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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 34)

4 Points Out On November 1st Is A Bad Sign For VGK

None of these odds consider the return of #88. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last season we brought awareness to one NHL benchmark backed by historical data that can predict which teams make the postseason. The (American) Thanksgiving Day playoff marker is a good measure for a team’s future success. The turkey day study suggests teams that are sitting in a playoff spot by Thanksgiving have a very high chance of competing for the Cup.

A more nail-biting trend is the November 1st, benchmark that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman often brings up. NHL teams four or more points out of a playoff spot by 11/01, have roughly an 18% chance of making the postseason. Since 2005-06, 47 of 58 teams that were 4+ points out of the postseason spot by November 1st, missed the playoffs. That’s a whopping 82% of teams that their fate was determined by the beginning of November. Unfortunately, that’s where the Golden Knights were, and still are as of this moment.

Just keep working at it. It’s the same old cliché every coach says, but that’s what it is. Keep putting pucks there, we are out chancing and more shots than most teams, but we just got to get hungrier. -Gerard Gallant

On November 1st, the Golden Knights had a record of 5-7-1 (11 points), good for seventh in the Pacific Division, and four points out of a playoff spot. Along with Vegas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, and St. Louis also were 4+ points down. 82% means four of those five teams are already eliminated, while one still has a shot.

Last season, Minnesota was the one that made the playoffs after being caught in the post-Halloween vortex.

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Golden Knights vs. Hurricanes: Must-Win?

Yeah, this is how we feel about the season so far too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We know this term gets thrown around WAY too much, especially when it comes to Game 14 of an 82 game season, but if the emotional leader calls tonight’s game against the Hurricanes a must-win, it must be a must-win.

It’s a big game for us. We definitely need to win. -Jonathan Marchessault

Okay, fine, he didn’t say must-win, but “definitely need to win” is close enough for me. It’s kind of unimaginable, that on November 3rd we’re talking about important games for the Golden Knights, but this is reality when a team is already four points out of a playoff spot and have their bags packed for a four-game road trip to the other side of the continent.

This is a team with expectations. We set the bar high for us. We know it’s going to be harder, but it’s nothing we can’t handle as a group. -Marchessault

It’s not just the two points that the Golden Knights want, it’s more that this team is a franchise that’s experienced nothing but winning, and they are sick of losing.

If you’re ready for a game, they better be must wins. I hope guys think this is a must win game. Not because it is, but every game is a must win. -Gerard Gallant

He said “must-win!” Well, really, he said it is, then said it isn’t, then said it is again. So… I think I like what Marchy said better.

In Florida, Marchessault and Gallant faced a slow start which ultimately costed Gallant his job. While we’re nowhere near that situation here, the bigger point is that Panther team was never able to regain a playoff spot.

This is definitely a slow start. We’re not where we want to be. Nobody is going to feel bad for us. So we got to get out of this hole, keep battling and turn our luck around. -Marchessault

Tonight is the perfect spot for #81 and his teammates to turn things around. Carolina comes in with an acceptable 6-5-2 record, but have lost three straight including an overtime tilt in Arizona last night. Carolina fell into a 3-0 hole in the 1st, only to climb back to tie it, and then lose in OT.

We’ve been told there’s a locker room full of leaders. So I’m sure it’s eating at each and every one of them to come home from their road trip empty-handed. Tonight is a game that could help the Golden Knights set themselves straight. And I’m sure that’s the message Marchessault is spreading around the room.

Top Line Doing It All, But That’s Okay

If the top line scores, the Golden Knights usually win. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

At this point last year, William Karlsson had 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) and was on pace for 52 points. He ended up with 78, averaging 0.95 points per game. This season, Karlsson has 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) through 11 games, scoring 0.82 points per game. At this rate, he’s projected to reach 68 points, 17 points ahead of last year’s pace less than a month into the season but 10 short of his final tally.

