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Golden Knights Aren’t Big, But They Aren’t Afraid Either

We may be little, but we live in front of the net. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are built differently than most teams in the Pacific division. For example, the Kings were ranked 2nd in average height (6’1), and 3rd in team weight (207 lbs) last season. The Golden Knights have 11 players weighing in at 200 pounds or more, and just seven players heavier than LA’s 207 pound team average. The Kings have 18 players 200+ lbs and 11 that weigh more than 207. On to height, Vegas has five players 6’3 or taller. LA has eight players 6’3 or bigger. I could keep going. Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, LA, and Vancouver are all designed to handle the heavy load in front of their own goal.

Net presence isn’t always determined by strength. When there’s room to take advantage of, size doesn’t matter. Vegas may not be a big, physical team but they proved to be strong around Vancouver’s net.

David Perron‘s deep slot goal in the first period was a gorgeous display of his typically velvety hands (the only real way to describe his hands) but Nate Schmidt‘s net presence helped create an open lane. Vancouver’s defense was so busy clearing out the VGK defenseman, they got in the way of goaltender Jacob Markstrom‘s vision. Once James Neal passed the puck it was all target practice from there. The distraction in front by Schmidt, and a patient Perron got Vegas on the board first.

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It’s Perron’s Turn Tonight (And Brad Hunt’s Too)

There’s been a running theme with the Golden Knights that was almost so obviously to be expected that we almost ignored it. But after William Carrier‘s effort against the Sabres, it’s become a true storyline every night.

Not sure why, cause I’ve been there many times, but David Perron loves St. Louis. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In Dallas, former Star Cody Eakin took the ice for 31 shifts, playing 22:57 minutes of TOI. The center led Vegas in both categories on opening night. Eakin also added two blocks, and assisted on James Neal‘s game-winning goal.

Against Boston, Vegas defenseman Colin Miller and goaltender Malcolm Subban both took pride beating their former teammates. Miller was +1 and added 3 shots on net. Even more vindicated was Subban, stopping 21 of 22 shots. Earning the goaltender his first career win.

Last game vs. Buffalo, “fourth” line forward William Carrier noticeably played his best game of the season.

You guys proved it to me, no doubt Carrier played better against Buffalo. –Gerard Gallant

In six games, four times Vegas players have faced their old team. The Golden Knights are 3-1 in those games. And honestly, I doubt Tomas Nosek was anymore motivated than he normally was when Detroit came to town, as he only played 17 games over two years with the Wings.

Tonight, it’s Golden Knights’ forward David Perron’s turn. P-Money (he called himself that, don’t blame it on us) played his first six NHL seasons in St. Louis and one encore season in 2016-17. Perron is always consistent on the ice, but playing his old teammates could motivate him more.

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2-0 In 3-On-3; How and Why The Golden Knights Have Done Well

When it comes to the Golden Knights 5-1 start there’s really not much you can point at and say “well that makes sense,” but nothing’s been more surprising than the Golden Knights success in overtime thus far.

This 3-on-3 thing’s pretty easy. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In six games the Golden Knights have been to overtime twice. They beat the Coyotes in Arizona in the second game of the year and then knocked off Buffalo Tuesday night late in the extra frame.

Normally, when it comes to three on three overtime, the team with the highest skilled skaters wins the day. The game in Arizona is debatable, but there’s no doubt the trio of Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly, and Evander Kane out-skill anything Vegas can throw out there.

Yet, when it was all said and done, the Golden Knights were able to get the job done.

You look at our hockey team and people wonder if we are going to be as good in overtime because of the skill level, cause a lot of teams can put out some very talented players, but I think you look at our group, there’s guys with speed, guys with skill and that’s what’s impressive. I thought our guys have done a great job in overtime. They moved the puck and David Perron scored a beautiful goal. I just hope it keeps going. –Gerard Gallant

The two overtime periods were almost direct opposites of each other. In Arizona, the Coyotes controlled the puck for a majority of the period before a magical play by Perron opened the door for James Neal to get the goal. At home against Buffalo, the Golden Knights controlled the puck for most of the four minutes and finally scored on somewhat of a broken play.

The Golden Knights did do three things very well in both periods, which is ultimately why they found the game-winner in both.

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Perron’s Undeniable Leadership Paying Off For Golden Knights

Hero. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After every game this season, David Perron has stood in front of his locker and answered questions from the media. The veteran has spoken about leadership, power-play improvements, on-ice responsibilities and his linemate James Neal’s hot start. The one player Perron hasn’t spoken much about is himself. Even after last night’s game, he somehow found room to credit Neal for Perron’s two-goal performance.

