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Three Star Tally

Wild Bill will always be our first star. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Wednesday night was the first time all season the Golden Knights failed to register a single player in the “three stars of the night” rankings in a home game. They’ve done it eight times in road games over the first 70 games of the season.

Now, of course, we know that the three stars really do not mean much as it’s usually a heavily biased vote for the home team, but it does give us at least somewhat of an indication of which players are making the big plays that jump off the page in games. So, here goes…

 3rd2nd1stTotalStar Points
William Karlsson40101432
Marc-Andre Fleury7291838
Reilly Smith4361328
Jonathan Marchessault315920
Erik Haula233817
David Perron7411218
Alex Tuch432916
James Neal6311015
Shea Theodore21147
Ryan Carpenter02137
Nate Schmidt22046
Oscar Dansk00226
Malcolm Subban12035
Colin Miller01125
Deryk Engelland21034
Luca Sbisa21034
Cody Eakin02024
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare11023
Brayden McNabb11023
Tomas Tatar00113
William Carrier00113
City of Las Vegas00113
Tomas Hyka20022
Maxime Lagace20022
Brad Hunt01012
Oscar Lindberg01012
Vadim Shipachyov10011

**Star Points are awarded: 3 for 1st star, 2 for 2nd star, 1 for 3rd star**

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More VGK Bobbleheads!

If you weren’t one of the lucky 18,000 who got Chance the Bobblehead (or if you sold yours on eBay because they are more valuable than tickets to tonight’s game), your bobblehead collection can still have a Golden Knights representative.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, yes that’s a real thing, released a limited-edition bobblehead of Marc-Andre Fleury. This is the first bobblehead ever produced of a Golden Knights player in the team’s uniform and it’s available now.

But wait, there’s more!

Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson bobbleheads will be available soon, followed by Deryk Engelland, Erik Haula, Nate Schmidt, James Neal, and Reilly Smith. Plus another Chance bobblehead will be available, this time in the grey jersey.

The Fleury one is on sale now, the rest are expected sometime this Summer.

Also, we should have one to give away soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the next edition of #HockeySquares.

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: 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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William Karlsson, Not An All Star, But A Legit Hart Candidate?

When the All-Star rosters came out earlier this week, there was a loud collective groan from the NHL’s newest fanbase. Of course, Vegas fans were happy to see Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal make the Pacific squad, but the snubs of William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault ticked off the VGK faithful… including someone I know.

Without getting into the dynamics of the All Star Game, like all leagues, the NHL focuses on big-name players. Lesser named stars are having to wait their turn, which is pretty lame. Neal and Fleury fit the league’s criteria; notable players, having productive seasons, their team is in first place, and they are a part of an amazing story. Boom, they’re in.

Who needs the ASG when you’ve got Hart on the mind? (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Unfortunately, it stiffs guys like Karlsson and Marchessault. Who are both deserving of an All-Star nod, but will be forced to be alternates. However, Karlsson should look at the bigger picture… the Hart Trophy. recently published an article on the Hart as part of their “Trophy Tracker” series. Unlike the All Star Game, they did not overlook the Golden Knights lesser named star.

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William Karlsson’s Shooting Percentage Is Unsustainable… Or Is It?

Most of the time when people pick on the Golden Knights they do it with blind disregard for the truth. However, every once in a while there’s a legitimate claim as to why what’s happening for Vegas may not continue. But don’t worry, we’ll always be here to prove them all wrong.

I don’t shoot often, but when I do, I prefer to score. (Photo credit: Vegas Golden Knights Instagram)

One of the most common reasons cited for why the Golden Knights may not be able to continue the pace they are on is shooting percentage. At the beginning of the year, the numbers were absurdly skewed in favor of the Golden Knights, especially at home. At the 41 game mark the team’s shooting (10.6%) and save percentages (91.4%) have come back to earth and actually now indicate sustainability is likely.

That being said, William Karlsson, the Golden Knights leading scorer, also leads the NHL in shooting percentage at 25.9%. Karlsson has taken 82 shots and 22 of them have found the back of the net. This should be unsustainable. His career shooting percentage is 12.6%. The most goals Karlsson has scored at any level was 15 for HV71 Jonkoping in Sweden.

No player has shot 25.9% or better in a season since 1995-96 (Gary Robers 26.2%), and even Wayne Gretzky only posted a number that high once in his career at 26.9% in 1983-84.

Yeah I’ve seen people on Twitter. So yeah, it’s a bit high. I guess it’s going to slow down a little. -William Karlsson

BUT… what if I told you it didn’t have to change? What if I told you there’s a method to the madness that has gone into William Karlsson’s unbelievable shooting percentage.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, and I came armed with pictures to back it up. Karlsson has scored 22 goals this season, below is a picture from the exact moment when the puck leaves his stick and heads towards the promise land. Keep your eye on the amount of net that is open in just about every image.