If you’re generating chances, it means you’re doing something right. We just have to execute a little more and get them in the net. I’m not worried. Our line is doing pretty well. -William Karlsson

Karlsson confidently assured fans not to be concerned about the team’s lack of scoring, as long as his line generates scoring chances. Something the Golden Knights top line does game in, and game out. Could they have more goals? Sure, but the entire team should as well.

The top trio has 25 combined points and the rest of the team has 32 total points.

The real panic button would be if we didn’t create anything. As long as you’re generating chances, eventually it’ll come back and the puck luck will be there. -Karlsson

Can the top line do it alone?

The Golden Knights are 5-3-0 this season when their top line scores. Last season, Vegas’ record was 46-15-4 when Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith or Karlsson registered a point. Looking back, it feels like the top three did do it all.

In 2017-18, Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith combined for 16 game-winning goals and recorded 213 of the 711 Golden Knights points. Just like the star Swede, Vegas’ coaching staff isn’t concerned about top lines production but would like more scoring balance throughout the lineup.

There are good things happening for our team. We look at the stats after the game, and the stats look good, the shots are going towards the net. The analytics are good but the wins aren’t good enough. But there are still lots of good things from this team. -Gerard Gallant

The buzzword around the locker room is execution. Players are aware 2.27 goals scored per game isn’t enough to have success in the NHL. Thankfully, the team can heavily rely on one of the best lines in hockey. Pretty sure the top line won’t mind. I think I can hear Marchessault tapping his stick for the biscuit right now.

Tuch’s Return Need To Spark Power Play

One of the slickest PP goals of the year came against San Jose and it was all Alex. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With Alex Tuch back in the lineup tonight against Vancouver, maybe, just maybe the Golden Knights will start scoring power-play goals. The Golden Knights are just 2 for 24 with the man advantage. That’s not only last in the league in percentage at 8.3% (next closest is Nashville at 9.7%) but it’s also the fewest number of PP goals of any team as well. Not putting any pressure on Tuch, but he kind of needs to be the missing link that completes both PP units.

The Golden Knights had a total 53 power play goals last season, tied with San Jose and Vancouver for 12th best in the league. It was roughly 0.65 power play goals per 60 minutes. In 2018-19, the Golden Knights are on pace for 21 power play goals. Scary drop off right?

The difference with Tuch is the lineup is pretty stark.

Old PP Units
Marchessault, Karlsson, Smith, Pacioretty, Hunt
Haula, Eakin, Hyka, Miller, Theodore

New PP Units
Marchessault, Karlsson, Smith, Tuch, Hunt
Haula, Pacioretty, Hyka, Miller, Theodore

Huge difference.

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Pacioretty Frustrated He’s Struggling To Find Chemistry On 2nd Line

It’s tough to understand the amount of pressure professional hockey players take on throughout an entire season. It’s a grueling 82 games and if a player or team is struggling they get bombarded with negative questions picking on every little detail. Sounds stressful right? Now triple that for players in feverish markets like Toronto, New York, Boston and Montreal. That’s been Max Pacioretty’s life for the past decade, so after seven contests and only goal scored it’s not surprising he’s feeling the frustration.

Our line has been struggling, so we have to find that chemistry a bit more. We need to make life easier on each other out there. It’s frustrating, because we haven’t produced at all… but we’ll get it going. -Max Pacioretty

Part of the problem is the plan of who Pacioretty was supposed to play with hasn’t exactly been followed.

My two linemates (Paul Stastny and Alex Tuch) got injured right at the start of the year and that makes it hard. I haven’t found that chemistry yet.”-Max Pacioretty

Haula and Pacioretty have been skating together since Tuch’s injury on September 30th, yet it still hasn’t clicked. When might it?

Never been in this position. Played ten years in one spot, so this is all new to me. -Pacioretty

The veteran winger knows he’s a dangerous weapon and if he’s not scoring, in his eyes he’s not doing his job. Which requires him playing consistent minutes. That didn’t happen for Pacioretty or the second line against Buffalo.

