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Golden Knights Thrive In Consecutive Games Against Same Opponent

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Party like it’s 2021!

For the first time this season the Golden Knights will play the same team in consecutive games. It’s a fairly rare occurrence in a normal season, but was basically the entire schedule in the COVID shortened 56-game 2021 year.

The Golden Knights host the Blues tonight at T-Mobile Arena before both teams travel to face off with each other again on Wednesday in St. Louis.

I’ve always enjoyed (consecutive games against the same opponent) for the rivalry part of it. Whatever happens tonight, one of the teams is going to be angry going into the next game and that can make for a better game. -Bruce Cassidy

This is the only time all year VGK will take on the same opponent in consecutive games, which is unfortunate because it’s a situation Vegas has thrived in over the years.

In the 2021 season the Golden Knights played 20 pairs of games that were two-game series against the same opponent. This does not count when the teams would play each other four consecutive times, which happened twice. 10 times both games were played at home and the other 10 both were on the road. Vegas’ overall record in those game was 29-10-1.

The Golden Knights were almost perfect in the first game of the consecutive home games. They went 9-0-1 with the lone loss coming in shootout to the Wild. They followed those games up going 7-3-0 in the second home game. It was a little tougher on the road that year as they went 6-4-0 in the first game and 7-3-0 in the second.

Of the 20 pairs of games, the Golden Knights won at least one game 18 times and won both 11 times.

Amazingly, the results are even better when this type of schedule quirk happens in a normal regular season. Since their inception in 2017, the Golden Knights have played the same opponent in consecutive games nine times. Their overall record in those 18 games is a stellar 13-3-2.

The first time we saw this was the second and third games in franchise history against the Coyotes. Vegas won in OT in Arizona and then came back to “beat the shit out of” the Coyotes in the team’s first ever home game.

The situation the Golden Knights find themselves in tonight and Wednesday is the one they’ve been best at too. They’ve had three home/road sets like this and they are 6-0-0 in the games winning both at home and on the road each time.

Nothing is ever guaranteed in the NHL, and the Golden Knights are going to have to continue playing like they have the last seven periods if they want to keep their success going in this situation. But, if they win them both, Vegas may have to start leading a charge to reinstate the 2021 schedule format.

After 7,990 Miles, 10 Flights, And A Lot Of Hockey, The Golden Knights Are Back Home

This plane isn’t the one they actually fly on, but you get the point. (Photo Credit: Allegiant Airlines Facebook)

The Golden Knights are finally heading home. After playing a majority of their games at home to open the season, the back half of November was quite travel heavy on the reigning champions.

Since the home game against San Jose on November 10th, the Golden Knights have played at T-Mobile Arena just once, in between five-game and three-game road trips. The 17-day nine-city span included two back-to-backs, four trips across the border, nine hockey games, and a visit with the President of the United States at the White House.

To say it’s been a jam packed few weeks would be an understatement.

The Golden Knights have spent just over 20 hours in the air, covering 7,990 miles on 10 flights before returning home for the weekend last night.

FlightDistance (miles)Time
VGK to WAS2,0664:24
WAS to MTL4891:25
MTL to PHI3941:14
PHI to PIT2681:00
PIT to DAL1,0672:31
DAL to VGK1,0552:29
VGK to CGY1,0392:28
CGY to EDM2460:47
EDM to VAN5041:27
VAN to VGK8622:22

Vegas wrapped up the grueling schedule with a record of 3-3-3, scoring 20 goals while allowing 26. Four of the nine games went past regulation meaning the team was on the ice for 552:49.

You know when you win (the Cup) everyone is asking about how are you managing the workload, how are you managing this, how are you managing that, and it’s like you know what, we’re hockey players guys, let’s just get to playing hockey. We’ll take our days off when we need them but let’s be Vegas Golden Knights and play our game. -Bruce Cassidy

The schedule doesn’t get too much easier in the month of December either.

Vegas is right back at it tomorrow night with the Capitals in town and then welcome the Blues on Monday. A quick two-game road trip ends with a road-home back-to-back against the Stars and Sharks. Calgary, Buffalo, and Ottawa come to Vegas before the Golden Knights head back across the country for the always difficult southeast trip to Carolina, Tampa, and Florida. Another back-to-back awaits the end of that trip in Anaheim and then at home against the Kings. Finally, the month is capped off with the premier regular season game of the year, the Winter Classic in Seattle.

