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Advanced Stats Say Dallas Dominated The Golden Knights, So How Did VGK Stay Afloat?

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

One goal short.

In the seven game series between the Golden Knights and Stars, each team scored exactly the same number of goals, 16, but in the end, Dallas got one more when it mattered most and ended VGK’s bid to defend their crown as Stanley Cup champions.

Stats from the series do not indicate that it was as close as the final tally shows though. Over seven games, Dallas posted 65 more scoring chances, 36 more at high-danger, and amassed seven more expected goals.

Based on those numbers, the Golden Knights were fortunate to have even made it to Game 7. However, Game 3, despite going to overtime, was dominated by the Stars, so much so that it skewed the numbers on the series.

Game 3
Score: 3-2 DAL
Expected Goals: 5.41-1.42 DAL
Scoring Chances: 50-23 DAL
High-Danger Chances: 27-4 DAL

So, what do the numbers look like without Game 3?

Games 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7
Score: 14-13 VGK
Expected Goals: 19.22-16.10 DAL
Scoring Chances: 179-145 DAL
High-Danger Chances: 71-58 DAL

Still leans a bit towards the Stars, but certainly not as drastic. The 5-on-5 numbers are even closer with the Stars winning the xG battle by just 1.79 in the other six games.

All this being said, the series was kept close because of Vegas’ goaltending. Dallas outchanced Vegas in six of the seven games with Vegas grabbing a 30-29 edge in Game 6 to keep it from being all seven. VGK led in expected goals just twice in the seven games, both games they won. What kept the Golden Knights afloat was high-danger save percentage.

The Golden Knights scored on 13% of their high-danger chances, about six percent worse than they did in the regular season. The Stars converted on just 8.16% of their high-danger chances, after they led the NHL in that stat in the regular season scoring on 22% of their chances. Each team scored eight goals in high-danger situations while the Stars generated 36 more chances.

Logan Thompson and Adin Hill combined for a .918 save percentage on high-danger shots in the seven-game series. For context, the highest rate a team has posted in the last 20 seasons is .865. Even last year, when Vegas went on to win the Stanley Cup behind excellent goaltending and defense, the number was just .843.

In the end, the Golden Knights were indeed one goal short of winning the series and moving on to the second round. They didn’t defend as well as they could, they struggled to find clutch timely goals, and many of the top performers never found their footing. But, the goalies were excellent, and that’s the only reason it felt as close as it did.

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  1. ThG

    stats don’t mean shit

    VGK was one missed shot, (you listening 81) from
    VGK gaining the momentum and taking game 7. Well, two, no. 9 could not elevate.

    Stats tell you where you have BEEN
    where you are going.

    • ThG

      VGK made too many bone headed penalties, forgot to add that.

      • Vic

        Penalties at the worst possible times…Petro and others. Timing is everything. Those penalties changed games on a dime. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

      • Two very costly penalties by one individual that cost them two games.

    • Kevin C

      Wholeheartedly disagree.

      If you filled your gas tank, drove 100 miles, and it’s now 1/2 empty, you’ll likely only get another 100 from what’s left. Stats analyze the past, and if nothing changes, it’s also likely how the future will play out … hence the definition of ‘trend’.

      They can indicate what needs changing. Ignoring stats is naive.

      • ThG

        “if nothing changes” we live in an every changing world. So your premise is demolished. Stats tell you where you have been , not where you are going. Your gas tank analogy is not a stat. It is bull shit and has nothing to do with sports.

        • Kevin C

          Oh come on … take it easy pal.

          I find it REALLY ironic that you, of all people, don’t like that I posted something that has nothing to do with sports. At least it was only an analogy … not a 5 page political dissertation that has no place on this site.

          The premise of using stats is merely to say that you can’t ignore the past if you want to change the future.

          Your political rants speak of the same thing.

      • Emmanuel

        The sample size is too small.

    • knights fan in minny

      good looking folks give them a room at the white house

  2. Having been involved in hockey for more years than I can remember it’s difficult to accept the idea that the number of expiring contracts left undone didn’t have a negative effect of the play of those involved. Uncertainty is never a positive when it comes to expected performance and could have been corrected for those the Knights intended to keep prior to start of playoff. Hopefully a lesson learned for the future.

    • Emmanuel

      You cant run a team like that with a cap. Its a constant churn.

  3. Pistol Pete

    Cassidy was clear in the year-end media event that the DAL stats were skewed as a result of game 3 (I would say especially the first 30 min.). Except for game 3 he indicated the stats were basically even. I realize DAL still showed an edge over the average of the other games (per Ken above ) but for once I agree with ThG that what mattered the most were the goals missed by Marchy and Jack in game 7 plus key penalties in two other games. Cassidy also mentioned the two puck luck goals in game 4. I also point to Hanifin nearly scoring in the closing seconds of regulation game 3. A very close series. VGK was not quite up to speed. Too bad because their roster and how they execute is/was about the best in the league imo. Next year is up in the air given that Stephenson, Carrier and Amadio will be gone (probably).

