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Continuing Goalie Rotation Into Real Playoffs “On The Table” For DeBoer

Since the Golden Knights acquired Robin Lehner, he and Marc-Andre Fleury have been in a straight goalie rotation. Through seven regular-season games, an exhibition game, two round-robin games, and a third tomorrow, Vegas has alternated goalies in each and every game.

There’s nothing abnormal about a goalie rotation in today’s NHL… during the regular season. But once teams get to the playoffs, historically (and by that I mean every team ever) teams select one goalie as a starter and he remains in the net until he loses it. Very rarely do teams change goalies off wins and even more rarely do they use both goalies multiple times in the same playoff series.

However, with the oddity that is the 2020 playoffs and the Golden Knights success in swapping goalies every night, there’s a legitimate argument to be made that it should continue into the first round.

DeBoer has intimated since the team returned to action that his plan was to go the normal route and select a starter after the round-robin, but when I asked him if he’s considering sticking with the rotation following tomorrow’s game, his answer was far more non-committal, indicating it’s a real option they’re examining.

I think everything’s on the table. It’s such a unique year, such a unique format. I’ve already heard there’s going to be some back-to-backs in the early rounds of the playoffs which typically you never got so for me everything’s on the table in that regard. -Pete DeBoer

In the 10 games since acquiring Lehner, the Golden Knights are 8-2-0 overall with Lehner posting a perfect 4-0-0 record and Fleury coming in at 4-2-0. Lehner has allowed eight goals in his four games while Fleury has given up 15 in his six.

On paper, a playoff goalie rotation could offer some unique benefits, especially considering the contrasting styles of the Golden Knights’ two goalies. But, without teams trying it in the past, there’s no true evidence that those benefits will actually hold true.

It’s worked so far for the Golden Knights, but are they willing to be the team that breaks the mold?

The option is on the table, we’ll see if DeBoer picks it up.


Recap: Vegas trailed early when former Golden Knight David Perron scored on St. Louis’ first shot of the game. Things settled down and Vegas’ offense warmed up outshooting St. Louis 13-4. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington was outstanding and robbed the Golden Knights multiple times. After 20 minutes St. Louis held a 1-0 edge.

Both offenses got hot in the second period. The Golden Knights stole the lead from the Blues scoring three straight goals. Shea Theodore added the first, and Alex Tuch scored the tying and go-ahead goals. Vegas couldn’t hold the 3-2 lead for long as St. Louis put two pucks passed Marc-Andre Fleury in a span of :21 seconds. After the first two periods, the Golden Knights trailed 4-3.

Zach Whitecloud tied the game 4-4 early, and Mark Stone put Vegas ahead late in final period. It was third lead change of the game giving Vegas the 5-4 advantage. Theodore gave his club a two-goal edge with his second of the game. The Golden Knights would go on to win a wild game 6-4.

Vegas remains undefeated in round-robin games and are tied with Colorado with four points. They’ll have one more game to fight for the #1 seed on Saturday night against the Avalanche. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The game started at a snail’s pace until a turnover in the VGK end led directly to a Perron goal (that Fleury probably should have stopped). Then the Golden Knights got going but couldn’t beat Binnington in the 1st. They did find a way in the 2nd completely owning the game in order to score three straight. But, a few more turnovers and another one Fleury could have stopped and the Golden Knights found themselves behind after two. In the 3rd, the Golden Knights took over and dominated about as much as any team can in a single hockey period. They controlled play from start to finish, scoring seemingly at will and snuffing out all STL offense. An incredibly great period that paved the way to a guaranteed top-two position in the round-robin.  (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs St. Louis Blues at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • VGK keep getting better

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Shea Theodore
* Alex Tuch

Offense-Minded D-Pair Could Serve As Dangerous Tool For Golden Knights

Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore both became Golden Knights at the Expansion Draft. They’ve each played more than 200 games as Golden Knights, but only three times have they ever been paired together to start a game.

173 regular season games have featured a lineup with both Schmidt and Theodore, yet at even-strength, the two have only been on the ice for 197 minutes.

Monday, late in the game, the dynamic offensive duo had a chance to play multiple shifts together as the Golden Knights attempted to recover from a 3-1 deficit. A little more than eight minutes of ice time later, Vegas stormed back into the game to tie it, eventually take the lead, and then seal their first win of the 2020 playoffs. The main reason that happened was the dominance the Golden Knights showed with 88 and 27 on the ice together.

Schmidt and Theodore were both on the ice for Vegas’ third and fourth goals (Nate scored the 3rd one) and they put in a 90-second shift in the final minutes to help seal the win.

The pair was nothing short of electric and they might just be the Golden Knights’ secret weapon when the team is trailing on the scoreboard. One that reminds the head coach of a duo from his past.

We had (Brent) Burns and (Erik) Karlsson in San Jose and we tried them together once in a while. We would stick them together if we were behind in games or on offensive zone draws, it’s a nice option to be able to throw those guys out there. -DeBoer

Schmidt and Theodore played a total of 8:46 together in the 3rd period where they held the Stars to just two shots, while posting an 82% Corsi, generating five scoring chances, and scoring the two goals.

