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Robin Lehner Excited To See What Free Agency Has In Store For Him

(Photo Credit: Jason Pothier, SinBin.vegas)

It’s been Goaltending Month here at SinBin. Earlier this month we examined the offseason decisions the Golden Knights front office will have to make in net. Last week was focused on cap percentage and how much is the right amount to spend on goaltending. So, let’s continue Tendy Month by getting some insight from Vegas’ exceptional backup goaltender as he addressed his future with the Golden Knights.

On Ottawa radio, unrestricted free agent to be Robin Lehner explained his desire to find a permanent address this offseason.

I’m looking for the right set up for me and my family. I got a five year-old and a two-year-old. My five-year-old has been to five different teams. I feel like I deserve to get some stability for me and my family. -Lehner on TSN Ottawa

It’s been a journey for Lehner. At 29 years-old with ten years of NHL service, the goaltender hasn’t found a location to settle down in.

We will see what happens and what makes sense for me and my family. To say I that need X amount of years or dollars, it’s kind of not what it’s been for me. I just try to perform as good as I can and I think I’ve done that throughout my career. I’ve had some other issues obviously but I’ve also taken the steps and been very serious about those steps and I’ve bounced back and I’ve shown that I’m on a really good path which is only getting better and better. -Lehner

The former Senator, Sabre, Islander, and Blackhawk is proud of success on and off the ice and feels he’s earned the opportunity to find a permanent NHL address. Especially, for his wife and kids.

I believe that I’ve proven my statistics for a long time and that I’m a very reliable goaltender… We’ll see what opens up and what makes sense for me and my family. We’re excited to see what happens this offseason. -Lehner

Can the playoffs do anything to help leverage Lehner’s future contract negotiations? Will he need to compete with Marc-Andre Fleury for playing time and excel in the postseason?

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Probabilities Of Each Opponent Based On Round-Robin Seed

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL is a league built on parity. Winning the Stanley Cup is as much about matchups (and luck) as it is the skill of any given team. This year, the matchups have a chance to vary wildly as the league is re-seeding teams at the conclusions of the play-in and first rounds.

Unlike the eight teams with set play-in round matchups, the Golden Knights seed throughout the tournament is dependant on their performance in three round-robin games. The round-robin not only determines who the Golden Knights will play in the 1st Round, but it also determines the opponent in the 2nd round as well.

With four games in the play-in round, there are 16 possible outcomes between the eight teams. Using William Hill odds, we ranked them from most likely to least likely to occur. Then, using those rankings, we are able to show the probabilities of which team the Golden Knights would be most likely to face depending on which seed they end up with in the round-robin. (An explanation of how I arrived at these numbers is at the end of the article.)

 #1 Seed#2 Seed#3 Seed#4 Seed
Edmonton (5)59.6%
Nashville (6)33.0%22.3%
Vancouver (7)19.1%28.4%10.5%
Calgary (8)10.4%22.9%16.8%4.1%
Winnipeg (9)8.7%19.3%14.2%3.5%
Minnesota (10)13.8%20.6%7.6%
Arizona (11)26.7%18.1%
Chicago (12)40.4%

As you can see from the chart, there’s a significant advantage to finish atop the round-robin. Finishing first eliminates the possibility of a matchup with Edmonton, Nashville, or Vancouver, while coming in fourth takes away any chance to play Chicago, Arizona, or Minnesota.

Compare that to this chart, how Vegas has played against each of these eight teams.

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Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks Photo Gallery – December 10th, 2019

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 1 (16-12-5 37 PTS)

Recap: Vegas hosted Chicago for a midweek matchup against the Blackhawks. The Golden Knights got an extra boost with their leader Marc-Andre Fleury back in net.

The first featured 25 total shots on net but both goalies made some outstanding saves. Neither team would score, and the 1st period came to a close tied at 0-0.

Reilly Smith would open the scoring in the 2nd period with his 13th goal of the season on a Golden Knights power play. Deryk Engelland would add his first of the season to give Vegas a 2-0 lead. William Karlsson tapped in a shorthanded goal with under a minute left giving his team a 3-0 advantage.

Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty teamed up early in the 3rd period to make it 4-0 Vegas. Stone drove to the net, put on the breaks and touch passed it to Pacioretty for the easy goal. Ryan Reaves shot a one-timer passed Crawford for a 5-0 Vegas lead. Fleury continued to put on a stellar performance, stopping everything Chicago shot at him. The Golden Knights would win easily 5-1.