I’m worn out just writing all of this. But, that’s the life of a hockey player, and knowing the guys on the Golden Knights, don’t expect to hear much complaining about it.

**Stick tap to Kevin C. for the travel research.**

Golden Knights Find Their Late Frame Scoring In Edmonton

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night the Golden Knights did something they hadn’t in their previous four games, they scored in the 2nd and 3rd periods. In fact, they did it twice in each. The reigning champs may have lost but they certainly rediscovered their offense in the final 40 minutes in Edmonton.

When you look at an 82-game season, whether we win the division by one or two points, these points matter. Even when you’re not playing your best hockey, you have to bank these points. -Mark Stone

Inevitably the Golden Knights were going to bump into some scoring slumps. Until last night’s four goal flurry, the Cup champions have had trouble finding the back of the net. Previously, the local squad was averaging as little as 0.75 goals per game.

VGK’s Late Frame Follies: 11/19 – 11/27

  • 0.75 Goals Scored Per Game
  • 2.00 Goals Allowed Per Game
  • (1-2-1) .375 Points %
  • 2 First Period Goals
  • 0 Second Period Goals
  • 0 Third Period Goals

Some have mentioned the lack of scoring in the opening 20 minutes. The Golden Knights are 22nd in the NHL in 1st period scoring, whereas they rank sixth with 25 middle frame goals. Since November 8th, Vegas has been below average in middle-20 scoring. Even worse, they’re 21st in 3rd period tallies. Up until last night, late game scoring this month has cost the Golden Knights attainable points in the standings.

However, after a 11-0-1 start coach Bruce Cassidy can live with a late autumn scoring slumber.

How we tied it was exciting for me because it was our third and fourth line that went out and scored the goals that we need to start scoring. It can’t always be your top guys. That’s why it feels like no matter who won the shootout, we still feel pretty good about leaving here. -Bruce Cassidy

For whatever reason, when offenses go belly-up the timing of the drought always seems to stand out. The two 2nd period goals Vegas scored put them in a position to force overtime and pick up a point. Most likely the reigning champions will find consistent success in all three periods like they did throughout October. More matchups with Edmonton will help with that.

This might be far fetched but there’s a strong chance Vegas would have won in regulation last night had they scored one more 2nd period goal. Time and time we’ve seen it happen, the Golden Knights are built to overcome a deficit whereas the Oilers are built for late game meltdowns.

211 Minutes And 14 Seconds Since VGK’s Last 5-on-5 Goal

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

5-on-5 dominance is the #1 reason why the Golden Knights have a Stanley Cup banner hanging from the rafters at T-Mobile Arena. In the 22-game playoff run, Vegas literally doubled their opponents’ output at 5-on-5 scoring 66 goals while conceding just 33. It was one of the most remarkable runs in league history as the Golden Knights outscored their expected goals tally by 16.53 and allowed 12.16 fewer than expected.

Vegas outscored their opponents in 17 of the 22 playoff games at 5-on-5 and only failed to score in one game, the Game 3 loss in the Stanley Cup Final.

Well, the tables have turned.

In the last 13 periods, so just over four games, the Golden Knights have not scored a single goal at 5-on-5. It’s been 211 minutes and 14 seconds of 5-on-5 action since Jonathan Marchessault scored against Philadelphia on November 18th.

During that stretch, the Golden Knights have racked up a sizeable 7.96 expected goals in their exactly 100 shots. They’ve had 87 scoring chances, 33 from high-danger, and have gotten 21 high-danger shots on goal according to, yet not a single shot has found the back of the net.

This is the longest streak of 5-on-5 futility in franchise history rivaled by only one other instance in which they have gone longer than eight periods. In 2019 the Golden Knights were held scoreless at 5-on-5 for 11 consecutive periods from October 15th to the 25th. It was over a span of five games, and oddly Vegas rattled off a 3-2-0 record in those games.

Prior to the current four-game stretch in which the Golden Knights have failed to score a 5-on-5 goal, there were two other instances this season in which they did it. A win at home against Montreal in shootout and a shutout loss at Washington. This season, the Golden Knights are now 2-3-1 when they don’t score at 5-on-5.

That record is a remarkably strong record considering what happened the last two seasons when they went scoreless at 5-on-5. In each of the last two seasons the Golden Knights went 0-8-0 when they failed to score a 5-on-5 goal. With the three times it happened in the playoffs and one more in 2019, prior to the shootout win against Montreal, Vegas had lost 20 consecutive games in which they were shutout at 5-on-5.

