score first they’ve been almost impossible to beat in the postseason. Their record is an astounding 11-2 when netting the game’s first goal. In the Stanley Cup Final, they’ve scored the opening goal just twice, which is one of the reasons why Vegas is facing elimination tonight.
It’s very important. I feel like we’ve been trailing this entire series. We had a lot of chances last game to be able to get that goal ahead and I think we just have to bear down and get that first goal. That means a lot to our structure of play. -Reilly Smith
Smith’s linemate laid it out even simpler.
I think we need to play with a lead. We’re a good team when we play in the lead. -Jonathan Marchessault
The Golden Knights were 34-5-2 in the regular season when they took the games first lead.
Yeah it’s been important all postseason, for all teams. It’s going to be a fight to get that lead. We’re a really good, dangerous team when we get the first goal. Get the crowd into it and go from there. -Erik Haula
Taking a lead, protecting it, and winning playoff games was a winning formula for the Golden Knights, until this series. Leading up to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, in 16 postseason games the Golden Knights lead for 162:43. Since then, they’ve lead for just 9:29 minutes, and have trailed for 123:18 minutes.
They’re doing a good job. They’re scoring at opportune times as well. Their power play’s sparks the team. It’s important for us to score that first goal and play with that lead. That’s what our mindset is for the next game. -Smith
Having a good first ten minutes is really important. Washington is a team that when they have a lead, they play to shut down and play really good defense. We’ll try and get the lead early on. -Alex Tuch
The Golden Knights seemed confident Game 5 will be a different outcome than the last three games. It begins with the Vegas top line and top players.
They’re a tough team to play against. They wait in the middle and let you make mistakes. We have to put pucks behind them, and let them make the mistakes. -Marchessault
Going by the numbers, scoring first will greatly help the Golden Knights chances to extend the Cup Final. The series isn’t over if Washington jumps on the scoreboard first, but it puts immediate pressure on Vegas to answer. It doesn’t matter which Golden Knight scores, just as long as it’s the opening goal.