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Despite Dire Injury Situation, Golden Knights Are Still In Excellent Playoff Position

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have now lost four consecutive home games and four of the last five games overall. They’ve also posted a record of just 3-4-0 since the All Star break and truthfully haven’t played all that well in any of the seven games.

Mark Stone has been diagnosed with a lacerated spleen which will likely see him out for the remainder of the regular season, Jack Eichel has missed each of the last 15 games and is expected to miss at least a few more, and William Carrier, Pavel Dorofeyev, and Brett Howden are all out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. And on top of all of it, the Golden Knights are about to embark on their longest road trip of the season.

Trust me, I understand how anyone can read all of that and feel like the season is quickly slipping away. But, when you examine what the Golden Knights have left on the schedule and where they currently sit in relation to the rest of the Western Conference, it’s really not that bleak.

The Golden Knights have 25 games left to play. 14 of the 25 are against teams currently out of the playoff picture. On top of that, five of those 14 are against the five worst teams in the league and two more are against teams currently under a .500 points percentage.

Vegas have 70 standings points on the board. If they simply play at a .500 pace the rest of the way, they’ll have 95 points. To reach 95, one of the Blues, Predators, Wild, Kraken, or Flames must play significantly better in their final 25 games than they have all season.

St. Louis (Currently .554) – Must play .635
Nashville (Currently .544) – Must play .660
Seattle (Currently .527) – Must play .692
Minnesota (Currently .526) – Must play .700
Calgary (Currently .518) – Must play .720

Currently, no team in the NHL is playing at least .700 this season. Only five teams are above .660 and just nine are over .635.

As mentioned before, Vegas schedule is fairly light. According to Hockey-Reference.com, VGK have the 30th-ranked strength of schedule the rest of the way. Compare that to St. Louis, which is 15th, Nashville, 5th, and Minnesota 3rd.

And… all of this is considering not a single one of the other six current Western Conference playoff teams falls off. None of them are particularly playing well right now either. Zero of the current top three seeds in either the Pacific or Central have won more than five of their last 10 games and both of the wild cards have won exactly six.

Look, I’m not trying to say it’s impossible that the Golden Knights miss the playoffs, clearly, it is possible. But, it won’t just take a terrible 25 games of hockey from Vegas (which would actually be a lackluster 50+ game stretch from the reigning Stanley Cup champions). It also takes another team playing well above what they’ve done all season against much stiffer competition, and no other current playoff team hitting the skids as well.

They need to start winning a few games, and there’s no better time than this road trip to get back on track. But, even if the five-game trip goes terribly, they’re still in a great position to make the playoffs based on the schedule left in front of them. It’s certainly bleaker than it was a week ago, but it’s nowhere near as bleak as what many have made it out to be.


Oh, and, William Hill currently has VGK’s playoff odds at -2400. In other words, an implied percentage of about 96%.

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38 Comments

  1. Thank you Ken.. I have been espousing the same thoughts lately… once Jack returns things will start on the upswing.. then when a fully recovered Carrier returns so will Roy to the 4th line to solidify that line once again..we still need our other guys to step up… Cotter Amadio in particular..and whatever trade pieces will come our way..time to step up… the dog days are done.. time to start ramping and gearing up for the playoffs!!!

    • knights fan in minny

      what they need is the god damm injuries to stop

      • TS

        Kfim, damn right!#!#
        I think the team is getting pounded by other teams, but we have NO response, NO answer to it. I’ ve felt , as most of us have, that Vegas has been too soft. Reavo was that guy- the Enforcer. Every team needs that guy. We have lacked that for awhile.
        Maddening!!

    • Susan Pallotto

      Amadio is stepping up.
      He has scored 4 goals in 5 games. He is doing his part.

    • jdub

      I expect activity at the deadline. McManagers can swing at trying to build a new line for Eichel, especially if they elect to keep Roy and Barbashev together, which they likely will.

      I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them attempt to find at least one new winger for Karlsson, who’s been excellent all year when he’s been healthy. I like Cotter’s potential, but he’s still developing and we aren’t in a window where we can tank a great center by saddling him with a guy who’s still trying to figure it out.