Goal 1: Cross ice pass from Smith on an odd-man rush. Goalie has no time to come across. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 2: Tip-in chance from in front of the goal. (Net Covered)

Goal 3: Shorthanded on feed from Eakin. Goalie misses on poke check leaving net open for Karlsson. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 4: Wrap around attempt. Puck is in the goal before it leaves his stick. (Net Completely Open)

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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: 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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Fleury, Neal On NHL All-Star Ballot

This is what an All Star looks like. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL All-Star Fan Vote is now open. Fans have the ability to vote for the captain of each division for the 3-on-3 tournament being held this year in Tampa on January 28th.

To simplify the voting process, the NHL has selected a few players from each team as the potential options fans can vote on. For the Golden Knights, they’ve selected Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal.

Here’s the link to vote.

Most teams have three or four representatives, the Sharks and Penguins have five. Vegas got two, and one of them has only played in four games!

There’s only one other team with just two players to vote for, that’s the Carolina Hurricanes. C’mon NHL, you’re better than this.

Of course, you can use the “write-in” option to vote for William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Nate Schmidt, William Karlsson, Alex Tuch, or William Karlsson.

Nonetheless, it’s still neat to see Golden Knights players and the logo on the ballot, even if all the correct options aren’t available without putting in a little extra work.


3 Moments = 1 Win For The Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Hockey games are 60 minutes long, we all know this because coaches, players, and management tell us in every answer no matter the question. However, sometimes there are tiny moments inside of games that stand out amongst the rest of the game, and the winners of those moments, win the game.

Hey everyone, look how good we are! (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

That was the case last night at T-Mobile Arena when the Golden Knights upset one of the NHL’s best, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Moment #1 (17:27 left in the 1st Period – VGK 0 CHI 1): The Blackhawks took a 2-minute tripping penalty 3:01 into the first period. 32 seconds later, a spill at the blue line by Nate Schmidt sent the Blackhawks a break and they scored a shorthanded goal. 3:33 into the game, the best team the Golden Knights have faced all season had just flipped the script on a power play and were in position to take control of the hockey game, much to the delight of about 70% of the crowd. Heck, I even tweeted this…

But the Golden Knights still had nearly 90 seconds on that power play, one that instantly became “Moment #1” of the game. They didn’t necessarily need to score, but they had to rescue the game over the next five minutes to keep the belief (especially of the goalie making his first career start) that they could still win. 21 seconds later, a shot from the point by Colin Miller gets tipped by William Karlsson, and the game was tied. There was a collective deep breath from the entire team. The game was back even, and the inevitable spiral appeared to be put back on delay.

Moment #2 (2:00 left in the 2nd Period – VGK 2 CHI 1): Brayden McNabb had just laid a monster hit on Nick Schmaltz. (Here’s the hit.) Weenie Ryan Hartman got mad and violently slashed McNabb and then grabbed him by the neck because he touched a Blackhawk too hard. That earned Weenie Hartman four minutes in the box, and the Golden Knights had a great opportunity to take a 3-1 lead late in the 2nd.

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“We’re Not Afraid To Lose In OT” – Golden Knights 3-0 Record Proves It

“In OT we just know that you have to take some risks to win the game, and that’s what we do.”  (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘playing with house money’ before.

Playing with house money refers to money that was given to you, easily obtained, or stumbled upon. In other words risking it as in a bet means you would have nothing to lose. -Urban Dictionary

At a surprising (6-1) record, and (3-0) in overtime, that’s exactly what the Golden Knights feel they are doing early in the season. The stress-free work environment of an expansion team with no expectations has players loose and taking risks to keep racking up W’s.

Yeah, obviously it’s a pressure thing. If you’re down one, you tend to pinch down more and go for those fifty-fifty pucks. You got to play smart but at the same time you can’t just back off. –Luca Sbisa

Sbisa’s role with the Golden Knights has grown into a top-line defenseman, on 5-on-5, 4-on-5 and 3-on-3. Gerard Gallant has deployed the Neal-Perron-Sbisa line to start each of the last two overtime periods, and Sbisa was on the ice for the OT goal against Buffalo. Is there a reason why the team is having early success in overtime?

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Better Find A Center, Otherwise The Struggles Will Start And Never End

It’s not hard to see George McPhee believes in strength down the middle. He made that clear by drafting five centers in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately, that talent is undeveloped and unavailable. As for 2017-18, the unit will contain five centers, Vadim Shipachyov, Oscar Lindberg, William Karlsson, Cody Eakin and Jonathan Marchessault. The Golden Knights aren’t expecting much success this season, but for the future, one of those five needs to turn into a top line center.

Shipachov will likely start the year as the top center but currently, he has no NHL experience, and like most KHL imports, is a great unknown. The other possibility is Lindberg. He skates in with 134 games played and just over 850 face-off attempts. The 25-year-old Swede will have the chance to make a serious impact with Vegas.

Oscar loves New York and he loves winning, but he also loves ice time… He’s going to have a great opportunity to play major minutes and a major role in Vegas. Claude Lemieux, Lindberg’s agent

Lindberg’s career TOI average will certainly increase from 11:30 minutes per game. His effectiveness in all three zones will prove his value.

Karlsson’s impressive flow and off-the-puck play could help him climb the charts too.

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