It feels good. I pride myself in practice, putting the work in, and shooting the puck. When you play with a guy like Neal, it’s fun to find him in situations. I try to have more confidence in my shot but maybe I’m more of a set-up man with him. It’s good too see a couple of pucks go in for sure. Getting the winning goal is exciting. -David Perron


It’s interesting to hear Perron call himself a set-up man for Neal. The veteran winger has said before, he’s a shooter. After all, he has scored 161 career goals. Offensively, Perron has been one of the most consistent Golden Knights so far. Take a look at his game logs from this season.

10/06 @ Dallas: 25 Shifts, 20:03 TOI, 5 Shots, 2 Hits, 50% FOW
10/07 @ Arizona: 23 Shifts, 19:04 TOI, 5 Shots, 1 Assist, 1 Hit
10/10 vs Arizona: 22 Shifts, 16:25 TOI, 1 SOG, 1 Assist, 1 Hit
10/13 vs Detroit: 21 Shifts, 18:19 TOI, 1 SOG, 1 Assists, 1 Hit
10/15 vs Boston: 26 Shifts, 19:51 TOI, 2 SOG, 100% FOW, 2 PIM
10/17 vs Buffalo: 25 Shifts, 20:02 TOI, 3 SOG, 2 Goals

His consistency game by game is what any coach would want from a top-line forward. He’s second behind Neal in SOG (17), Points (5) and game-winning (1) goals.

He’s a veteran player and I know all of our veteran players when they get their first goal is a big relief off their shoulders. He’s been playing well for us and working hard. Tonight, was a big night for us. He finally got those goals and he got two nice goals. Any time you get the winner in overtime is a nice feeling. Good for David. Like I said, he’s one of veteran players and one of our leaders. Top six guys that we talked about. -Gerard Gallant.

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Tough Stretches Continue To Haunt Golden Knights

An all too familiar site in the 3rd period. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After last night’s 6-3 loss to Detroit, Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant continuously talked about playing the full sixty minutes.

Well we had a real tough third period again. It was an awful third period. I thought we played a great game up until then. But in the third period, we struggled. -Gerard Gallant

The third period struggles Gallant spoke about starts with allowing four Detroit goals on twelve shots. The Red Wings down one, came out to win in the third.

They took advantage of the chances and they made us pay. We just didn’t look like we had the jump in the third period for some reason. It was disappointing because I thought we played a great two periods, but you can’t play 40 minutes or you’re not going to beat anyone in this league. We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes and tonight we played 40 minutes again. Transition is a big part of this game and it’s a big part of our team playing well. But tonight we fed their transition in the third period. -Gallant

Reilly Smith’s just chalking it up to being early in the season.

You got to nip those in the bud so they’re not stretched into five minutes or ten minutes. I think a lot of reasons why we, or other teams get into those stretches is because we’re not making a simple pass. Sometimes you’re trying to over complicate and guys are tired, so it starts to snowball. -Reilly Smith

The Vegas snowball began from the faceoff circle. The Golden Knights won only 42% on faceoffs all night, and lost 12 draws in the third period. Detroit maintained possession throughout the whole period which lead to multiple defensive breakdowns from Vegas. So how will Vegas fix tough stretches during a game?

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Power Play Not A Concern For Golden Knights Players And Coach

The only power play goal in VGK history. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Finally, we can all stop holding our breath. The Golden Knights scored their first Power Play goal in franchise history.

It’s really no reason to celebrate due to the 13 straight failures, but getting one on the board is positive reinforcement for the players. Despite the low numbers (1-14 PP, 7.14 PP %) the Golden Knights have played well on man advantage situations. Remember, both Nate Schmidt‘s game-tying goal in Arizona and James Neal‘s first in Dallas were in 6-on-5 situations.

I think we’ve improved definitely. I think our execution can be much better. We lose pucks that we shouldn’t right now, and that prevents you from having more zone time. There’s always puck luck, but we need to create our own luck. –David Perron

Perron is the perfect example. He leads the team in power play time on ice (4:25 per game), plus he’s tied for the most shots (11) and assists (2) on the team as well. However, the Perronster (yeah, we’re going with it) hasn’t lit the lamp yet. But it’s not from a lack of trying.

I do think when you shoot the puck, it loosens things up and breaks them down a little more. I want to score goals, I want to shoot the puck. I do feel like I’ve shot a lot, I got to keep doing that because they’ll go in eventually. -Perron

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Golden Knights Name Six, Yes Six, Alternate Captains

Screw it, let’s just make em all alternates. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

I know it’s unique, but then again everything about the NHL in Las Vegas is unique. The Golden Knights announced yesterday, that they’ll be going with a leadership core of six players. Normally, a team will award one Captain and two Alternate Captains. Vegas will have three home Alternate Captains and three different road Alternate Captains. The six leaders are; Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, James Neal, David Perron, Luca Sbisa, and Reilly Smith.