  2. knights fan in minny

    tonight is a must win

    • DeezNutz

      It’s actually not a must win minny mouse but a win would be nice.

      • knights fan in minny

        learn how to spell dumb fuck loser

      • Richie-Rich

        I am looking at tonight’s game in the context of the remaining 25 games. Only 11 of those games, including tonight’s are against non-playoff teams. That’s why I labeled it as must-win. Sure, they could make it up by beating one of the 5 remaining top playoff spot teams. That’s “could” make it up.

    • Jack Wild

      WAAAY excessively harsh response a a fairly benign statement!

  3. JB

    I agree Larry. All that matters is making the playoffs. … Then, having a healthy team to start the playoffs with. Our team is built for the playoffs. It is not unusual for a cup winning team to kind of glide thru the regular season. It just happens. In the playoffs our team plays at a totally different level of intensity. I think if we add the right piece in a trade, we will be ready no matter what position we start from!

  4. What is further bullshit is… mackinnon effectively ends Nolan Patrick’s career without a penalty or suspension.. and trouba gets 2 game suspension and Pavel has already missed a month.. where’s the fairness in all of that???

  5. JB

    And yes Minny, we need to start this trip with a win tonight …….. period!

  6. Richie-Rich

    I posted this on another SinBin recently. There are 25 games left. 8 of those are against top teams. If they play .500 they will win 12 or 13 of the remaining 25 games, leaving them with either 94 or 96 points. I have marked 9 games as MUST WIN (MW) below. That leaves an additional 3 or 4 games that they must win against teams currently in, tied for or competitively within 2 points of being in.

    Will 96 or 94 points be enough to make the post season? Good question. Last year the Jets squeaked into the playoffs with 95 points as the 2nd wild card. In the Eastern Conference the Islanders and Panthers got in with 93 and 92 points.

    The standings certainly do favor the Golden Knights at this particular moment. Teams competing for the 2 wild card spots are the Kings (66), Blues & Predators (62 each), and the Wild (60).

    I think one could assume that, today, the VGK will at least have a lock on the 2nd Wild Card spot. We will revisit that after this road trip.

    25 2/24 A-OTT (MW)
    24 2/27 A-TOR*
    23 2/29 A-BOS*
    22 3/02 A-BUF (MW)
    21 3/04 A-CBJ (MW)
    20 3/07 H-VAN*
    19 3/09 H-DET**
    18 3/12 A-SEA (MW)
    17 3/14 A-CGY (MW)
    16 3/17 H-NJD (MW)
    15 3/19 H-TBL**
    14 3/21 H-SEA (MW)
    13 3/23 H-CBJ (MW)
    12 3/25 A-STL**
    11 3/26 A-NSH**
    10 3/28 A-WPG*
    09 3/30 A-MIN***
    08 4/02 H-VAN*
    07 4/05 A-ARI (MW)
    06 4/08 A-VAN*
    05 4/10 A-EDM*
    04 4/12 H-MIN***
    03 4/14 H-COL*
    02 4/16 H-CHI (MW)
    01 4/18 H-ANA (MW)

    As of 24 February, 8 of the remaining 25 games are against top 5 playoff teams, 4 are against wild card teams. The Wild are on the bubble in the West, making two additional games against teams contending for the playoffs. There are others, including the Devils in the East who are competing with the Lightning for a berth.

    It is clearly evident that the Golden Knights are in a funk, mostly due to a decimated roster due to injuries. The depth that we expected to be there isn’t showing up and the healthy defense is getting outplayed on a regular basis.

    In summary, while there is reason to have faith from a numbers perspective, the performance on the ice isn’t matching the projections. At least not right now.

    Clearly the team needs help and I fully expect something to happen via a trade, but I am very concerned about the cost.

    • JB

      Note: I said a week ago they would get 104 points. I still stand by that prediction!

      • Richie-Rich

        IF the VGK can win the 11 Must Win games they still would need 6 additional wins against playoff teams. THAT’S A BIG IF!

        Let’s, for the sake of the fun of it, say that do win all 11 of those. They’d need to win 6 against teams that are competing for a Wild Card. Those 6 games would be the following.

