So far, the Golden Knights have played three exhibition games and one particular aspect has stood out through their first 181:48 minutes. Under new coach Bruce Cassidy, Vegas has clearly been the better team in the 1st period of all three preseason contests. The Golden Knights have been the aggressor from the opening faceoff, and it’s resulted in early leads.
When the puck is on your stick get moving. When you receive a pass in the O-zone you’re shot ready or pass ready. It’s on your stick, heads up — like that Karlsson goal. It’s a great play. -Bruce Cassidy
While the crisp starts have generated offense, VGK’s defense could be the main reason for their 1st period success.
There’s more that goes into it than showing up and competing. Mentally being prepared to play the right way. It’s going to take awhile for some but I do believe they’ve bought into the defensive part. Once you’re sort of comfortable with it it’s easier than chasing a guy around the ice the whole time. That’s why we play it. The quicker they pick it up the easier it will be for everyone. -Cassidy
Cassidy’s controlled defensive system was quickly picked up by his team as they’ve limited shots, scoring chances, and goals. Fast starts and attention to detail are why Vegas has held an advantage in each game after the opening 20 minutes. In three 1st periods, Vegas has outscored their competition 4-0.
Sure, it’s good to see an early lead but it’s a better sign that the team hasn’t allowed a 1st period goal under Cassidy. It suggests the 31st franchise quickly absorbed and are executing their new coach’s system.
Nice to see some offense tonight. It wasn’t this mass amount of shots but we converted on some nice quality chances. There was second effort and puck pursuits that forced mistakes. -Cassidy
The first two contests against Colorado and LA, the Golden Knights lost their edge and couldn’t maintain their 1st period dominance. In both games, Vegas went scoreless and lost the final two frames. The Avalanche and Kings were able to bounce back after falling behind and eventually stole the (unimportant) games from VGK. Last night, the Golden Knights corrected that and finished off a full 60-minute effort.
The hope is that the Golden Knights can carry these strong 1st period trends over to the regular season. Slow starts were one of Vegas’ biggest flaws last season, particularly down the stretch. I apologize for resurfacing bad memories but the Golden Knights recorded one 1st period goal or less in nine out of their last ten games. Right in the thick of a playoff chase last season’s team had difficulty starting the game on time. It was painful for fans to watch. Thankfully, after three preseason games all signs indicate that could change in 2022-23.