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The Golden Knights Have A Healthy Habit Of Stringing Goals Together Quickly

It’s somewhat of an unexplainable phenomenon in sports, specifically in hockey, but it happens and happens a lot for good teams.

Sometimes bounces don’t go your way. Through the first two periods, we had our chances but the puck didn’t cross the line. Then suddenly in the 3rd period, I don’t really know what happened, but boom, we got all of them. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Three goals in a matter of less than five minutes. A deficit to a commanding lead. So what did happen?

I don’t know, maybe altitude change? -Nate Schmidt

He was joking (sort of) about how the training facility at Downtown Summerlin is 1,000 feet higher elevation than T-Mobile Arena. His teammates, and I, thought that concept was nuts, but that’s not uncommon when it comes to Nate.

Moments later though, he offered a much more believable justification, one that was echoed in the locker room.

Once our crowd gets into it and we score right away, it’s really hard for other teams to get back in. It’s kind of a like a hamster wheel it’s hard to stop it once it starts rolling. -Nate Schmidt

Obviously (the home crowd plays a major factor). When you have the crowd yelling at every single chance it makes you want to go on the ice and make something happen and hear those people yelling. They’ve been unbelievable all season, it’s amazing that it looks like this the first year. -Bellemare

It’s entirely possible Schmidt was being serious about the altitude thing. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s not out the norm for this team. At home, the Golden Knights have scored goals within five minutes of each other 22 different times this season. They’ve done it in 14 of their 26 home games, and in those 14 games, they’re are 13-1-0. They’ve also scored within two minutes of another goal 12 different times and within 91 seconds three times at T-Mobile Arena this year.

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Age Old Hockey Argument Strikes The Golden Knights: Should You Stick Up For Teammates If It Means Taking A Penalty?

Marchy The Enforcer. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Do the Golden Knights protect each other enough? It’s a topic we at SinBin.vegas have been arguing for years, and it most recently on the last episode of the Podcast. Then, on Sunday, Jonathan Marchessault answered that question when he backed up teammate Nate Schmidt after being crushed (legally) by Carolina’s Elias Lindholm.

Oh it’s awesome. It’s great too see, he’s a great teammate. When you see stuff like that it brings the team together. For him to be a goal-scorer and not known for that stuff, sticking up for teammates, it’s great. –Brayden McNabb

Nate agreed.

He gets the boys a little fired up. Little guy out there mixing it up. You know, this day and age you don’t get those big bruisers running around. I guess 81 is the big bruiser for us the last couple of games. -Nate Schmidt

Did Marchessault’s Hakkasan bouncer reaction resonate in the locker room?

We expect that from everyone in this locker room. It’s good on him. A lot of guys were proud that he stood up and did something. –Reilly Smith

Muscles Marchessault never hesitated as he plowed into the Hurricanes forward, baiting Lindholm to drop his gloves.

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Goals Of The Year – 5 Most Important Goals & 5 Prettiest Goals Of 2017-18 So Far

This goal didn’t make the cut, but Engelland scoring in the home opener needed to be represented somehow. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Inspired by the beauties by David Perron and James Neal over the past two games we’ve decided there’s no better time than now to take a look back on the Golden Knights “Goals of the Year.”

These are separated into two groups, first are the most important goals. These are based on a few criteria but mainly the impact the goal had on the Golden Knights season. The second group are the prettiest goals, graded mostly by skill and difficulty. Time of goal, score, and impact on the game are not considered for these goals.

Most Important Goals

#5 – Erik Haula vs. Nashville Predators – December 8th, 2017 – 3rd Period (19:20) – VGK 3 NSH 3

File this one in the “these guys are for real” category. After playing a great game the Golden Knights found themselves down a goal with the clock ticking down. They had chance after chance with the goalie pulled but just couldn’t beat Pekka Rinne. Then, off the magical 3rd period stick of Erik Haula the Golden Knights had their equalizer and eventually won the game in OT. It was a statement to the Predators, a statement to the NHL.

#4 – William Karlsson vs. St. Louis Blues – October 21st, 2017 – OT (4:36) – VGK 3 STL 2

This goal gave the Golden Knights their 6th win of the year, but more importantly it was the first win against a truly excellent opponent. Vegas was down to their third goalie after Fleury was hurt in game four and Subban earlier in this game, and yet still they found a way to get it done. Also, this goal might have been the birth of the madness that is the home crowd at T-Mobile Arena. The place was an absolute zoo and it was the first of many times the aisles would be filled with losing fans filing out with their tails between their legs. Oh, and it’s also William Karlsson’s first as a Golden Knight, the flood gates haven’t closed since.

