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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 2 of 229

Former Norris Winner Roman Josi Names Shea Theodore As Most Underrated Defenseman

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Here in Vegas, Shea Theodore is anything but underrated. On a team that spent nearly $62 million on a different defenseman this offseason, most Vegas fans would still declare Theodore as the best on the roster.

He’s grown into his role as a top-pair option, adding penalty killing and defending top lines to his resume, but Theodore’s bread and butter has always been his ability to generate offense. This season he sits in 3rd place on the entire Golden Knights roster in points with 42. He leads all defensemen by 13 points and he has more points this season than Brayden McNabb, Zach Whitecloud, and Nic Hague, three of the other five starters, combined.

Theodore has become the number one option on the Vegas power play, even taking the entire two-minute shift at times when Alex Pietrangelo was out. He’s currently in the Top 10 in the NHL in points (7th) and Top Five in points per game (5th) after missing a few games earlier this season.

Last year, Theodore had a monster postseason in the bubble scoring 7 goals and adding 12 assists to lead all VGK players with 19 points in 20 playoff games.

Recently, on the 31 Thoughts Podcast, the reigning Norris winner was asked to give his opinion on which defensemen are the most underrated in the NHL. He was offered the option to go with any player in the league and Josi, who plays a similar style of game to Theodore, picked Shea.

He’s more well-known now, because he had a really good playoffs and he’s having a good year this year. Even before that, I always thought he was an unbelievable skater and (had great) hockey sense. Great puck mover. Still underrated. –Roman Josi, Predators defenseman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

Not only is Josi one of the elite defensemen in the league, but he plays for a team outside of the Golden Knights’ division. In fact, the last time the Predators and Golden Knights played each other was February 1st, 2020. There’s literally been a global pandemic since the last time Josi shared the ice with Theodore, and he’s still the first name that comes to mind for the 2019-20 Norris Trophy winner.

This is incredibly high praise and very meaningful stuff coming from a superstar in the NHL. It still boggles my mind how the Anaheim Ducks chose to give Theodore away at the Expansion Draft when they could have let go of Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Brandon Montour, or Josh Manson instead.

Thank goodness they did though, because no one wants to envision the Golden Knights without Shea Theodore… maybe except for Roman Josi if they happen to meet in the final four.

MINNESOTA WILD 6 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 (36-13-2 74 PTS)

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Recap: It was a wildly entertaining 1st period in Minnesota. The Wild opened the scoring but Vegas would respond a minute later. First Shea Theodore tied the game and fellow defenseman Alec Martinez gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead on the power play. Both d-men recorded their 8th goals of the season. Minnesota tied the game but Vegas wasn’t done scoring. In his first NHL game, Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs threaded the needle and set Alex Tuch up for the go-ahead goal.

The high scoring continued into the middle frame. Mark Stone scored his 21st goal of the season to give his team a 4-2 lead. Minnesota would get one back but Jonathan Marchessault gave Vegas another two-goal cushion.

Minnesota scored midway through the final period and they weren’t finished. The Golden Knights gave up two goals in the final two minutes to blow their lead and lose in regulation.

Vegas’ record drops to 36-13-2 after their disappointing 6-5 defeat in Minnesota. The Golden Knights and Wild will face off for the last time on Wednesday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 5P PT.  (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It was a wide-open style of game, one the Golden Knights would usually like to avoid against the Wild but they were able to be opportunistic when their chances came and buried a bundle of them to head into the 3rd period up a pair of goals. The Wild broke through for three, including a pair late, in a game where the goaltending let the Golden Knights down. Very tough loss and a rare one for the Golden Knights. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center

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Where The Wild Have Found Their Success Against The Golden Knights

This season there hasn’t been much that’s been able to slow down the Vegas Golden Knights. They’re currently leading the NHL in points percentage, atop the West Division by four points, and have scored 58 more goals than they’ve allowed in 50 games.

There is one team that has tripped up Vegas, and it’s the team the Golden Knights are facing tonight. The Minnesota Wild have defeated Vegas four times in six meetings, taken nine points off the Golden Knights, and remain without a regulation loss on home ice against Vegas.

With two important games coming up and the potential for a playoff series on the horizon, I thought it would be good to dig a little into the stats of how the Wild have tamed the Golden Knights this season.

First, it’s started with the paltry power play that has had 17 opportunities but only struck twice. That’s good for an 11% success rating which includes a streak of 14 straight in which Vegas has come up empty.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Next, is where the goals have come from. Vegas has been unable to keep Minnesota from the goal crease while the Golden Knights simply haven’t gotten there enough. I wrote a full piece on that before the last series.

It’s the who that has me interested today though. In the six matchups the Golden Knights have scored nine 5-on-5 goals against the Wild while allowing 11.