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Defense Feeling Confident; But Know They Can Still Be Better

Fleury is a big reason for the defense’s confidence. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s obvious the Golden Knights are glad to be back home in Vegas. Right from the start of practice on Monday, players were smiling and laughing as if their record was 4-2, not 2-4. It was business as usual from City National Arena.

It felt good to get another win. Helps start getting things going in the right direction. We knew we needed that one. -Jon Merrill

Merrill said the team responded well in Philadelphia after three lackluster performances. Defensively, the team played well and simplified their game plan allowing their goaltender to perform his magic and shut out the Flyers.

Like football, defensemen in hockey also take pride keeping the opposition off the board.

Absolutely, for Flower. To have a shutout and all of the big saves he had in that game, it’s unbelievable. We definitely take pride in getting those shutouts, but winning is the most important thing. We’ll take them anyway we can get them. -Merrill

The defenseman admitted there were costly mistakes against Buffalo, Washington and Pittsburgh. However, the amount of goals allowed isn’t the best way to evaluate team defense.

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George McPhee Discovers New Wave Beverage At Age 60

How has he never realized this!?! The guy lives in an ice rink! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you thought you drank too much coffee, then you’ll enjoy this great anecdote from NBC Sports’ Pierre McGuire. The ‘Between the Benches’ analyst joked about bumping into a fully caffeinated George McPhee at an early Vegas practice in Washington.

You know you’re supposed to go to the rink everyday and learn something new. So, I came to the rink today in Washington and I’m sitting there and it’s dark and I’m by myself. Then all of a sudden this really in shape 60-year-old man sits next to me, George McPhee. Maybe, one of the best dressed general managers in the league, and obviously one of the toughest. He was a nasty piece of business. –Pierre McGuire on TSN 690 Montréal

When an award-winning GM and a high-profile hockey personality are casually sitting together, you’d think they’d be talking about something important. You know, like VGK’s PP deficiencies or highly rated prospects like Erik Brannstrom. Nope, the two spent time together talking about what was in McPhee’s cup.

So he says to me, ‘See what I’m drinking?’ I said no what are drinking George? He goes ‘I’m drinking coffee. In all my years in the league I didn’t start drinking coffee until this year… I feel that it helps my workload.’ I’m not kidding you. I was stunned. -McGuire

Everyday jamokes like me, can’t function without a hot cup of joe, and with all of the pressure being an NHL general manager brings, McGuire was floored by McPhee’s newest (off the ice) discovery.

At sixty! At sixty he just started drinking coffee. -McGuire

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Golden Knights Lacking Offense; But Why?

No stats account for missing wide open nets though, and the Golden Knights have had their fair share of those through three games. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In their first three games, the Golden Knights are outshooting opponents 104 to 72 in shots on goal. The numbers are even more staggering when you include all shots, 197-125. That’s a Corsi For Percentage of 61.2%!  Yet Vegas is 1-2-0 and have been outscored in the only category that matters, goals, 10 to 5.

So the stats seem suggest Vegas had plenty of scoring chances in Buffalo but Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant didn’t agree following the game.

Well there were a lot of shots but I didn’t see many scoring chances to be honest with you. We had a few chances in the second half of the game but the first half I thought we were sound alseep. -Gallant

Sometimes Gallant can be a little emotional, irrational even, in the pressers after losses, so we decided to take a little deeper dive to see if the Golden Knights are indeed taking harmless shots, if it’s just been a case of tough luck early, or if it’s some combination of both.

According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Golden Knights had 22 scoring chances on 37 shots. That’s down significantly from the first two games in which Vegas had 33 (PHI) and 31 (@MIN) scoring chances. 22 is very low for the Golden Knights when compared to last year. Just 13 times did they have fewer than 22, including the other time they visited Buffalo. However, the Golden Knights went 8-3-2 in the games in which they had fewer than 22 scoring chances. So, that’s not a great indicator of success.

