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Tag: Shea Theodore (Page 1 of 3)

Jets Getting Shots In Close, But Like Sharks, It’s Not Paying Off

Marc-Andre Fleury has had players all over him the last eight games, but he’s done well to keep them out. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A big story heading from Round 2 to the Western Conference Finals for the Golden Knights was limiting shots in close to the net. San Jose lived in front of Marc-Andre Fleury’s goal, but couldn’t get enough past him to win games. It was assumed if the Jets did the same, the result would be different.

Vegas defensemen made it a point coming into the series with Winnipeg.

Yeah they’re strong and fast, and they can make plays. They’ve got guys that play well in that slot, and play well in tight. That’s going to be our job to make sure that we eliminate those chances. -Shea Theodore on 5/10/18

In Game 1 everything was a mess, especially the first eight minutes (unless you are Ken). Early on in Game 2, it could’ve gone the same direction. In the first period, Vegas allowed multiple scoring chances from the Jets in front of the net. In other words, Winnipeg had a flurry of shots in Fleury’s kitchen.

Well we don’t want to allow chances in front of the net.- Brayden McNabb,

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“Big” Problem Against Sharks Even Bigger Problem Against Jets

San Jose had its best lucky when they were right in Fleury’s face. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

By now you’ve heard about Winnipeg’s size and skill. It was on full display last night as the Jets outworked Nashville defensively and offensively. All postseason, Winnipeg has effectively used their size in front of the net creating messy traffic and high-scoring chances. Something San Jose did well against Vegas in the second round.

They are always kind of in my kitchen, right? -Marc-Andre Fleury

Overall, San Jose had plenty of chances in front of the net, but was mostly unsuccessful.

We had some defensive breakdowns that we kind of got lucky. They hit a number of posts. They were buzzing in front of our net pretty good. -Shea Theodore

Tomas Hertl (6’2″/220) used a mix of size and talent, tallying three goals in six games. Two were almost identical in that Vegas defenders couldn’t clear the puck, or San Jose attackers. Notice the swarm of teal surrounding Fleury.

Five Golden Knights allowed four Sharks countless opportunities to convert. Inches away from Fleury.

I think San Jose was one of the best teams in front of the net. That last game, they threw everything at net. Flower made some big saves and the post helped us a couple of times. -Luca Sbisa

In the end, VGK’s defensive lapses didn’t hurt them from advancing, but it could in the conference final. Winnipeg’s net presence is similar, if not better than San Jose’s attack.

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Theodore Stepping Up His Game Once Again In The Playoffs

Everyone knew what Theodore was capable of, it’s great to be seeing at night in and night out at the biggest time of the year. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This time last year young Shea Theodore made his name on the big stage. In 2017, the 21-year-old Anaheim Ducks defenseman registered five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in a first round series against Calgary. He ended the postseason with an impressive 8 points, especially since Theodore only played 34 regular season games in 2016–17. It was clear last season his game became elevated in the playoffs.

I think it’s the moment. In the playoffs everyone wants to play their best. It’s kind of your time to shine. I just feel really good right now. -Shea Theodore

Fast forward a year, and now Theodore is showing his playoff brilliance in a Golden Knights jersey. I asked the Golden Knights’ defenseman, “Are you playing the best hockey of your career?”

I think so. I feel fast, I feel strong. I feel like I’m getting into those battles and winning a lot of those battles. I’m not going out and throwing any big hits but I’m physically where I need to be. Especially, in terms of in front of the net and in the corners. -Theodore

Against LA, the Golden Knights defenseman was beaming with confidence in all zones. Theodore handled his defensive assignments and effectively created offensive chances. At times it looked as if Theodore had glue on his stick, weaving the puck in and out of NHL traffic, and in the overtimes in Game 2, Theodore was undoubtedly the best skater on the ice.

It builds a little over time with your confidence when you make those moves. I know a lot of guys have my back when something goes right. At the same time I’m trying to make some stuff happen. -Theodore

Another reason for Theodore’s growing confidence is his pairing mate Deryk Engelland. The elder statesman was superb in VGK’s first-round sweep. Engelland made small, timely plays throughout the entire series. His experience was on full display deflecting and blocking shots, making quick decisions, and communicating on the ice.

