Last night in Boston the Golden Knights performed like a Stanley Cup contender. Jonathan Marchessault’s late score with 0.6 seconds left in the opening period fueled a multi-goal period and eventually win.
Late goals are starting to become a trend this year for the Golden Knights. Along with scoring early, last night was the 23rd time in which either Vegas or their opponent scored in the first two minutes of a period or the last two minutes of a period. Most coaches would call them back breakers, goals that shouldn’t have happened with little time off the clock or remaining.
Vegas earned 25 goals in those situations this season and it’s positively effected their record. The Golden Knights are 13-5 when scoring in the first or last two minutes of a period. Excluding empty netters, this season the Golden Knights have scored 21 early or late period goals.
Early/Late Period Goals
- First Two Minutes: 8 Goals
- Last Two Minutes: 13 Goals
- Last Two Minutes Empty Net: 4 Goals
Scoring early can deflate an opponent in lengthy competitive periods and a late goal can carry momentum through an intermission. Naturally, Vegas has been the victim as well. Some opponents have been fortunate to come back to win games because of early/late period scoring situations. Overall, Vegas is 13-10-0 when a goal occurs by either team in the first two or last two minutes of a 20 minute frame.
VGK’s Record Scoring Early/Late Period Goals
- Scoring First Two Minutes: 4-3-0
- Scoring Last Two Minutes: 10-2-0 (4 ENG)
In cases like yesterday’s game in Boston, one late goal at the end of the 1st period essentially sealed the game. The Golden Knights used every second in the opening 20 minutes to put them in a position to wisely run out the remaining 40. By no means did Vegas let their foot off the gas but being up 3-0 after the first intermission allowed them to play differently. Plus it crushed any confidence the Bruins had to catch up.
In several games these timely goals helped shift momentum towards Vegas’ direction. Here’s how situational goals have earned Vegas two points. Earlier this season the raveling Vancouver Canucks came to T-Mobile Arena and took a quick two goal lead. With :14 seconds remaining in the first period, Vegas scored on the power play completely turning the game around. That one goal propelled the home team to a 7-4 victory. A similar occurrence happened in Vegas’ second ever matchup against Seattle. The Kraken gave up three early/late goals and handed the Golden Knights another two points. And earlier this month against Dallas, Mark Stone tied the game :19 ticks into the 2nd period sparking his team to a 5-4 victory.
Early or late goals have bitten the Golden Knights this season on a few occasions. Carolina, St. Louis and LA all scored important goals to start or finish a period and went on to win by two or more goals. Being scored on at unexpected times impaired Vegas’ ability to control those games at any moment.
Giving up a goal early or late in a period is unacceptable to a coach. In their eyes players should be disciplined in the early or later stages. Inside of a frame is when most goals happen. Turnovers, long shifts and unpredictable deflections tend to happen as the clock ticks, so scoring or allowing a goal in the first two minutes can easily snowball into a flurry of chances. On the other hand, finishing periods with buzzer beaters will tend to settle or negate any upper hands.
Luckily, the Golden Knights are alert in those situations and regularly steal two points away from other clubs. You can normally spot these robberies when Stone turns red and lets out his emotions.