Vegas’ overall record when scoring 0 goals at 5-on-5 is 12-39-2 in the regular season and 0-7 in the playoffs.

Add it all up, and it’s really simple, the Golden Knights need to break this drought, and fast.

Golden Knights Have Been Unlucky In Finishing Rebound Chances

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Variance is a huge part of the game of hockey. It’s common for a team to have a week’s worth of games where they can’t buy a goal and then follow it up with a week where everything goes in.

One such place where variance can be extremely volatile from one game to the next is when examining rebounds. This season the Golden Knights lead the NHL in rebound shots with 59. They’ve allowed the 9th most in the league with 51. However, Vegas has scored just three goals on their 59 rebound shots while allowing six on the 51 they’ve given up. These numbers currently have the Golden Knights in the bottom five in the league for the fewest percentage of goals scored by rebound and the highest percentage of goals allowed.

It could be a good example of something that is likely to regress to the mean as the season goes on.

That being said, these numbers aren’t new for the Golden Knights. In their six completed seasons, Vegas has finished in the top five in rebound shots four times, but have only finished in the top five in rebound goals once. Also, Vegas has been in the bottom five for the highest percentage of goals allowed from rebounds in three of the six years.

Here are all the rebound shot numbers including ranks for that particular season.

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First 15 Games Nearly Identical To Last Year’s

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are probably feeling a little deja vu about the start of their season. Last year they began Bruce Cassidy’s Vegas coaching tenure racing out to a 13-2-0 start, the best in franchise history. This year, they’ve nearly matched it with a record of 12-2-1.

Cassidy joked “we stink this year” at the most recent press conference as he reminisced about the similar starts.

Last year I thought we got to our game earlier better, our overall 60-minute effort. Our first seven or eight games (this year) were sporadic but we found ways to win. -Cassidy

The results-oriented stats look very similar between the two seasons, but the advanced metrics certainly lean toward Cassidy’s outlook.

This SeasonLast Season
Points Percentage.833.867
Regulation Wins910
Overtime Wins03
Shootout Wins30
Goals For5557
Goals Against3234
Goal Differential+23+23
Power Play20.4%23.9%
Penalty Kill85.1%73.5%
Shots Per Game30.533.4
Empty Net Goals42
Penalty Minutes14879
Minor Penalties5135
Expected Goals %48.756.9
Shooting %12.011.4
Save %92.892.5
Scoring Chance %49.157.9
High Danger %48.457.2

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Why Is VGK’s PDO Consistently Over 104, And Is It Sustainable?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

From the speed of play to the shape of the puck to the simple fact that the game is played on an unnaturally slippery surface, the nature of the sport of hockey lends itself to see outcomes determined by a fair amount of luck.

For years the stat nerds have tried to quantify the term “puck luck.” The idea is that once we identify what it looks like to be lucky, we can reasonably use the laws of variance to predict when a team will come back down to normal.

Baseball has been using these methods for decades. As the sport at the forefront of keeping and relying upon stats, it’s always been easy to see when a player is hitting .750 for a week, he’s probably going to regress in the near future.

That same idea is where our geeky friends came up with the term PDO. Like all good hockey stats, the name doesn’t make any sense. It literally doesn’t stand for anything as it was just a nickname of a blogger back in the early 2000’s. The stat is basically a measurement of puck luck as it adds shooting percentage and save percentage. The idea is that every shot results in a save or a goal, when you add them up for all teams the league average will always be 100%. So, a team or player with a PDO above 100 is lucky and expected to regress while a number under 100 is unlucky and expected to get better.

Why do I tell you all of this? Well, because the Golden Knights have been on an incredible run of fortunate PDO to start the season. They currently sit at 104.3 at 5-on-5 which is 2nd in the league behind the Vancouver Canucks (108.8). That means regression is coming. Right?

Hold on a second.

In the playoffs last season the Golden Knights won 16 of 22 games en route to winning the Stanley Cup and never faced an elimination game. They did it with an incredibly lucky PDO of 106.5.

Last year, after the All Star break, those same Golden Knights went 22-4-5 to win the Pacific Division and clinch the #1 seed in the Western Conference. They did it with an incredibly lucky PDO of 104.1.

Let’s recap. 104.3 this year. 106.5 in the playoffs. 104.1 in the latter half of the season last year. Some (most) would say this is unsustainably lucky and the team is in for a major regression in the near future. I’m a little more skeptical of that and have been beginning to wonder if maybe this is a trend more so than a blip.