Both guys are smart, they both move pucks and I think they both can drive offense. It’s always tough when you have two offensive guys playing together. The thing I like about Schmidtty and Theo is they both take pride in defending too. They’re not going to create offense by giving up a lot defensively or ignoring their defensive responsibilities which is a nice combination to have. -DeBoer

The pair was deployed for 11 shifts that began with a faceoff, just one was taken in the VGK defensive zone.

It doesn’t appear as though DeBoer is planning on leaning on the tandem of Schmidt and Theodore to start a game, but he certainly seems willing to give them significant time together when the Golden Knights need help offensively.

He did just that on Monday and they delivered.

Letdown Periods Trending In Round-Robin Games

No one knew what to expect in Vegas’ first round-robin game against the Dallas Stars. Some Golden Knights players talked about bringing intensity, some said they would play it safe, making sure they were healthy for the first round. So when Vegas won 5-3 in a roller coaster game, it was no surprise that it was a forgettable victory.

While their 3rd period, four-goal outburst was outstanding, the 2nd period letdown may have some Golden Knights worried. However, trends are showing that most round-robin teams have had a letdown period in their first game. Five of the eight teams allowed two or more unanswered goals in a period, and three of those five teams lost.

Vegas vs. Dallas

We all watched it, Vegas looked like they were toast by the conclusion of the 2nd period. Then Dallas decided to sit back in the 3rd. Both teams allowed three or more unanswered goals and had extended moments of sloppy hockey.

VGK 2nd Period:

  • Allowed three straight goals (One PP goal)
  • Outshot 13-10
  • Faceoff Wins 43%
  • Committed one penalty (Theodore/Hooking)
  • Lost the lead

The puck was deep in Vegas zone for the majority of the 2nd period and Dallas took advantage, scoring three unanswered goals. Dallas took six out of the first seven shots taken in the period. At one point it looked like Vegas would never be able to clear the puck from their own end. Thankfully the Stars made it easy for the Golden Knights to come back. Dallas equally broke down and gave Vegas the room to snap off four goals in the final period.

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DeBoer’s Won’t Hesitate To Make Big In-Game Changes

It had been almost 9,000 minutes since the Golden Knights played a meaningful game, but it took less than 30 for Pete DeBoer to have seen enough.

I gave it as long as I thought I could. -DeBoer

Midway through the 2nd period against the Stars, DeBoer shook up his lineup, changing three of the four forward lines.

We were flat. For 40 minutes we didn’t have our stuff. We didn’t have our game, we didn’t have our system in place, we just didn’t play well. So, shake it up a bit, kind of give us a kick in the butt. -Mark Stone

After months of preparation to figure out what the lines should be followed by weeks of working almost exclusively together in training camp, the trios that were supposed to work out the best for the Golden Knights were blown up at the first sign of distress.

I would have loved to have had us play at a high enough level all the way through that we wouldn’t have to change anything but that’s not realistic. -DeBoer

This is a good look into the coaching style DeBoer is going to bring to the Golden Knights through this playoff run. Unlike Gallant who liked to trust the process and allow the players to work through issues, DeBoer is going to be proactive.

Without Max Pacioretty, the lines weren’t exactly what DeBoer was looking at for the last five months while the league was paused, but they were pretty darn close. Yet, he didn’t hesitate to change them in the first game that had true meaning to the team.

Starting Lines


Lines in 2nd and 3rd periods


A coach only has so many tools in those situations to use and that’s obviously one of them. I knew it was a team-wide problem because we really didn’t have anybody that was very good in the first 40 minutes. -DeBoer

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Recap: Officially the 2020 postseason began for the Golden Knights in Edmonton. Vegas faced the Dallas Stars for their first of three Round Robin games. Coach Peter DeBoer gave Marc-Andre Fleury the day off and started Robin Lehner in his place.

Chandler Stephenson gave his team a quick 1-0 lead :64 seconds into the contest. New linemates William Karlsson and Mark Stone assisted on the goal. Vegas was awarded two power play opportunities in the first period but couldn’t convert on either. Lehner sealed the net tightly and stopped all eight shots from the Stars.

Dallas came out fast and hard to start the second period. The Stars peppered Lehner with shots eventually scoring two goals in :42 seconds to take a 2-1 lead. Four minutes later Dallas extended their lead 3-1 scoring on their first power play. The Golden Knights severely struggled to clear the puck from their zone and allowed the Stars to set up their offense. After two periods Vegas trailed 3-1.

The Golden Knights woke up midway through the third period and scored three goals of their own. Stone scored a power play goal to make it a one goal game, Nate Schmidt tied the it 1:29 later. Three minutes later William Carrier scored with his back to the net and between his legs to give Vegas the 4-3 lead. William Karlsson put the game away with an empty net goal.