    Highly recommended:

  4. Pistol Pete

    Agree w/ ThG that more important than the stats is how the games played out as far as missed goals by Marchy and Jack game 7 plus key penalties in a couple other games. I have also pointed to Hanifin nearly scoring in the closing seconds of game 3 to go up 3-0. Too bad VGK could quite get up to full speed because they had the potential to repeat.

    Highly recommended:

  5. Pistol Pete

    Sorry in advance for the redundancy if my last two posts survive moderation,

    • ThG

      did you put barbed wire across your last two posts in the back yard.


      • Pistol Pete


        They each link the year-end media by Cassidy and McCrimmon. Cassidy goes into some detail on the stats favoring DAL but says they were skewed by game 3 with the other games being close. Basically how I already had it figured. I agree with you on the near goals game 7 and the key penalties the other games. I also wanted to reiterate how Hanifin nearly scored in the closing seconds of game 3. A very close series.

  6. I was on a cruise so I could only follow through game wrapups on you tube and through comments expressed here.

    I did see Game 3 before we left and was exasperated on how we played but Logan kept us in the game quite miraculously, and yes I agree PP Hanifin’s shot wasthisclose to making it a 3-0 series…sigh!!…same exact location virtually same exact shot…sigh!!!

    I do think lack of familiarity and continuity were major factors too….BUT….the more I watch of these admittedly exciting playoffs, the more I KNOW to paraphrase ‘On the Waterfront’, we coulda been a contender!!…double and triple sigh!!!, our team would have been right there against anyone.

  7. Simmbo

    These stats are important. This article lays out the bare stats. However, combine these stats with the fact that a number of players were returning from time off due to injuries. Plus, Karlsson was not 100% due to an injury. The VGK had the personal & talent to advance. Yet, they needed a bit more time to gel together.

  8. Pistol Pete

    Canes drought is extended to 18 years.

  9. TS

    I knew Dallas was gonna be tough to beat, when I saw how the brackets lined up. I dreaded the match up, and here we are. Dallas IS the team to beat for the CUP this season. Hate to credit Deboer, but, it IS his team, so I give a big YUCK Shoutout to the Stars!

  10. Pistol Pete

    My call has been extend Marchy and Pav which may require trading Whitecloud. That would mean Stephenson, Carrier and Amadio are gone. Mantha too but he was just a rental and not on the regular season roster. He was basically a waste of draft capital unfortunately. It is possible McCrimmon if Marchy is not to be re-signed would trade Theo and acquire Guentzel who along with Marner are two high end forwards who are to be UFA’s. Marner is not so much a goal scorer. He’s well over a point a game for his career which Guentzel is not but Guentzel is significantly more a goal scorer. Marner is more of an assists guy. Marner is 27, Guentzel 29. I would say go with Marchy by whatever McCrimmon does I will defer to.

    • ThG

      PP dream on, Marner is a beast on ice, both an offensive force and good on D. 4/5. Marner stated more than once he wants to stay in Toronto.

      • Pistol Pete

        Not convinced you don’t sign Marchy and trade Theo to acquire an elite winger. Just throwing it around especially because I need to keep my mind open. I agree Marner and Guentzel are long shots. I do have faith in McCrimmon to make the right decision. Just so happens I always wanted Eichel as he did. Have to give myself some credit for being on the right side of that move from the beginning. Not everyone was.

    • knights fan in minny

      i think the canes will sign Guentzel he was playing with aho and that’s a hell of a duo

  11. Tim

    The best thing I like about the Knights is you never know what the hell there going to do. When we traded for Hertl at the trade deadline the NHL pundits were stunned none of hockey saw that one coming. The look on there faces was priceless. This off season you try to guess what the Knights will do and they’ll do the opposite. You have to love there creativeness. We’ve got defense up the ying yang we need offense goodbye Theadore hello ?. I’ve said it all year we were one boring team to watch far to many 2 goals or less games win or lose. Now you hockey experts who think that’s exciting hockey good luck because I saw very little entertainment value in the Knights this past season. Latest example game 82 pathetic Anaheim beats us 4-1 at home by losing we draw Dallas maybe the best team in the west.

    • ThG

      Timmah, once again you have mental block, there it is rolling on floor into kitchen. Let me get it and right it. Now you can see that VGK had most man games lost (due to injury) of any team. You seem to forget that. Playing AHLers make for duller game. That is why the NHL owners don’t want to have AHLers in the STanley Cup playoffs when team goes over sal cap. You can also see at the games, when there are a lot of kids in the stands that means the owners of seats can’t get rid of their tickets. Kids at games was unheard back in day. IT was mainly consisting of gents and ladies dressed up to the nines. No one brought their puky kids. The game is too violent with all blood and gore. Kids shouls stay at home, they don’t know what is going on. Prancing around like Jerry Seinfeld in his “man purse” yelling “look at me,look at me”. Bah.

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