        3/09 DET (Home)
        3/19 TBL (Home)
        3/25 STL (Away)
        3/26 NSH (Away)
        3/30 MIN (Away)
        4/12 MIN (Home)

        If this happens, and they get 104 points, it will be a miracle. I wouldn’t put cash money on it. The likely scenario is 94 to 98 points at the most. It would be delusional to think that the VGK could play at a .680 winning percentage in the remaining 25 games. Right now, they are far far below that.

  7. Richie-Rich

    104 points equates to 34 more points. That would mean they need to win 17 of the remaining 25 games.

    That’s a .680 winning percentage.

    So tell me, which 17 games are they going to win out of the below 25?
    **Only Boston, Vancouver, NY Rangers, and Florida are playing at a .680 winning percentage. Go ahead, make a prediction. Give me your 17 wins.

    25 2/24 A-OTT (MW)
    24 2/27 A-TOR*
    23 2/29 A-BOS*
    22 3/02 A-BUF (MW)
    21 3/04 A-CBJ (MW)
    20 3/07 H-VAN*
    19 3/09 H-DET**
    18 3/12 A-SEA (MW)
    17 3/14 A-CGY (MW)
    16 3/17 H-NJD (MW)
    15 3/19 H-TBL**
    14 3/21 H-SEA (MW)
    13 3/23 H-CBJ (MW)
    12 3/25 A-STL**
    11 3/26 A-NSH**
    10 3/28 A-WPG*
    09 3/30 A-MIN***
    08 4/02 H-VAN*
    07 4/05 A-ARI (MW)
    06 4/08 A-VAN*
    05 4/10 A-EDM*
    04 4/12 H-MIN***
    03 4/14 H-COL*
    02 4/16 H-CHI (MW)
    01 4/18 H-ANA (MW)

  8. DeezNutz

    I think it’s time for Mark Stone to do the right thing and retire on LTIR. We can’t keep losing 9.5 million in cap space every season on an injury prone player who goes out randomly. Yes the timing is good because we can try to circumvent the cap again but what if he gets injured next season in October? There goes 9.5 million in cap space again because the player just can’t stay healthy the guy ruptured his spleen from a shoulder hit and last season Stone and Barkov innocently fall on each other and the guy needs back surgery. He’s clearly finished. Build a statue for him in front of T-Mobile and call it a day. We need to get younger, faster and more goal oriented moving forward. It was a good run captain.

    • knights fan in minny

      the right thing is for you to leave this site you whiney bitch no one likes you

      • Richie-Rich

        DITTO.

        The majority of your posts make no sense at all.

      • Jack Wild

        Kfim: cut it out w/the insults, already! Been following this thread 4a long time, & u hav some keen insights on the VGK. So please, in the interest of civility (& ALL of us being part of the VGK family), enuff. You’re better than that! Everyone has their own take & hav a right to express it in a harmonious fashion.

    • Richie-Rich

      This is a bit harsh. I had written him and Eichel off last season. I didn’t think Stone could come back or even play at a high level with his back injury. I also thought that it would take just one bone crushing hit against the Boards to end Eichel’s career.

      Neither of these things came to fruition last year. When healthy, there’s no better puck handler or player that can strip a puck from an opponent than Stone. His passes are always on the mark and despite his lack of speed he always seems to be in the right position on the ice.

      I’m not ready to throw in the towel on this player. He’s got another year or two left in him. Marchy’s contract is up this year. He is in the same position as Reilly Smith was last year. Will the FO let his contract run out and try to resign him next year to a short 2 or 3 year deal? Can Marchy perform at the same high level he has for 3 more years? It’s a good question, and it will be interesting to see what the FO is thinking by the trade deadline. Personally, I do not think Marchy is going anywhere. We simply do not have the necessary depth at Forward and I think Marchy’s spot on the roster is safe for the remaining of this season.

      On the other hand, we are deeper on Defense with Korczak and Cormier. I can definitely see the FO moving Martinez as one of the pieces in a trade for a good LW forward. The rest of the defense is safe in my opinion.