Vegas’ record improves to 16-12-5 and now have a total of 37 points on the season. The team will travel to St. Louis for a matchup Thursday night against the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Game time is scheduled for 5P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights played one of the best games of the season in their home building. It was a bit back and forth in the 1st, but a complete and utter domination took place in the 2nd where Vegas took over the game. Karlsson got on the board, Stone got going, and Fleury was terrific back in goal. As close to a perfect game as you can ask for. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena

  • Jonathan Marchessault’s new stick is helping his game, but not in the way you’d expect
  • Photo gallery from the game.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Deryk Engelland
** Reilly Smith
* Marc-Andre Fleury

 

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (9-8-3 21 PTS)

The game got off to quick with an early penalty shot for Chicago. The Blackhawks couldn’t convert and the Golden Knights took over. William Carrier and William Karlsson have Vegas a 2-0 lead 6:30 minutes into the game. Patrick Kane would get Chicago within one and the 1st period would come to a close 2-1 Vegas.

Chicago scored two 2nd period in a span of :45 seconds. Vegas was awarded a penalty shot of their own but Jonathan Marchessault couldn’t slip it past the Blackhawks goaltender.

The Golden Knights began the 3rd period trailing 3-2 and looked to get back into the game early. However, the Blackhawks had other plans and scored their fourth goal 3:57 into the final frame. Vegas would have a few chances but couldn’t covert until it was too late. Chicago coasted to a 5-3 victory.

Vegas’ record drops to 9-8-3 and remain at 21 points for the season. The Golden Knights will next play on Saturday afternoon at 1PM in Los Angeles. They’ll head right back home for a back-to-back on Sunday against the Calgary Flames. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena

  • Rock bottom?

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nic Hague
** William Karlsson
* William Carrier

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 1 (7-4-0 14 PTS) – SO (2-1)

The Golden Knights on a back-to-back faced an early deficit again. Chicago scored four minutes in and took the lead 1-0. The Golden Knights mustered 9 shots on net but could convert and trailed at the intermission.

Marc-Andre Fleury kept it one score game in the 2nd period making some tremendous saves. The Golden Knights offense couldn’t get on the scoreboard but the game was within reach after 40 minutes.

Vegas began the 3rd period on an extended Power Play but wouldn’t convert until 1:33 left in the game. The Golden Knights forced a 3-on-3 overtime period and shootout. Shea Theodore would eventually win the game in the third round of shootouts.

The Golden Knights record improves to 7-4-0 and will return home and face the Colorado Avalanche on Friday afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled at 3PM for Nevada Day. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks at United Center

  • Deryk Engelland’s impact on rookies and the VGK lineup

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** She Theodore
** Mark Stone
* Marc-Andre Fleury

Honorable mention: William Carrier

How The Golden Knights Can Clinch By Sunday

The Golden Knights clinched last year on March 26th. They can actually do it sooner this year.

Having won 10 of the past 11 games the Golden Knights have soared well above the playoff cut line and it’s only a matter of time until it becomes official that Vegas is heading to the postseason.

But, like everything in sports, nothing is a sure thing until it’s actually a sure thing. It can become a sure thing soon though, as soon as Sunday afternoon.

The Golden Knights currently have 89 points with eight games left to play. The first team out of the playoff picture is Arizona with 78 points, also with eight to go.

Thus, the easiest way for the Golden Knights to lock in their place is to eliminate the Coyotes. Using our “Points to Elimination” tool, it takes six points to do so (and only five VGK clinches the tiebreaker).

Arizona plays at New Jersey tomorrow and at the New York Islanders on Sunday. Vegas hosts Detroit tomorrow. If the Golden Knights win in regulation or overtime, and Arizona records only one point in those two games, Vegas will clinch.

If Arizona records two or more points, the Golden Knights still have a chance to clinch.

The attention would then turn to the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and Chicago Blackhawks. With a Vegas win tomorrow, the Golden Knights would need just one more point to eliminate Chicago and three to eliminate Minnesota and Colorado.

The Wild have a back-to-back in Washington and Carolina tonight and tomorrow while Chicago and Colorado have a home-and-home back-to-back against each other Saturday and Sunday.

So, if Vegas wins tomorrow, they would need Minnesota to record one or zero points in their two games, and Chicago and Colorado would have to split (with Colorado’s loss coming in regulation).

