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Eight Straight Strong Periods Giving Belief The Systems Are Starting To Sink In

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After starting 1-4-0 to begin the season, the Golden Knights have ripped off six wins in their last eight. While the wins are crucial as key players remain out of the lineup due to injury, the way the Golden Knights have been playing has been just as important.

For the first time all season, last night Vegas put together a complete effort on both ends of the ice, allowing the fewest Grade A chances of the season while also generating enough in the offensive zone to sneak out four goals and overcome two deficits.

The game against the Kraken is another step in the right direction off what may have been their next best game of the year, ironically a 5-2 loss in Detroit. Vegas defended much better in that game as well but were bit by the penalty bug and an effective Red Wings power play. Before that, the final two periods in Montreal were as strong as we’ve seen from the Golden Knights this season.

We changed a few things in our system this year and that’s going to take time to adjust and I think now we’re starting to see it become second nature for us. You’re starting to see what we want to do throughout games with those systems. -Alex Pietrangelo

Whether fully healthy or not, the Golden Knights will go as far as their defensemen. Vegas’ offense is built through generating chances off the rush, often started or joined by a defenseman, and in-zone play that relies on shots from the point and activations from the blue line to keep plays alive.

That’s the important thing about our group, we play as five all over the ice, that’s our system. When we are doing that we are effective, when we aren’t we get a little stagnant in the o-zone. As soon as we start spreading out the zone and letting our D get some touches and create some opportunities, you can see the flow of our offense work and everyone gets involved. -Pietrangelo in postgame interview with ESPN

That wasn’t happening early in the season, and then when it began to over the past few weeks it seemed to lead to offensive zone turnovers and lost coverages both in defending the rush and once inside of the defensive zone.

It’s been a focus for us, we’ve been giving up a lot of those chances, a lot of second opportunities and rebounds and all that. Those shot totals, sometimes they have 50 but 20 of them are from right in tight and those are the ones we’re trying to get rid of because it’s just extra work we don’t need to give our goalies. -Pietrangelo

What has come with that is more effectiveness in the offensive zone as well. The less time and fewer chances the Golden Knights are giving up in their own end has meant more zone time in front of the opposing goalies. It works in harmony and when it goes the way it can, the Golden Knights look like the team that’s been to the conference final in back-to-back seasons.

There are now two questions moving forward. First, can they continue this string off better play, especially as they start to face teams much higher up in the standings than Montreal, Detroit, and Seattle? And second, how will the integration of the injured players back into the lineup affect the flow they’ve started to generate.

Everyone is hopeful on the first one, Pietrangelo is confident on the second.

If you look at the guys that are not playing right now, these guys have played several hundred games, they’ve played in the league for a long time and they are watching the games. It’s not like they are coming into it completely unknown. They’re watching the same things we are, they’re in the same meetings we are and when they come back they’ll be up to speed. -Pietrangelo

It’s been eight straight strong periods of hockey for the Golden Knights, which is a massive step in the right direction after 30 where they had a hard time stringing together back-to-back quality periods.

With five games left in this homestand, now is the time to really cement this style of play and become the consistent team the Golden Knights have been for the past four seasons.

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54 Comments

  1. Evan

    Detroit actually decently high in the standings.

  2. Daryl

    8 strong periods of what? VGK was out played in the 2nd period last night and if it wasn’t for the gimmie goal to Petra they would have been down. I didn’t get to see the 3rd but I heard the offense came alive in the 3rd. I also don’t think VGK played very well in the 1st period

    And either the last game or the one before they were greatly out played in the 1st period as well.

    But, as I stated before, a win is a win and these games against weaker teamsike Seattle need to be wins

    • Richie-Rich

      Outplayed by the Kraken as well. That makes 4 of 6 periods the Kraken have outplayed VGK. We are extremely lucky to be 2-0 versus them. Extremely lucky.