I definitely think a lot of the plays he makes go unnoticed. Setting up little picks here and there or whether it’s helping and talking the puck out. He’s been a huge help and he’s playing great right now. It’s fun to be out there with him. -Theodore

Vegas fans should be pumped reading Theodore’s confidence and enthusiasm. In his eyes, he’s playing his best hockey and he’s only 22. Theodore’s thrived in the playoffs, and his expectations are high, and they go well beyond beating San Jose.

Matching D-Pairings With Top Offensive Lines Worked In Game 1 For VGK

Schmidt vs. Kopitar. Engelland vs. Carter. Round 1 went to Vegas. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you ask All Star head coach Gerard Gallant if he likes to match lines he usually responds with some sort of quip about how he’s not smart enough to make it happen. Instead, he prefers to roll four lines and attempt to let his guys play their game and force the opponent to match them.

However, on the other side of the ice, it’s a different story. For much of the year Nate Schmidt and his partner (Brayden McNabb or Luca Sbisa) have drawn the best offensive line of the opposing team. Last night was no different as Schmidt/McNabb were on the ice for a majority of their time against the Kopitar, Brown, Iafallo line. The difference for the Golden Knights is that they didn’t just limit the defensive matching to one line, they did it with the Jeff Carter line as well. Deryk Engelland and Shea Theodore were matched up heavily on the Kings second line and did well shutting them down.

Schmidt and McNabb played nearly 13 total minutes against Kopitar and managed a positive Corsi For of 57.69 and only allowed four even strength goal scoring chances in that time. Engelland and Theodore did just as well in the 12 minutes they saw against Carter with a slightly above 50% Corsi For and only two scoring chances against.

You hope you are going to get those matchups as much as possible. It doesn’t happen every time and I’m not a guy who is going to yell at our guys to change right away when you get a non-matchup line. You just do the best you can as coaches. -Gerard Gallant

This matching also has an offensive benefit for the Golden Knights. Colin Miller and Jon Merrill both posted 60+% Corsi For and spent a majority of their ice time in the offensive zone, where Gallant wants them.

All in all, the Golden Knights did well in getting the right players on the ice against the right Kings, and it worked like a charm in Game 1.

Golden Knights Using Others’ Desperation To Turn On Playoff Mode

This is Marchy’s playoff face. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since February 21st, the Golden Knights have played eleven games against teams in or fighting to get in the playoffs. Vegas went 4-5-2 in those games losing to Anaheim, Columbus, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Jersey and San Jose. One thing in common with all of those teams is their urgency to win.

Ever since February teams have stepped their game up. We did also. -Jonathan Marchessault

You could see it in the game in San Jose. There was a playoff intensity, pace, and attitude and the Golden Knights matched it despite not having the same desperation as the Sharks.

We don’t necessarily need a playoff lineup, we need to have a playoff mentality. That’s by playing the right way and that’s what we’re focused on right now. -Marchessault

Shea Theodore agreed playing teams fighting for postseason berths can be beneficial. Late season competitive games can help the Golden Knights switch on to playoff mode.

Definitely. When you play teams that are playing desperate, that’s when you tighten down, watch all the turnovers and really just play the right way. You have to be consistent in the final stretch leading into the playoffs. -Shea Theodore

Playoff mode isn’t just about picking up the intensity on the ice though.

It’s a fun time the of year. It’s definitely a hard time of year on the body but at that time you just need to rest, eat well and be ready for the next challenge. -Marchessault

While his players are openly discussing the postseason, All Star head coach Gerard Gallant is still maintaining his signature “take it game-by-game” mentality.

When we get the X beside our name, if we do that, then you’ll have your perfect playoff lineup… if we’re lucky enough to make the playoffs. -Gallant

Coach, you just played game 74 and you have 100 points. Lighten up a little, will ya?

JON MERRILL (D) ACTIVATED FROM IR; SHEA THEODORE (D) PLACED ON IR

Merrill will play his first game since January 4th when he was placed on IR with an undisclosed injury. Theodore has been out since the game against Edmonton on February 15th. NHL rules only require a player on IR to miss seven days, so Theodore will be eligible to return on Friday for the game against Vancouver.

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On To Washington

You forget about tonight and get ready for the next game. -Gerard Gallant

That’s exactly what the Golden Knights and their fans should do after last night’s 5-2 loss in Minnesota. There’s really no need to get into the details of the game, we all watched it, it wasn’t the Golden Knights night, something that’s rare with this club.

