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.
Lines in 2nd and 3rd periods
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
New centers on three lines, a completely new line around Mark Stone, the return of the old first line, and a 3rd line that on paper is as good as the Golden Knights have ever fielded.
You can get that little jolt of energy, change things up, get a new look, we found our game in the 3rd, it was almost picture-perfect for us. -Stone
This is DeBoer’s style and it’s one he’s going to become more and more aggressive with as the games ramp up in importance. He won’t hesitate to “shuffle the deck,” he’s not afraid to bench a player, and he’s certainly not going to shy away from making a change at the most important position, between the pipes.
In this game, it couldn’t have worked better.
You keep hoping they’ll work their way out of it but it wasn’t happening. It didn’t work immediately in the 2nd period, we didn’t get a lot of results from it but we were really good in the 3rd. -DeBoer
A lot has changed for the Golden Knights since that fateful day when DeBoer’s Sharks put an end to season two. The time has finally come to see if those changes will reap the rewards the front office intended.
So far, so good, the pitchforks remain stowed away in the shed, but with the bar set incredibly high and an aggressive decision-maker at the helm, they’re always going to be within arm’s length for the next two months.