Admittedly, I’m a believer in PDO for the most part. The current Vancouver Canucks, yeah, I think they’re going to regress big time. So typically, I’d see the numbers for Vegas and think the same. But, the numbers have stayed in the “unsustainably lucky” category for far too long to keep fitting this team into the same box as everyone else.

So, I set out on a mission to figure out why, or maybe how, the Golden Knights are doing this, and more importantly, if it’s sustainable.

After digging into the numbers in all sorts of different ways, the first part of the explanation as to how the Golden Knights have maintained a strong PDO is the location of the shots they take compared to the ones they allow.

Let’s start by looking at this year’s numbers. On the season, the Golden Knights have taken 269 shots on goal while allowing 306. Here’s where they’ve come from.

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Golden Knights Carry Sterling Record In 2nd Game Of Home/Road Back-To-Backs

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the first time this season, the Golden Knights will face the dreaded back-to-back situation. This is the first of two in which Vegas travels from home to the road for the second game. The home/road pattern of games has been incredibly successful for the Golden Knights in the past.

They’ve done it 11 times in franchise history and have walked away with a win in the second of the two games in 10 of them. In fact, the Golden Knights have never lost the second game of a home/road back-to-back in regulation with the only loss coming in 2019 to the San Jose Sharks in overtime.

VGK have won seven consecutive games in this situation including two in a row when they dropped the home game before hitting the road.

Vegas have been pretty dominant in back-to-back situations across the board in their history too. They’ve played in a total of 62 back-to-backs and have won the second game 33 times. They’ve recorded at least a point 42 times and have a points percentage of .605, the third-best in the NHL since 2017.

Recently though, the results haven’t been as strong. Last year the Golden Knights went 2-2-3 in the second game of the back-to-back which was better than the year before when they went 3-5-2.

Tonight’s game in Los Angeles is the sixth time the Golden Knights have traveled to LA to play the latter half of a back-to-back. Vegas have come out on top in three of the previous five and have earned a point in four with an overall record of 3-1-1.

Add it all up, and while the situation looks pretty bad on paper, the Golden Knights have historically come out ahead in it more often than not. Throw in the fact that Bruce Cassidy challenged the team after last night’s game saying they “didn’t execute at an NHL level” and the expectation is we should see a much better version of VGK than we did at T-Mobile Arena on Nevada Day.

NHL Edge Data Shows VGK’s Hardest Shot, Fastest Skater, And Most Distance Travelled

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After years of teasing it, the NHL has finally released the advanced stats gathered from player and puck tracking data. All of the stats can be found at including team, skater, and goalie specific numbers.

One of the most interesting numbers tracked is distance travelled. Jack Eichel led all Golden Knights last season travelling the most distance in a single game. On March 3rd against New Jersey, Eichel skated almost four miles in his 23 minutes of ice time. He finished the game with a total distance of 3.89 miles travelled, almost a full mile more than the league average of 2.92 per game.

Eichel also led the team in distance travelled per 60 minutes played. Brett Howden was a close second and Paul Cotter leads the pack so far in 2023-24.

(Measured in miles)2022-232023-24

Another good piece of data is the hardest shot. Sine the data has begun beign tracked in 2021-22, the Golden Knights have seen two shots recorded at over 100 mph. One by Alec Martinez last year, and one by Nic Hague against Anaheim this season. Eichel, Dorofeyev, and Amadio recorded the hardest shots by forwards last season.

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Golden Knights On Historic Run Since All Star Break

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After the Golden Knights made it five straight to open the season last night, this tweet was making the rounds on whatever they call Twitter nowadays.

I just wanted to take a moment to highlight it because of how insanely ridiculous it is. The Golden Knights have won 47 of their last 62 games. Just that alone, let that sink in for a moment. Then, consider that 16 of the 47 wins were in the playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup. It’s out of this world.

The Golden Knights have won 20 games by at least three goals in the last 62… they’ve only lost 15. In fact, they’ve won more games by at least four goals than they have lost by more than one.

Won by 1: 17
Won by 2: 6
Won by 3: 10
Won by 4+: 10
Lost by 1: 8
Lost by 2: 1
Lost by 3: 3
Lost by 4+: 3

What makes it even crazier though is the balance in which the Golden Knights are doing it. Of those 47 wins, five different goalies have won games including two in the playoffs.

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