    • SMH

      Haha – it must be just KILLING you that Pietrangelo is playing so well! I love when you try to denigrate every time he scores or helps us win a game. I’m sure you never disparaged a goal by Mr. Journeyman Replacement-Level Engelland – well, all 8 goals (count ’em) that he scored (including zero in the playoffs) in 3 total seasons for VGK! Maybe Pietrangelo reminds you of your evil step-dad who did nasty things to you when you were a child? I really think you should see a counselor about that. Go, Petra, Go!!

      • Daryl

        No, what’s killing me is stupid posts like yours and the blindness and inept knowledge of hockey. Petra scores a goal and you completely forget about the turnover that cost VGK a game. Petra jumps up in the offensive zone and turns the puck over which leads to an odd man rush a mnd a goal, but since he scores a very weak shot from the blueline, you completely ignore it.

        Yes Engo is my favorite player, but I’m not exactly sure what that has to do with anything? When ppl bring him up and try to insult me it shows ow pathetic they are and proves they don’t have much of a point. Engo made $700k a year and Petra almost $10m,so what exactly are you trying to compare???

        Try coming back at me when you actually have something. Like when Petra starts scoring on the PP which is one of the main reasons he was brought in

        • HaHaHa – you are sooooo upset that Pietrangelo is playing awesome, dating back to last year’s playoffs! I have called you out as a hater, and you know it’s true!! Engelland got paid exactly what he was worth = league minimum. Pietrangelo is paid $8.8M (not “almost $10M” – it’s a weak move when you exaggerate the facts) because he is a top 20 defensemen in the entire NHL and captained a team to a Stanley Cup title. Not sure why you hate him so much, but it clearly goes beyond his play for the Knights, which has been overall very solid & strong late last year and this season, playing a huge amount of minutes. Please find me some actual hockey people or NHL journalists who disagree with that (hint: you won’t). There are too many people (especially those who feel they need to post constantly on this board) who have irrational dislike of Pietrangelo, Lehner, etc. simply because they are not original Misfits. Try to be more objective and less subjective (e.g. “very weak shot from the blueline”; translation = “I hate it when Pietrangelo scores because it ruins my narrative”) and you might eventually earn some credibility!

          • THE hockey GOD

            hi Doc

          • Daryl

            I was thinking the save thing as THG…. I guess Docs new site isn’t doing as good as he thought it would.

            It’s obvious you’re reading comprehension sucs worse than your hockey knowledge. I never once said Petra sucked or wasn’t a good defense. In fact I said just the opposite. And you were the dumbass who brought up Engo for absolutely no reason at all. And in doing so totally screwed whatever argument you thought you had.

            I’ve never had an issue with Petra, it was hi signing I had an issue with. His salary and especially his contract erms is not what VGK needed. And yes Petra has played very good for the Knights but I don’t think his play has matched his salary. He played tow, not three goo playoff series last year. You shouldn’t exaggerate facts, makes you look bad. As for his blueline shot, announcers for both side said that never should have gone in. If that shot was against RL, even THG couldn’t defend it.

            Petra is all over the ice but let’s not forget he is a defenseman not a Forward. When he jumps up in the offensive zone, especially with so many new younger players, it leads to add man rushes. RL has done a decent job of bailing him out. I guess you forgot is To in last year’s playoffs which led to the game winning goal? He did the same thing this year in which his TO led to a game winning goal???

        • Richie-Rich

          It is indeed a stupid comparison. Englland earned every penny of his salary and when healthy was stout on defense. Petro gets nearly $9 million a year because he is an offensive minded defenseman. It is a completely unfair comparison.

          What makes matters worse is that Englland was never given the opportunity for a final game or skate in front of the hometown fans who loved him. Another black mark sin on this VGK FO.

          • Daryl

            I still think it was Engo who called out th FO on hiring PDB. They said it was a defenseman but never gave a name. And yes I know they have him a job after he retired but that easily could have been a PR stunt. VGK owner isn’t completely stupid.

  3. THE hockey GOD

    with so many injuries, and the nature of the injuries themselves, the probability that one or more don’t make it back 100% this season is pretty high. Therefore having set lines is important to develop at this junction.