      There are some prospects that could be packaged with Martinez in a deal, but I wouldn’t include Korczak, Brisson, Dorofeyev or Cormier. Unfortunately, my #43 Jersey, Paul Cotter could be in a package deal. I am disappointed in his offensive production. However, to be fair, this is his first year at the NHL level full time. Things could work out for him. However, you can tell by history that the VGK front office doesn’t have patience (Glass & Krebs just to name 2).

      I put Martinez out there without looking to see what sort of deal he has in place (NTC, team restrictions).

      • Bill S

        The Knights have had more than their share of injuries this year and I hope they’ll be completely healthy for the playoffs like last year. However, I am wondering if their healthy defense corps is getting worn out by all the minutes they are putting in game after game. Watching them lately on tv, Pietrangelo, Martinez and McNabb in particular seem a step slow in their own end and are having problems getting the puck out in addition to turnovers in the neutral zone. This is going to have to be corrected if Vegas is to make a deep playoff run again. The return of Theodore helps and I would hope he can jump start the powerplay.

    • Jose

      Deez Nuts. I completely 1000% disagree with everything you just said. However, you are entitled to your opinion and I respect that and won’t insult you for it. There is a reason why Mark Stone is where he is and you and I are not NHL Stanley Cup Champions. I still can’t believe that he came back from two surgeries last year and had an incredible playoffs. I can’t in good conscience write off that warrior. He will be back and he will be scoring goals and having his amazing goal celebrations fire up the team. He is our captain.

    • Joe Knows

      Really? Really? Who would you want to replace him and his skill set.

    • Earl the Replanted Transplant

      I do not think Stoney needs to retire for the teams sake, dude can came back and be a force. That being said, he is still a young man, and he may want to consider it for his future health. He has a lot of life left and 40 is going to come pretty fast, I know when I hit that number I really started feeling all the injuries of my youth. He may have a couple good hockey years left, but what will the long term price be.

  9. Another example of why VGK is safe from missing the playoffs.. other teams have to win and make up ground.. Blues getting smashed today as our closest competitor.. everyone relax .. we WILL be in the playoffs… and rather easily!!

  10. knights fan in minny

    logan guarding the twine tonight

  11. ThG

    where are the whinny posters ? No Tim, no HD ?

    What a relief !

    gethca downers

  12. ThG

    lets take a look at strat ratings on some of high priced targets

    pavel B blues o 4 d 4, sd 2 , not bad break away 4

    gruentzal 4/4 , 1 both have break away of 4

    zucker 4/2/ 1

    mantha 3/2 1 breakaway 3

    dumba 2/3 3(sd) 2 breakaway

    vatrano 4/3/1 4 breakaway

    obvious the first two listed above are primo, and rate better than barby

    who is a 3/1/ 2, breakaway a 3 – all below Smith who was 4/4 /3 4 last year.

    duclair?? 4/1/1/ 3, a tad better than barby, but the worst stats of all on the list, pass. VGK will pay a prime price to get the top two, and will likely be out bid because they don’t have anything to offer in return.

  13. knights fan in minny

    why is roy cantering those 2 slugs

  14. knights fan in minny

    use the boards martini

  15. Zak Zwilling

    We stink right now…Stone or no Stone. We are getting punished and out hussled by mediocre teams and it’s no longer an anomaly lose at home. I’m tired of the excuses to be honest. We have the players to win games but it seems that same old problem where some players are spectators and waiting for someone else to make a play. They better get it fixed in a hurry or we will be watching the playoffs without the VGK. I swear this feels just like the year they failed to make the playoffs when they went on that slide at the end of the year and couldn’t beat anyone when they needed to. I could be wrong but it seems we are being set up for disappointment and changes next year that the fan base is definitely not gonna like.

  16. Richie-Rich

    Let’s not forget that the 3 forwards have to play defense too. In the DZ both defensemen are shielding the goaltender on either side of the net. It is up to the Forwards to disrupt the opponent and to keep them boxed out. The Forwards are also placing the defensemen in jeopardy when they turn the puck over constantly in the NZ causing rushes.

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