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Can Vegas Avoid Vancouver’s Shot Blocking Defense In Game 3?

It’s no secret the Golden Knights like to shoot, a lot. In Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks, Vegas took 40 shots on net. Not only were the Golden Knights peppering shots on opposing goaltender Jacob Markstrom, but also the ankles, arms, and legs of the Canucks skaters. At the conclusion of their 5-2 loss on Tuesday, Vegas attempted 93 shots; 2 goals, 13 missed the net, 38 saved by Markstrom, and a whopping 40 blocked by 16 Canucks players.

That shows how unselfish we are. Everyone sticking together and doing the dirty work. I know it’s not fun and you see the ice packs after games. As a goalie I appreciate that. -Jacob Markstrom, VAN goaltender

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Playoff “Photographer” @BadSportsArt)

The Canucks set a franchise playoff record with their 40 blocked shots in Game 2. Vancouver’s desperation mode kicked in and players paid a physical price in tying up their seven-game series 1-1 with Vegas. The Canucks were fearlessly getting in the way of shots, frustrating some of Vegas’ most lethal shooters like Max Pacioretty and Shea Theodore. Both had points in Game 2 but were victimized by Vancouver’s wall of defense.

Game 2: Shea Theodore
14 Shot Attempts
8 Shots on Net
6 Blocked Shots

Game 2: Max Pacioretty
15 Shot attempts
5 Shots on Net
7 Blocked Shots

Game 2: Alec Martinez
8 Shot Attempts
0 Shots on Net
6 Blocked Shots
2 Missed Shots

Those were the three most affected by Vancouver’s block party, but overall 13 of Vegas’ 18 skaters had at least one shot blocked. All six Golden Knights defensemen were on that list, compiling 23 shots blocked from the blue line. Vancouver cut off point shots with their bodies limiting dangerous shots through traffic. Otherwise, Vegas’ big forwards would pluck a rebound or deflect a fluttering puck into the net.

This wasn’t the first time Vegas was victimized by a heavy shot-blocking defense. Including the playoffs, it was the twelfth time Vegas had 20 or more shots blocked in a game this season. In the regular season, the Golden Knights were 4-3 in those games. So far in the playoffs, Vegas is 3-2 when opponents block 20 or more shots. Chicago blocked 32 shots and won their only game of the series 3-1.

So how can Vegas fix the problem? Mark Stone said is starts with making quicker decisions.

Shoot quicker, find those lanes. You just have to keep wearing them down. The quicker you move the puck, get them moving, that’s when you create lanes.-Mark Stone, VGK forward

The next way to avoid dozens of shots is to clear paths for defensemen to get shots on goal. Remember, more than half of Vegas’ blocked shots came from the point.

I’m not going out on a limb here but I doubt Vegas will need to worry about their shots being blocked 40 times tonight. It’s unlikely the Canucks break their new franchise record, but they’ll attempt to. It might be the only way to defend against the Golden Knights.

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14 Comments

  1. Who starts in goal. VGK

  2. DOC aPositiveFan

    If the “all out” boys show up tonight, we WILL win this game … regardless who is in the net! GO KNIGHTS GO !!!

  3. Daryl

    What’s more telling is high scoring chances. We out shot them by a ton but I believe we only had 1 more high scoring chances.

  4. SGKonVGK

    Keep Firing. Yes they have to create more open looks and like Stone said make quicker decisions. But blocked shots is no reason to become gun shy.

    The Knights had 34.5 Shots For per game in the regular season to lead the league and it got them the first seed. Don’t change your identity, just execute on it.

  5. sb

    Success comes when the shooter is prepared to take the shot immediately. Brett Hull was such a great goal scorer because he constantly set himself up to take the one-timer. He was always ready to shoot. You see it in the power play. Great passes that 50% of the time end up where the shooter is not set to take the one-timer giving the goalie time to reset. The right and left winger and D-man at the top must be ready to shoot one-timers that result in goals or rebound opportunities.

  6. If goales aren’t screened there is a better than average chance the shot regardless where it comes from will be stopped. Go back and look at goals vegas has scored if you have any doubt. If l am not mistaken Vancouver had half the shots and won the game. Does that imply vegas defense is not as serious as Vancouver to help out their goalie. Just a question

    • Daryl

      Bring back Engo to block shits and get in shooting lanes 🙂

    • Julie

      HD, I heard Stone say that their confidence comes from their goalies. Is it possible they rely too much on them? I don’t think that’s what he means by that, but they do depend on each other. I hope it goes well tonight!

  7. DOC aPositiveFan

    15 minutes to game! Damn what a big game!! Come on boys, kick their ass!!! GO KNIGHTS GO !!!

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