  4. Richie-Rich

    Last night’s effort was versus the expansion Kraken. Nothing to celebrate here. Come on man! I do agree that we are beginning to see some improvement on the 3rd and 4th lines, but the power play is still crap and the goalie situation remains inconsistent.

    It may be too late to make a run for the playoffs by the time the top players return. The next 10 games are going to be brutal.

    Yes, celebrate this victory off of bottom feeder Seattle………

  5. THE hockey GOD

    RL is ranked 9th in NHL stats of all goalies
    and he is ranked 5th among those who have played 10 or more games.

    Not too shabby.

    • THE hockey GOD

      he also has most saves of all goalies, which doesn’t say much for team defense

      • Daryl

        I can care less about saves… It’s the high danger saves that are important and I believe RL has pretty good stats in that category. Remember, VGK takes a lot of shots from the blueline so those types of saves don’t count much

    • Daryl

      9th in what stat. He got destroyed by LAK, EDM and TOR. He gave up 4 goals to ANA. In 2 games against Seattle he’s given up 5 goals. And Seattle used their backup goalie last game, which really has nothing to do with RL

      Yes RL has looked in most games, even in games he didn’t play well he had his moments. But if you think RL overall has looked great this season then I don’t know what to tell you. He still has actual tough games ahead which will tell us a lot about this team overall.

  6. Very nice piece Ken. You and Petro both spot on. I get real excited about this when I contemplate Eichel coming on board here. It will take some acclimation for him at first, that’s to be expected, but he’ll fit in, of that I am sure.

    • Pistol Pete

      My mouth waters when I imagine Petro and Eichel playing on the same shift.

      • Richie-Rich

        I will start to get excited when and IF Eichel returns to hockey. It’s 3 to 5 months. If 3 months, then we may have a run to the playoffs. If 5 months, this season is lost. I thought we’d come in 2nd or 3rd in the division this year. The Kings are going to win the division, period.

        The only way we get past the Kings in the playoffs is if the team is all 100% healthy and running on all cylinders with the power play and goalie issues corrected by the end of January or early February.

        Otherwise, this season is burnt toast.

        • Howard

          “The Kings are going to win the division.”

          Man oh man, it’s no wonder other NHL fan bases call ours “the dumbest.”

          Far and away. Edmonton is the best team in The Pacific. Kings are injured and while they have some young talent, they’re ways away from real contention at this time.

          • Richie-Rich

            We will see come the end of the season. LAK had the best offseason acquisitions in the division. Granted, EDM will be good as well, but I predict the Kings will be on the top of the heap.

            The Golden Knights will be good next year IF Eichel returns to his former production, they solve the power play/offense issues, and the issues in goal tending. VGK may not even make the playoffs this year. It depends on whether or not Eichel can return in 3 months vice 5 and produces. Fire the power play coach … yesterday … and get healthy. The odds are not in our favor this year although there is still a chance.

          • Daryl

            Couldn’t you say the same for VGK?

      • THE hockey GOD

        @PP I am thinking like, wait for it. Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito? Or Potvin and Bossy ? Or Gretzky and Coffey, or lefluer ( oh wait he was a winger) was going to say larry robinson.

  7. Tim

    A little early to throw in the towel. With Lehner and our D-Core we can stay in most games. Our forward lines are shaky but that’s the hand we were dealt. Stone looks like he’s close that should help the line combos a little.

  8. bob

    Don’t look now but LA is playing better than the Knights. MUCH BETTER. The powerplay still sucks. Its like slo-motion. The reason why the Knights gave the fewest penalty opportunities is they have so little offense so there’s no reason for the opposing team to commit one

    • THE hockey GOD

      yes they are , and their best D man is still out

      many on this board picked them to finish higher than VGK this year

  9. THE hockey GOD

    yahoo sports did a piece today “who’s second best goalie in NHL” they picked four and said this about one of the four they picked:

    Robin Lehner, Vegas Golden Knights
    Robin Lehner has been one of the NHL’s best goalies for a few years now.

    Since the 2018-19 season, no other goalie has a better save percentage than Lehner’s mark of .923 across 111 games played. He’s started the 2021-22 campaign strong, too, posting a .919 save percentage through 10 starts and a 6.5 goals saved above expected rating which sits sixth in the league.