The next stat, and this is an odd one, is Corsi or Shot Attempts. Vegas outshot the Sabres 67-35 for a Corsi For Percentage of 65.7%. Only one time all year, including the playoffs, did the Golden Knights create a higher discrepancy in shots. That was the famous night before Thanksgiving game in Anaheim where they overcame a 2-0 lead to win 4-2. Vegas hit 64% or more five other times last season and they went a winless 0-3-2 in those games. In other words, massive Corsi differences does not equal success for the Golden Knights. Instead, it likely indicates they are forcing bad shots and inflating the numbers rather than working for good ones.

That brings us to the heat charts. Where are the shots coming from?

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Marchessault: “It’s All On Us” – But Was It Really?

Not much went right for the Golden Knights in the opener. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

No doubt about it, last night’s 5-2 loss to Philadelphia was an ugly start to the season.

They played a good game and we played a bad game, and that’s usually a bad mix. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

It’s all on us. The D has the puck and we didn’t give options on the wall, we were far from each other, we didn’t manage the puck well at both blue lines and just bad decisions the whole game. -Jonathan Marchessault

The Golden Knights will toss it away and move on to Minnesota like they normally do. After all, even though it was the first game of the season, it’s still just one game and a lopsided loss is the same as a close loss in the standings.

But the question certainly needs to be asked, how did the Golden Knights look so bad? Was it the Flyers stellar play or mistakes the Golden Knights made, and more importantly, is this something that might continue?

We need to be ready. This was definitely not good enough of an effort. Every night there’s a good hockey team, if we’re not ready we’re going to get spanked like we just did. -Marchessault

From the winning locker room, Philadelphia believed it was a combination of both their strong execution and Vegas’ miscues.

We took advantage of what we got. It was a solid game, we did a good job of creating opportunities. -Wayne Simmonds, Flyers forward

On the Flyers first and second goals, Vegas made costly errors from their defensemen and forwards. Jon Merrill made a timing mistake in the offensive zone which led to an odd-man rush on the first one, and Oscar Lindberg made an egregious backhand dump attempt that Philly picked off and stormed to the net to score the second. Both mistakes led directly to goals.

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Golden Knights Trivia Game: Who Am I?

Can you figure out who each guy is? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen) 

With the season opener just about a day away, we decided to have a little fun with you and play some trivia. We’ve put together a group of “Who Am I?” questions. We’ll give you a fact about a player, and you have to guess who it is we are talking about.

ANSWERS HERE

I’ve played a total of 154 NHL’s games, including playoffs but tomorrow will be my first opening night. Who am I?

My first NHL game was on opening night. I played great but my team lost. Look, we weren’t very good that season but we still had one of the greats on the team. We added another great the next year. We’re all still good buddies. Who am I?

Neither of us were drafted by the Bruins but Torrey Krug and I shared our first opening night game in 2013. Who am I?

I’ve been in Gerard Gallant’s opening night lineup for three straight years. I scored the first goal of the game in my first opening night appearance. Who am I?

In my first opening night game, my teammates Taylor Hall and David Perron registered a point. Surprisingly I had the most shifts on the team. Oh and opponent Deryk Engelland had roughly the same amount shifts. Who am I?

In my first opening night game, I played 3 minutes but spent more time in the SinBin for fighting Zack Stortini. I better get more than 8 minutes on Thursday. Who am I?

My first NHL game was on opening night. I had a second period roughing penalty. On my second opening night I scored a goal. In my third opener, I had a goal, an assist, a roughing penalty, a spearing penalty and a game misconduct. It was an interesting night. Who am I?

In my first opening night, I faced Nick Holden who was also playing his first opening night game. My second opening night, my teammate Zach Parise had a hat trick in a 5-4 win. My team was down 3-0 and we faced another central division team. Nick Holden was on that team too. Who am I?

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