Seven Golden Knights players have been on the ice for more goals against than goals for at 5-on-5 against Minnesota. Those players are Alec Martinez, Dylan Coghlan, Jonathan Marchessault, Keegan Kolesar, Nic Hague, Ryan Reaves, and Tomas Nosek.

Meanwhile, only five players have been on the ice for fewer than two goals scored by the Golden Knights. Nick Holden, Reilly Smith, Kolesar, Reaves, and Carrier.

This shows an issue in depth that the Golden Knights must account for, especially on the road, against the Wild. Minnesota’s bottom-six has had success against the Golden Knights both in the scoring department and the chance-generating department. Even Alex Tuch, who has been on the ice for six Vegas goals, has just 37% of the expected goals in games against Minnesota. Digging deeper, a majority of the success has come when the Wild identify mismatches. The Wild’s top-six have feasted on Vegas’ bottom-six in limited time against.

The hope is that the addition of Mattias Janmark will help curb that problem in these final two regular-season games. However, with both of them on the road, being mindful of matchups must be front of mind for Pete DeBoer in these two games.

In the last 10 games, which the Golden Knights have a sterling 9-1-0 record in, they’ve only managed to pick up one point in the standings on the Wild. There are four points at stake these next two nights, if Vegas wants to avoid Minnesota in the playoffs, they’ll need improved power play performance, a grittier effort around the goals, and their bottom-six to hold serve against a feisty Wild group.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 ARIZONA COYOTES 2 (36-12-2 74 PTS) – OT

Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: The Golden Knights came out strong responding well from their 3-0 loss in Arizona last night. William Karlsson gave Vegas the 1st period lead with his 14th goal of the season. The Golden Knights outshot the Coyotes 16-3 in the opening period and held a 1-0 advantage.

The Golden Knights top line doubled the lead early in the middle frame. Chandler Stephenson connected with Max Pacioretty who flipped a pass to a streaking Mark Stone. The captain’s 20th goal of the season gave Vegas a 2-0 lead.

Much of the 3rd period was spent in the neutral zone but the Coyotes were able to tie and send the game to overtime. Arizona took a too many men on the ice penalty and the Golden Knights took advantage. Jonathan Marchessault ended the game with his 15th goal of the year.

Vegas’ record improves to 36-12-2 after their 3-2 overtime victory in Arizona. The Golden Knights head to Minnesota for the next two games against the Wild. Monday’s puck drop is scheduled for 5P PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights were cruising through the first two periods but a few goofy hops and a couple undisciplined plays helped the Coyotes push it to OT. Vegas remains unbeaten in 3-on-3, which is likely the reason they are going to win the West Division. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena

  • Carp’s Sunday column

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Playing With Less Than 18 Skaters Less Than Ideal For Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This season the Golden Knights are one of the league’s best teams when playing shorthanded… after the game starts. They lead the NHL with an 86.7% penalty kill percentage and have allowed just 17 power play goals against, three less than anyone else in the league and nine fewer than anyone in the division.

However, there’s another type of shorthanded the Golden Knights have been battling all season due to the salary cap. Last night, after a late scratch of Jonathan Marchessault, the Golden Knights were forced to play with just 11 forwards. It became the third time this year Vegas dressed a lineup short of 18 skaters.

Last night, the Golden Knights’ offense was anemic. They barely generated anything in the offensive zone, they put up one of their lowest shot outputs of the season with just 25, and they were shut out for the 3rd time in 2021.

Unsurprisingly, playing with less than the allowed number of players has not gone well for the Golden Knights. In the previous two instances in which they played a player short, Vegas failed to win either. They came on back-to-back nights on the final day of March and the first day of April.

On March 31st, Vegas lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings. They controlled a majority of the possession in the game with a 60.4% Corsi but generated just two goals. In their own end, they gave up two 1st period goals and eventually fell into a 4-1 hole late in the 2nd. That game Vegas was without Ryan Reaves due to a late scratch and played with just two players on their fourth line.

The very next night, due to a suspension to Chandler Stephenson and an injury to Zach Whitecloud, Vegas was down to just 16 skaters. They chose to play 10 forwards and six defensemen. The Golden Knights got caught in a bit of a track meet with the Minnesota Wild but battled hard in the 3rd period to get the game to overtime. Vegas dropped the game in shootout.

Thus, three times out of 49 games the Golden Knights have been without a full complement of 18 skaters. They are 0-2-1 in those three games which leaves them with an incredible 35-10-1 record in the other 46.