We were a tired team for the first time this year. -Gallant

Vegas only atempted a total of 24 shots on goal against Minnesota. It’s just the fifth time this season the Golden Knights shot 24 shots or less. Vegas is 2-2-1 in those games.

This guy was great though. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Defenseman Shea Theodore led Vegas with five shots on Wild goaltender Devan Dubynk. Last night was the third time Theodore took five or more shots in a game. The 22-year-old had never registered more than four shots in a game prior to this season.

Deryk Engelland led the Golden Knights with 23 minutes of ice time. Put aside last night, the Golden Knights are 3-1-0 when he leads the team in TOI.

Golden Knights All-Star winger James Neal had a rare dud of a game in Minnesota. He had zero shot attempts or shots on net. It was only the second time this season Neal didn’t register a shot. Also, Gallant tinkered with his lines and #18 saw a dip in ice time. For only the tenth time in 51 games, Neal skated less than 15:35 of ice time.

Again, none of these nuggets mean much in the grand scheme of things if you throw out the game, but they are certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward. It was a tough, tiring road loss for the Golden Knights. That was supposed to be the norm for this team, luckily it’s not.

Depth Scoring Major Factor In VGK Offensive Success

There are many reasons for the Golden Knights offensive success. Let’s start with the number of Vegas players having career years (it’s basically all of them). Secondly, younger players are quickly blossoming with more ice time and room to grow (see Karlsson, Tuch, Haula, Theodore, Schmidt, Miller, etc). Lastly, the Golden Knights are one of few teams getting help from their bottom six forwards, something we call “depth scoring.”

The goals aren’t all coming from Wild Bill, and that’s one of the big reasons why this team is good. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 48 games, Vegas has scored the third most goals (162) this season. Even more impressive is VGK’s (3.38) goals per game, which is also ranked third behind Tampa Bay (3.53) and the NY Islanders (3.39).

All Star coach Gerard Gallant is blessed to have the depth scoring his team has. Nine Golden Knights have more than 20 points. Only nine other NHL teams can claim that.

NY Rangers (11) Players
Nashville: (10) Players
Tampa: (10) Players
Toronto: (10) Players
Winnipeg: (10) Players
Vegas: (9) Players
Boston: (9) Players
Dallas: (9) Players
San Jose: (9) Players

To go even deeper, the Golden Knights have 16 players with 10+ Points. Only Chicago, Colorado, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Toronto, Washington, and Winnipeg can claim that.

Of course, we’re all aware of the offensive success from their top two lines. Erik Haula, James Neal and David Perron have done their job scoring 50 this season. VGK’s second top trio of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith have totaled a remarkable 56 goals. The other 56 tallies were scored by defensemen and bottom line forwards.

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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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Golden Knights Do Not Play Multiple Poor Periods In The Same Game

Tonight, in the first period, the Golden Knights stunk. Their feet were slow, they looked unsure in their own end, and they simply could not break out of their own zone consistently enough to create anything on the other end. Flat out, they were bad. However, much like the rest of the season, it stopped there.

Tonight, even the bad period was rescued by who else, the guy playing against his old team. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Try this exercise. Think of a time when the Golden Knights played a poor period. The 1st against Carolina, the 2nd’s against Anaheim and Dallas at T-Mobile, or my personal favorite (that’s a weird thing to say) the 1st against Colorado on Nevada Day.

Vegas is not immune to a completely garbage period. Heck, they tend to throw up a stinker on most nights, but like a great doctor would do to a virus, the Golden Knights localize it and chop off the infected period to kill the problem at the source. Tonight was yet another example of just that.

After a break, day of travel, you come in and are trying to find your legs and they made us look silly over the first 10 minutes. Big goal by Shea to settle us down and let us hang in there, and then in the 2nd we started to find our game. It’s a communal effort, when things need to be said, guys will say it. –Cody Eakin

Sometimes they have the built-in excuse of the long break, early game, or the first game after a road trip. Other times they don’t, but it doesn’t seem to matter either way.

We do a really good job of coming back in and regrouping. We know what our strengths are and during that break we come in and talk a little bit and we focus up and it’s a great thing about our team. –Shea Theodore

We have good character in the locker room which allows us to realize when we are playing good and when we are playing bad and we need to switch things up. It’s different things every night. We have good communication and we have a lot of different leaders from different places. People speak up in different areas and it’s huge for our team. –Erik Haula

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