It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty exciting. You don’t need a letter on your jersey to be a leader. It’s an opportunity to do everything right on and off the ice and be a professional. I’m excited to to be part of that group. -David Perron

It’s definitely an honor. We have a great group of guys here . All of those other guys named will put a great leadership group together. Helps the young guys and guide this team. -James Neal

Getting picked for that is special but at the same time, there a lot of good quality guys, with some character on this team. -Luca Sbisa

It’s a great honor to wear it, but the guys in this room, there is a lot more leaders than just the guys that have the A’s on. Everyone in this room leads in their own little, certain ways. Which brings us closer and tighter as a group. -Deryk Engelland

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When 65’s Not Enough: Golden Knights In Shootout

One of the most ridiculous, yet admittedly exciting, parts of regular season hockey is the shootout. When the game can’t be settled by playing hockey for 60 minutes plus a five minute 3-on-3 session, we head to the charade known as the shootout.

Last season, 99 games went to shootout. A total of 713 shots were attempted and 225 were made for a scoring percentage of 31.6% (save percentage 68.4%)

First, let’s take a look at the most important player in the shootout, the goalie.

PlayerSavesAttemptsPercentage
Marc-Andre Fleury (2016-17)81553.3%
Marc-Andre Fleury (Career)19926974.0%
Calvin Pickard (2016-17)3475%
Calvin Pickard (Career)141973.7%

Career wise, the Golden Knights netminders are virtually identical and both guys are significantly better than the league average.

Things aren’t as rosy when we flip the coin though.

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David Perron Hoping Vegas Is A Permanent Stop

David Perron was drafted by the St. Louis Blues with the 26th overall pick in 2007. He stayed with the Blues for the first six and half seasons. Then the madness happened.

From 2013-2016 Perron played for the Oilers, Penguins, and Ducks, before finding his way back to the Blues. Then… the Expansion Draft, and once again, for the 5th time in less than four years, Perron was on the move again, this time to Vegas.

I did quite well, but, at the same time, everyone wants stability at some point. I think that’s a reason which explains why my season went well last year. I knew everybody and the city. –David Perron to RDS.ca (translated from French)

Perron’s career highs in goals, assists, and points all came in seasons with the Blues, when he felt comfortable with his surroundings. He’s hoping he gets to stay in Vegas for a while.

There is one interesting thing in the fact that Las Vegas chose me along with several other players so I’ll try to build something there with the coaches and leaders. I’m hoping that the season goes well and that it becomes long-term. -Perron

It’s hard to tell in the translated version, but there certainly feels like a bit of concern from Perron over the chemistry of the team and how quickly they’ll be able to gel as a team. Nonetheless, they have a plan.

Usually, you come to a team and friendships are already formed. It will be different and I can’t wait to see how it goes. The coaches have talked to us and begun to organize parties and activities to bring the group. -Perron

He mentions one specific party in which Marc-Andre Fleury, Shea Theodore, and Clayton Stoner are invited. He’s also spent time in the offseason with Jonathan Marchessault.

The 29-year-old Perron is in the final year of a contract set to pay him $3.75M. He’ll be a free agent next Summer, but it certainly seems from his disdain for moving around that he’d prefer to be in Vegas for a while moving forward. Hopefully his play warrants it.

Golden Knights Might Actually Have More Scoring Than Expected

With a new team comes new opportunity. Whether that means more goal scoring chances, greater opportunity, more ice time, or even simply a spot on an NHL roster, every player under Golden Knights control has a chance to take a major step forward statistically in their careers.

Projecting the future is impossible, no matter what our article explaining PDO says. So, all we can really go off is what we've seen from players in the past. Here's a look at the highest goal, assist, and point total each Golden Knight has had in their career.

PlayerGoalsAssistsPoints
James Neal404181
Jonathan Marchessault302151
David Perron283557
Reilly Smith253151
Cody Eakin192140
Jason Garrison162633
Erik Haula152034
Oscar Lindberg131528
William Karlsson91925
Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare7714
Deryk Engelland61317
Teemu Pulkkinen6612
Colin Miller61316
Luca Sbisa51924
William Carrier538
Nate Schmidt31417
Shea Theodore379
Brayden McNabb22224
Jon Merrill21214
Clayton Stoner21010
Brendan Leipsic123
Griffin Reinhart011

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