It remains unknown what the Golden Knights roster will look like tonight as Marchessault’s status is up in the air and no other call-up has been made. If they play a man short, it could spell trouble once again. The good news is the buck stops on May 12th when the regular season ends. Once the playoffs begin, the salary cap disappears and roster limits are no longer in place. It might hurt Vegas between now and then, but when the games really matter, it’s the last thing Golden Knights fans need to worry about.

ARIZONA COYOTES 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 0 (35-12-2 72 PTS)

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Recap: The Coyotes got on the board first in Arizona. Midway through the opening period Vegas left an open man in front of goaltender Robin Lehner for the 1-0 lead. After 20 minutes of play the Golden Knights trailed by one.

The Golden Knights couldn’t generate any offense in the middle frame. Vegas took only six shots on net and couldn’t get one past Arizona goalie Adin Hill.

The Coyotes doubled their lead 1:30 into the final period. Lehner was unable to control the puck and Arizona pounced on the rebound. The game was sealed when the Coyotes scored an empty goal with over two minutes remaining.

Vegas’ record drops to 35-12-2 after their 3-0 defeat in Arizona. victory The two teams will face off again tomorrow night. The game is scheduled for 7 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights were faced with a trap game and they fell into the trap. Just didn’t have it in a spot where you’d expect them to possible not have it. Not a big deal… as long as it doesn’t happen again tomorrow. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena

  • VGK are great shorthanded, but not so great when shorthanded. (This will make sense tomorrow when I write it up)

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Less Than 100% Colorado Team Leaves Plenty Of Room For Debate

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night the Golden Knights beat the Avalanche 5-2 at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas cemented its spot atop the West Division, added a fourth win against their chief rival this season, and extended a winning streak that has reached double-digits for the first time in franchise history.

No matter what anyone says, nothing can, or will, take any of that away. However, that doesn’t mean people aren’t still going to say it, nor does it mean those people don’t have a point.

Missing their starting and backup goalies (Grubauer and Francouz), their second best player and one of the best the NHL (Rantanen), two more top-six forwards (Donskoi and Saad), a few depth forwards (O’Connor and Calvert), and two starting defensemen (Johnson and Byram), the Colorado team Vegas faced last night is a shell of the team the Avs expect to bring into the playoffs.

The Golden Knights went out and won the game nonetheless. It doesn’t change the six-point gap between the teams in the standings, and it certainly didn’t hinder Vegas’ chance to lift the Stanley Cup later this year.

But, all of that aside, it does need to be said, and that’s why you heard it from fans of both teams, from media, and even from those who played and coached in the game.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 COLORADO AVALANCHE 2 (35-11-2 72 PTS)

Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: The Golden Knights jumped on the Avalanche immediately in a highly anticipated game. William Karlsson scored :10 seconds into the game setting the tone for Vegas. Colorado fought back and eventually tied it at up 1-1. Marc-Andre Fleury was sharp in net stopping several quality chances from the Avalanche.

The scoring picked up from both teams in the middle frame. The Golden Knights regained their one-goal lead with a power play goal from Max Pacioretty. Captain Mark Stone gave Vegas a 3-1 lead scoring a nifty goal off Colorado’s goaltender Devan Dubnyk’s rear end. The Avalanche pulled closer later in the period trailing 3-2 after 40 minutes expired.

Max Pacioretty scored :55 seconds into the 3rd period to extend Vegas’ lead. Jonathan Marchessault ended Colorado’s chance to come back with a late empty-net goal. In net Fleury frustrated the Avalanche stopping every shot taken in the final period.

Vegas’ record improves to 35-11-2 after their 5-2 victory against Colorado. The West’s top two teams will face off again in another important game on May, 2nd. The Golden Knights take a quick trip south to play the Coyotes for two games in Arizona. Friday night’s game is scheduled for 7 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights shocked the Avs with an instant goal from Karlsson and continued to push early, but the Avs stormed back and took over for a good portion of the 1st and early 2nd. Opportunistic play, strong puck management, and great defensive sticks in all three zones helped slow Colorado down. Then in the 3rd, the Golden Knights locked it down brilliantly. This isn’t the fill-strength Avs, but the way the Golden Knights beat them tonight can work over a seven-game series.(Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena

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Film Breakdown: Mattias Janmark’s Direct Style Of Play

The newest Golden Knight has made an immediate impact in Vegas seeing time on both the 2nd and 3rd lines and contributing a goal and two assists in six games.

It’s the style of play that has impressed me the most though, and that’s exactly what I highlight in today’s film breakdown.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #232: Biggest Game Next

The Golden Knights have three days off before the biggest game of the year. We’re looking at that game, but also how it sets up for the inevitable playoff matchup coming later. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • The win streak
  • Reveal your cards against COL this time?
  • Communication key in goalie decision
  • VGK not backing Lehner publicly
  • What does this game against COL really mean?

And much more…

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