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How Do You Stop Connor McDavid? Reloaded

Doing this to him probably wouldn’t hurt. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We gave Nate Schmidt the chance to answer this question before the Golden Knights first opportunity to play against the league’s best player. His answer was succinct, educated, and actually seemed do-able. Then the Golden Knights lost 8-2 and McDavid went off for two goals and an assist in the butt kicking. Schmidt’s answer has changed a bit since.

It’s a healthy medium. Sorry for the cliche. – Nate Schmidt

Most athletes and coaches say they play one game at a time and always move on to the next game. Classic sports cliches. Well, that’s not always the case. Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt clearly remembers getting lit up in Edmonton.

We didn’t do a very good job of it. I didn’t do a very good job. That top line is productive, and we didn’t do enough to stop them. -Schmidt

Schmidt spent plenty of time sharing the ice with McDavid. He led the team with 29 shifts, shorthanded minutes (3:55), and total ice time (23:39) against the Oilers. Schmidt ended the night -2 after being on the ice for four of Edmonton’s eight tallies. He hit for the cycle while on the ice; two power-play goals, one shorthanded goal and one even-strength goal. Well, actually I guess McDavid and the Oilers hit for the cycle.

He had his way with us, and that’s what makes this game that much more exciting for us. Especially, after what happened the last time we played them. -Schmidt

What can Vegas do to contain McDavid this time around?

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In-Depth Scouting Reports, Another Hidden Benefit Of An Expansion Team

Who knows how to stop this McDavid guy? Anybody? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We spent months going over all the roadblocks that stand in the way of a brand new team entering an established league and going through an expansion draft. Then the season began and we started to see the other side of the coin. Being a new team has plenty of benefits, from being unknown to the rest of the league, to increased opportunity, to what may be the most important, lack of pressure.

Nate Schmidt unveiled a new hidden benefit to us during a quick media scrum. It’s one that will seem obvious after you read this, but nonetheless, it’s a clear benefit that most teams do not have.

There are certain guys that we see up and down the lineup that maybe half the guys on our team who have played in the Western Conference didn’t know, you only play them once or twice a year. So we are able to say (for example), Oscar (Lindberg), look at player A on line 2 (of the New York Rangers), tell me a little about him, and bam we’ve instantly got a scouting report. -Nate Schmidt

The Golden Knights are now 10-5-1 and have been in every single game thus far this season.

That’s the beauty of it, it happens every game. You never really have a lineup where you don’t know anybody on the other team because we’ve got guys everywhere. -Schmidt

It’s obviously stronger when there’s a player who was actually on the roster a year ago, but Schmidt’s point goes beyond that. Vegas has guys who have spent their whole career in the Western Conference, they have guys who have spent long periods in the Eastern Conference as well. Digging deeper, the Golden Knights actually have a tenured player from every single division in the NHL, so as Schmidt says, there shouldn’t ever be a night where they are caught off guard.

The history of expansion teams (basically the fact that they all sucked) led most experts, and us, to focus on the challenges that lied ahead for the Golden Knights in their first season, but this team and their success has now opened our eyes to quite a few things on the other side of the fence.

The Golden Knights appear to be an anomaly, but the way these guys talk about the unintended benefits that come with being the NHL’s newest team, they’ve got me wondering, why the hell did other the other expansion teams stink? Being an expansion team should be easy.

It’s really not, but it sure has been for the Golden Knights, and there’s really no reason to think that’s going to change any time soon.

#88 In Your Program, #1 In Your Defensive Pairings

I don’t know how to put this, but… I’m kind of a big deal. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There are many storylines this season, but one in particular is overlooked only because of his steady play. Golden Knights like Colin Miller, William Karlsson, William Carrier and others are on pace for career seasons. Heck, even Tomas Nosek has already doubled his career total in goals. Statistical career-paces are nice, but Nate Schmidt transforming into a trusted, top-pairing defenseman is the bigger story.

Heading into this season, Schmidt was stuck on bottom-pair for the Washington Capitals, which is why he was available to the Golden Knights. His scouting report highlighted his strong skating and puck moving ability. Something Vegas fans now get to watch 23 minutes a game.

2017 Averages: 29 Shifts, 22:31 ATOI
2016 Averages: 17 Shifts, 15:29 ATOI
2015 Averages: 22 Shifts, 18:04 ATOI
2014 Averages: 16 Shifts, 13:53 ATOI

I openly admit, I’m a sucker for shift statistics and time on ice. TOI numbers indicate the trust a coach will have in an individual player. After 15 games in the books, it’s clear Gerard Gallant heavily relies on Schmidt’s consistency. Due to his usage increase, #88 has turned into a top defenseman for the Golden Knights. Here are Schmidt’s game logs for this season.

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Schmidt Drops Mighty Ducks Reference

On Saturday night Nate Schmidt slid one by Coyotes goaltender Anttii Raanta. Then, he tried to slide one by us.

