If you heard the comments coming out of the Golden Knights’ locker room last night you may have thought they just lost a few games in a row. Instead, they had just finished off their 9th win in the first 10 games of the season and accumulated all but one of the 20 available points to start the season.
The bar for this team is high, really high. Despite winning the game against the Canadiens, they weren’t happy with how they played, that they allowed nearly 40 shots, or that they let a team traveling across three time zones get off to a decent start.
This type of dissatisfaction has been common with the Golden Knights this season. Yet, all they do is win. Captain Mark Stone has a theory as to why they can play a game they find much less than their best and still come out on the right side of the outcome.
We hang in games. At worst, we give ourselves a chance to win every game. That’s kind of been the M.O. since the start of the season. -Mark Stone
Each of the last three games has gone beyond regulation, they trailed heading into the 3rd period against Philadelphia, and the four before that were all tied in the 3rd period. Thus, each of VGK’s last eight games, seven of which they won, were close games near the end.
Teams tend not to extend leads on it. That’s a good part of this group. -Bruce Cassidy
In the first 10 games of the season, the Golden Knights have only trailed by more than a goal on one occasion, a lead they quickly erased before even heading into the locker room for the 2nd intermission.
Even when we’re not on our A game we find ways to gut it out with our B game and then a couple of guys will step it up with their A game. We always have a guy or two to help us out of those lulls. -Cassidy
Last night, that was Adin Hill making timely saves after his gaffe in the 2nd period. It was also Chandler Stephenson who found William Carrier for the game-tying goal. And finally, it was Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault burying shootout goals to seal the victory.
Usually it involves some timely plays whether that’s a save, a penalty kill, or a goal. There are some of those plays that we’re able to make at the right time. We did that really really well in the playoffs last year. -Cassidy
Anyone who watches the Golden Knights knows this recent string of games isn’t the best they can offer. Yet here they sit, 9-0-1, leading the NHL in points percentage, and eight points clear of the next closest challenger in the division.
When they aren’t at their best, they hang around and win. When they are at their best, they win convincingly. Even on Halloween, that has to be terrifying for the rest of the league.