VGK win + ARI loss to NJD + ARI loss to NYI

OR

VGK win + MIN loss to WSH + MIN loss to CAR + COL/CHI Split 2 Games

If any piece of both of those scenarios falls short, the next Golden Knights attention will turn to Monday in St. Louis.

It could happen Sunday, it could not, but either way, it’s happening soon. Once that’s locked up, the focus is going to start to shift towards San Jose, who as of this article are five points ahead of Vegas with eight to go. It’s a tall task, but if the Golden Knights can knock off the Sharks again on the 30th, things could get very interesting that final week.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 3 (28-16-4 60 PTS) – OT

A horribly sloppy 1st period dug the Golden Knights a two-goal lead that could have been three if not for an offside challenge. Vegas got it going early in the 2nd getting on the board with an Alex Tuch rebound tap-in, but six straight minutes of penalties could not be killed off restoring the Blackhawks two-goal cushion. As the period was winding down, a terrific shot by Ryan Carpenter got the Golden Knights back within one. It appeared Pierre-Edouard Bellemare tied the game but a “kicking motion” took the goal off the board. The game-tying goal did come on a weird angle shot by Paul Stastny. In OT, Shea Theodore skated directly at the goal and a fluky own goal ends up winning it for the Golden Knights.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on Jon Merrill

Ken’s Three Stars
*** Paul Stastny
** Shea Theodore
* Alex Tuch

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 3 (16-13-1 33 PTS)

Vegas wasted no time jumping all over the Blackhawks scoring just 1:28 in on a power play goal from Reilly Smith. Then, Deryk Engelland added his first goal of the season on a shot from the high slot. Then, Chicago stormed back and scored a pair to even it. It appeared as if Vegas had retaken the lead, but a goalie interference call went against them. A rough Nick Holden turnover led to the Hawks taking the lead, but the Golden Knights stormed back with two goals in 12 seconds. They even survived another goalie interference. Chicago made a late push and hit a post inside the final minute, but Fleury and the Golden Knights hung on.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena.

  • A breakdown of exactly how that first goalie interference/puck off net review went and what the rules are on all of what happened. (Likely, that article might be boring as hell, so we might not post it. Only time will tell)

Three Stars
*** Deryk Engelland
** Jonathan Marchessault
* Reilly Smith

Golden Knights Have A Lot To Learn From The Worst 5 Goal Win They’ve Ever Had

If Fleury was anything short of incredible, the game in Chicago would have been a disaster. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For a majority of this season we heard the same thing from players and coaches, they are playing well, but just not getting the bounces. You’ve also heard from us here at SinBin.vegas that the Golden Knights PDO is bordering on lunacy and they are headed for being one of the unluckiest teams in the history of the sport.

Then, last night’s game in Chicago happened. The hockey gods finally felt as though they had taken enough from Vegas, and they found it time to give it all back, all in a game that will go down as the Golden Knights’ franchise record for most goals scored.

But, what if I were to tell you that the game the Golden Knights played in Chicago may have been their worst of the season. Yep, worse than Opening Night against Philadelphia, worse than the debacles in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Washington, definitely worse than the embarrassing one in Montreal, and dare I say, it may have even been worse than the 7-2 drubbing in Calgary.

How though!?! How is that even possible? They won 8-3. They were up 3-0 and 5, 6, 7, and 8 to 2.

It’s because they were a mess defensively for the first 32 minutes of the game and the Blackhawks just simply didn’t finish their chances. To make matters worse for Chicago, they then turned around and made terrible plays to essentially hand Vegas goals.

We were up 3-0 after 1 but I didn’t think we played real well. Chicago had some great chances, Fleury made some real key saves. Truthfully, it probably should have been 3-3 after the 1st period, but then I thought we played a better game after that. -Gerard Gallant

3-3 is kind. It could have been 8-1 in favor of Chicago. I went through and watched the game again, and I counted 14 legitimate scoring chances and seven that I would consider Grade A chances. (I took notes over the 1st and 2nd period. They’re posted at the end of this article. If you can’t believe it was as ugly as described, check them out, or even worse, watch the game again.)

All five of these chances happened with the score 0-0, 1-0, or 2-0 and the Blackhawks did not score on any of them. In fact, the final one was the play that directly preceded Vegas’ third goal.

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