It was kind of a Luis Mendoza moment. I was going too fast for my own good. You have to slam on the breaks or else. -Nate Schmidt

Only two games in and #88 is breaking out Mighty Duck references. When describing his game-tying goal, the animated Schmidt compared himself to the speed-skating Mendoza that couldn’t slow down.

I just wanted to make sure I got it on net. I was just trying to whack the thing and hope to God that it went in. -Nate Schmidt

The Golden Knights defenseman didn’t give himself enough credit for Saturday night’s equalizer. Schmidt had to slow up his speed, control the puck, and sneak it past Raanta. But if he wants to continue using movie references to explain actual gameplay, we’ll be okay with that.

The question is, what hockey movie will Schmidt reference next? Goon? The Cutting Edge? My guess is Mystery, Alaska.

Gallant Pulling All The Right Strings

Defenseman Nate Schmidt may have tied the game with his late third-period goal, but let’s give Gerard Gallant the assist. With 2:18 left in the game, and the puck frozen in Arizona’s zone, the Golden Knights coach called a timeout and pulled his goalie. About a minute later, the lovable Schmidt scored on a rebound to tie it up. Gallant would never take credit, but his instinct to pull Marc-Andre Fleury “early” was the right decision.

I’d do it every time. You got to face that in their zone. You want to make sure you get the six on five down there. Some people think its early, I don’t think it’s early. -Gallant

Two minutes left in the game, may not seem early to some, but just a decade ago NHL coaches on average pulled their goaltenders with 1:15 left. Gallant’s decision to go for it was a combination of an offensive zone faceoff, time remaining, and confidence in his players.

If you’re down one goal and you feel good about your team, the way they’re playing. You win the face off in their zone, why wait because you might not get that chance again. I figured let’s go for it, and it worked tonight. -Gallant

Schmidt and James Neal (again) were the stars on the stat sheet, but Gallant’s decision deserves to be noted. His late-game coaching adjustments have worked out well two nights in a row. So, raise you’re brunch Bellini’s to the Golden Knights head coach. Wait, what am I talking about? SinBinners don’t eat Sunday brunch. Raise your happy hour IPA instead, and keep the party going.

10 Golden Knights Were At Cosmopolitan During Incident

Erik Haula gives details of the experience of the players who were locked down at Cosmopolitan during the shooting at Mandalay Bay.

We were at the restaurant until about 1:30, we weren’t out of the casino until about 3 AM. Our security guys came and picked us got us and brought us home. We got home at around 4:30 AM.

There had been reports everywhere. We were on the third floor, so a lot of people were trying to get up to where we were. Then we were trying to figure out if something was going on where we were. Everyone was told to get to the back and they locked down the restaurant. At that point it was pretty much just hunker down until we knew more. -Nate Schmidt

It was pretty scary. There was a window so went out and looked toward Mandalay Bay and MGM and everything was shut down there was no one. Couple people walking around the streets that couldn’t even get in the hotels for safety. A couple guys were trying to get down to join us for dinner and they ended up having to turn around and go back. They were stuck in traffic and luckily those guys were able to get out of there before everything hit the fan. -Alex Tuch

In total 10 players and a few of their girlfriends/wives were at the restaurant during the incident. A few other players indicated that they were at home at the time and coach Gerard Gallant was picking his daughter up from the airport.

All Golden Knights players, coaches, and staff are accounted for and safe.

Interviews from Deryk Engelland, Nate Schmidt, Brad Hunt, Alex Tuch, Colin Miller, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill recounting Sunday night.

Vegas May Want Will Butcher, But Does He Want Vegas?

Before we all start panicking about Nate Schmidt’s ankle injury, let’s take a deep breath. George McPhee suggested it’ll take “the week or so” before an injury update. We can save our overreaction for when that “or so” bleeds into training camp. Plus, the Schmidt-scare gives us an opportunity to discuss the stud NCAA free agent defenseman the Golden Knights reached out to.

To our knowledge, Vegas has only pursued a few NCAA free agents during their first offseason, and Neal Pionk (signed w/ NRY) and Spencer Foo (signed w/ CGY) were the only two names seriously connected to the Golden Knights. Ultimately, both chose other NHL franchises, which makes you wonder, why?

I know that we’ve had real good coverage. We’ve targeted a very small number (of college free agents). To be honest with you, we haven’t cast a wide net. -Kelly McKrimmon, Assistant General Manager

That was Golden Knights’ Assistant GM back in early April. Foo and Pionk were targeted, and now Vegas appears to have its eyes on the new NCAA golden boy, Will Butcher.

The conversation went well. The management was well prepared and painted an impressive picture of their plan and how a player like Will would fit into that. –Brian Bartlett, Will Butcher’s agent to LVRJ

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