Vegas won their first game of the postseason 5-3, and are tied with Colorado in the Western conference Round Robin standings. The Golden Knights will next suit up against the St. Blues on Thursday. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights started the game just how they wanted to. A quick strike transition goal from Stephenson opened the scoring and got Vegas going. They continued to control play with a few power plays thrown in throghout the first period. But, it all went downhill in the 2nd as the Golden Knights gave up goals on back-to-back shifts and couldn’t get out of their own zone the for most of the 20 minutes. In the 3rd, DeBoer’s line shiffling started to take hold as the old Karlsson, Smith, Marchessault line got going, Stone was tremendous working with Stephenson and Cousins, and the one line he left alone came through with the game winner. Wild, wacky, unpredictable game, but VGK is officially on the board in the round-robin. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Dallas Stars at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • Line change brilliance or round-robin experimentation? Either way, VGK have 2 points.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** William Carrier
** Nate Schmidt
* Mark Stone

VGK 2020 Playoffs “Depth Chart”

With the extended roster available to the Golden Knights, I wanted to take a look at how they might roll out their players as they need to go deeper into the lineup.

The best way to illustrate that was by using an element common to football but somewhat foreign to hockey, the “depth chart.” This is my best guess at how Pete DeBoer’s “depth chart” looks heading into the 2020 Playoffs.

(Note: This is not a way to build lines. Instead, it’s to show which players are best at each individual position. Thus, in the event that there’s an injury, which player would be the next to fill in. The idea is to use each player the highest up the chart at each position to build the roster of 12 forwards and six defensemen. Then, lines and pairs are created around that group of 18.)

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Left DRight D

The 2020 Postseason Is A “Once In A Lifetime” Event For Hockey Fans

Today begins the official start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and while the Golden Knights won’t play until Monday, there are several games to keep your eyes on.

Vegas fans couldn’t get a true feeling of the NHL’s game presentation during Thursday night’s exhibition game against Arizona because the league used a fraction of what they have planned going forward.

We’re super excited about what we are going to be debuting and showing from Saturday all the way through the Stanley Cup Final. What you were seeing was probably five percent, ten percent of what you’re going to start to see on Saturday.- Steve Mayer, NHL Chief Content Officer

The NHL intends on making the television broadcast an experience for the viewing audience. They’ve added dozens of cameras for alternate views of the ice, creating a unique event, not just a typical hockey game.

Starting today, fans should keep their eyes open for some of the new additions the league will use throughout the entire postseason. They’re hoping fans will be entertained like they’re watching a movie or a television episode.

As a fan you’re not going to miss anything. Camera angles, the low angles, the replays, super slo-mo. There’s some really cool looks. The ability that we’ve had to really get inside of the game. It’s a made for television event. We don’t have fans here, so we essentially built a set. Every screen we’re going to highlight players. We’re going to highlight highlights, the history of the game, the statistics of the game. Visually I think you’re going to see things that you have never seen and probably never see again. -Steve Mayer

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Introducing Our 2020 Playoff “Photographer”

Here at we have the best photographer in the NHL. Game in and game out Brandon Andreasen provides us with unbelievably amazing pictures capturing the action at T-Mobile Arena.

But, with the games for the next two months taking place in the bubble north of the border, Brandon wasn’t given access to shoot photos for our site. Due to licensing rules, that means we don’t have legal access to a single photo of any game in Edmonton or Toronto.

So, we had to improvise.

We’d like to introduce our 2020 Playoff “Photographer,” the one, the only, @BadSportsArt. His first assignment for was to “shoot” the Golden Knights exhibition game against the Coyotes.

Truly stunning images of the Golden Knights 4-1 win over the Coyotes.

@BadSportsArt will be with us throughout the entirety of the Golden Knights playoff run.

Give @BadSportsArt a follow on Twitter and/or follow him on Instagram, and if you ever have a moment you want to be drawn, give him a shout.

Gear Up For A Lot Of Shea

From here on out the games matter, and once the 1st round starts, the games really matter. For Pete DeBoer, when the games matter, he rides his best players much more than Gerard Gallant did.

Last year, in the series between the Sharks and Golden Knights, in all but one game of the series a Shark led in TOI. Most games, multiple Sharks did.

Game 1
Burns – 28:25
E. Karlsson – 26:25
Theodore – 24:00

Game 2
E. Karlsson – 29:08
Burns – 28:36
Pavelski – 25:35
McNabb – 25:10

Game 3
Burns – 25:10
Braun – 22:34
E. Karlsson – 20:54
Engelland – 20:11

Game 4
Schmidt – 23:39
Burns 23:16

Game 5
Burns – 26:10
Vlasic – 23:43
E. Karlsson – 22:20
Hertl – 21:14
Pavelski – 20:59
Couture – 20:27
Dillon – 20:25
Theodore – 20:03

Game 6
Burns – 42:04
Vlasic – 37:14
E. Karlsson – 36:40
Braun – 36:12
McNabb – 35:34

Game 7
Burns – 39:37
E. Karlsson – 33:46
Hertl – 30:22
Kane – 29:30
Stone – 28:53

Game 4, where Vegas won 5-0, is the only game in which a Golden Knight led the game in TOI. In Games 2, 5, 7, there was a Sharks forward with more time than any Golden Knight.

This continued throughout the playoffs for DeBoer and he’s expected to do the same with his top guys now that he’s in Vegas. Which means get ready to see a lot of Shea Theodore.

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