    Lehner did have a bit of a down season in 2020-21, posting a .913 save percentage while being thoroughly outplayed by Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury, who owned a .928 save percentage last year.

    Still, he’s been one of the more reliable puck stoppers in the league and is among the best at his position.

    (and some people still say there is a “goalie situation”, must be smoking the funny stuff)

    • Richie-Rich

      If yahoo sports thinks Lehner is a top 5 goalie they are the dumbest analysts in sports or doing drugs – possibly both.

      • THE hockey GOD

        considering the rest of talent in the league they may be right, it’s all relative right now. The stats rankings show around 5 to 9 area for RL. Only stat he’s leading in is total number of saves made to date, he’s up there in total number of minutes played too. That may be a concern down the road. The did the same with MAF. I would have put in back up more often to keep him sharp. Look what happened when they did put him in after not playing for awhile. Very rusty.

    • Richie-Rich

      Stats are stats, but when you pull back the stat curtain you have a goalie who has never stuck anywhere on any team. Period. Then there are the very obvious flaws in his game (speed, mobility, agility, suspect and inconsistent glove, lack of awareness, out of position, and the most obvious walrus flopping).

      Lehner is a top 10 goalie, not a top 5 and certainly not a goalie that can be counted on through 4 rounds of playoff hockey. This will become quite evident over time.

      The bigger question is whether or not the skaters can cover for all of these obvious flaws. That means scoring 3 to 4 goals per game average. If they are 2 or less then VGK will never win a cup with this goalie.

      • THE hockey GOD

        Hopefully just a bump in the road for him, but Thompson’s stats this year so far are not good.
        >>stats are stats…etc
        It’s quite possible he isn’t very happy about not making the backup spot on the big club.
        >>conjecture, I don’t think that is issue at all. His body language doesn’t say that at all, unlike Cody Glass who was clearly pouting went sent down his last time. Ever hear of sophomore jinx ? Give the kid some time, it’s a learning curve.

        I definitely can see Kelly putting him out on the trading block. Thompson will go somewhere else and come back and stonewall us in the future.

        >>>I doubt it , unless Kelly gets an offer he can’t refuse. If one of the two goalies go down in next year, he will need a back up. Well Furgeson is doing well now. But the goalie depth in organization is not that deep at present time.

        Then there are the very obvious flaws in his game (speed, mobility, agility, suspect and inconsistent glove, lack of awareness, out of position, and the most obvious walrus flopping).>>>

        Funny thing , in recent road trip to Canada (Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto) every single Canadian hockey expert in every one of those cities said the opposite. And I have all the Canadian stations. They were very complimentary of RL style of play. And they see all the goalies on all the teams. So maybe you are comparing him to something that doesn’t exist in the league at present time or are being over critical. Every goalie has flaws. It’s all relative, and relatively speaking he is in the top echelon.

        I love it when the haters say , well fill in the blank some time in the future this or that will happen. That is pure marginalization and feeble attempt at justifying an otherwise incredulous postulation. Anything can happen in future. Players get older, players get hurt, etc . etc. Too many haters on this board that are wearing blinders and not seeing the whole picture. I am half full, not half empty type of person.

        • Daryl

          I listen to the opponents announcers as well and I recall them compliment ting RL on specific saves where he had to move side to side but I don’t reverberate any of them saying he actually had good lateral movement or speed. I do reverberate them bringing up his lateral movement and saying something along the Ines of people saying he didn’t move well but he did in that instance. I’ve never heard a single person actuary say he had food lateral movement in general

          • THE hockey GOD

            both ottawa and toronto hockey night in canada broadcast teams said RL moved quickly laterally “with speed”. So that ship has sailed. They also said he was faster this year due to off season work efforts. I don’t make this stuff up, I was surprised to hear it.

          • Daryl

            Yet there is no way for the rest of us to hear it…. I remember preseason they talked about RL losing weight and working out and that should help his speed and movement, but nothing of factual proof since they hadn’t played yet.

