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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 1 of 201

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.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 ST. LOUIS BLUES 4 (Round-Robin Game 2)

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.

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

Stephenson-Karlsson-Stone
Marchessault-Stastny-Smith
Cousins-Roy-Tuch
Carrier-Nosek-Reaves

Lines in 2nd and 3rd periods

Cousins-Stephenson-Stone
Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Roy-Stastny-Tuch
Carrier-Nosek-Reaves

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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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 DALLAS STARS 3 (Round-Robin Game 1)

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
PaciorettyKarlssonStone
MarchessaultStastnySmith
StephensonStephensonTuch
CousinsRoyRoy
TuchCousinsReaves
RoyNosekNosek
CarrierBrownBrown
NosekQuinneyKolesar
BrownDukeQuinney
QuinneyKrebsDuke
DukeKrebs
Krebs
Left DRight D
McNabbSchmidt
TheodoreTheodore
MartinezMartinez
HoldenHolden
MerrillWhitecloud
HagueEngelland
Coghlan

Introducing Our 2020 Playoff “Photographer”

Here at SinBin.vegas 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 SinBin.vegas 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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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 ARIZONA COYOTES 1 (Pre-Playoffs Exhibition Game)

Recap: It was the Golden Knights first game action since March, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the first period. Vegas played vintage Golden Knights hockey scoring two goals on special teams. Reilly Smith scored both goals, one shorthanded and the other on the power play. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all five shots from Arizona holding a 2-0 Vegas lead.

The score didn’t change after two periods of play. Fleury was sharp again, and the Golden Knights penalty kill unit did a strong job of shutting down the Coyotes PP.

Leading 2-0, the Golden Knights continued to control the game. Midway though the third period, Arizona finally snuck one by Fleury on the power play. Alex Tuch put Vegas ahead by two late in the game and Nick Cousins sealed the deal with seconds remaining. Fleury saved 22 of 23 shots and skated off with a 4-1 victory.

The Golden Knights play their first official playoff game on Monday against the Dallas Stars. It will be the first of three Round Robin games Vegas will play. Game time is scheduled for 3 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights looked like the much sharper team in the meaningless game against Arizona. It was excellent to see Reilly Smith puck up his great season where he left off. The Golden Knights weren’t great at 5-on-5, but they did enough getting the late goal from Tuch. All in all, not too bad for the only exhibition game. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • Get ready for A LOT of Shea Theodore ice-time

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Alex Tuch
* Reilly Smith

SinBin.vegas Podcast #203: Lie

Hockey is almost back. But, because the Golden Knights have a hard time telling the truth, we’ve got plenty more than just that to talk about. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Fleury first, does that tip DeBoer’s hand on his goalie plans?
  • What is really going on with Max Pacioretty?
  • Prediction time
  •  An in-depth discussion on the Dave Prior story (Begins at 1:31:03)
  • How the media in Vegas has created an environment that allowed, and still allows, the Golden Knights to lie.

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

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