    • Richie-Rich

      More worrisome than Lehner is that Brossoit looked like shit in his last game. But even worse news is that Logan Thompson isn’t playing anywhere near the level he was last year in Henderson (The Orleans). His last outing he let 4 goals in on 24 first period shots by the Gulls and the Silver Knights got their asses handed to them.

      Hopefully just a bump in the road for him, but Thompson’s stats this year so far are not good. It’s quite possible he isn’t very happy about not making the backup spot on the big club. I definitely can see Kelly putting him out on the trading block. Thompson will go somewhere else and come back and stonewall us in the future.

      • Daryl

        I was thinking the same thing about being upset over not getting a chance and he is somewhat sulking. If that’s the case and he saw his the backup played, then maybe he should rethink his approach

        • THE hockey GODv

          define “somewhat sulking” that you observed in his body language.

          • Daryl

            Not hustling… Kind of just they’re. Granted I only got to see a couple games near the beginning of the season but that’s what I saw

    • Daryl

      It’s yahoo sports… They might be worse than ESPN when it comes to hockey!!! I do agree RL is a good goalie, I just don’t think he is good enough to take VGK to the Cup. Like I said, playing him against the slower teams he will be fine but put him up against good fast teams, he just Ishtar quick enough. And that big thing that you say isn’t a thing, rebound control, is just too big of a thing

      • THE hockey GOD

        a puck is coming at you 90 plus miles an hour, hits randomly someplace on your gear, and some schmuck comes up with a term and calls it “rebound control “. Sharp shooters can hit any spot on goalie’s gear in which there is no chance for goalie to control the rebound. Having played goalie, that is a fact.

        Inconceivable concept, entirely inconceivable.

        • THE hockey GOD

          thompson had very poor “rebound control” on that first goal.

          • Daryl

            If you say so… I guess uts just a made up thing that a lot of hockey experts have talked about…. But what do they know. Maybe we should ask them about that bad ice while we’re a it

        • Daryl

          Funny thing is, NHL goalie commentators have said that RL needs to work on his rebound control…. So, should I listen to them or you? You are the first person I have ever heard who said rebound control wasn’t a thing

          • THE hockey GOD

            Canadian analysts in ottawa, toronto, and montreal never mentioned it. They know it’s a made up thing because it is so nebulous to define. Is it the hard shot, is it deflection, is it a screen, does it randomly bounce off in one direction off a pad, does it go off toe blade of skate, does goalie kick save off pad into direction of d man, who falls down, does it go side ways off the blocker?? too many variables.

      • THE hockey GOD

        yahoo sports… They might be worse than ESPN when it comes to hockey>>> the sum of the whole says otherwise. Yahoo, Canadian analysts, NBC sports (also did similar article). Can’t look at one source, look at them all.

        • Daryl

          Haven’t seen a single one and just did several yahoo and Google searches…. Maybe you have a link

          • THE hockey GOD

            i posted the nbc story a few days ago, the others were live broadcast on hockey night in canada (the ultimate authority)

          • Daryl

            So in other words, we have that one story that I can actually read (thought you first said it was from Yahoo.) and everything else was word of mouth that none of us can go back to and see or hear???? Got it….

    • Richie-Rich

      The VGK comes out and puts up 2 solid periods, kills of a 5-3, and Brossoit plays great. Can they close this one out and keep their skates on the necks of the Wild????

      VGK 3 WILD 0!

  10. Vlad

    It’s always the goalies fault….

    Play better defensively instead of hanging goalies out to dry

    How did we move from blaming everything on injuries to now pointing fingers at the goaltending?

    Things took a turn for the better right when the trade was made. Eichel and touch weren’t playing so it’s neither of them. However that deadbeat Krebs who almost everyone here thought was the next coming of Christ was the difference. Getting rid of him made a marked improvement in the team. No more deadweight to cover and hide.

    And once again Rochester lost tonight 4-3 and as always Krebs was on the ice for 3 goals against. No goals. No assists. And 3 against. PRICELESS. Best move Vegas made was shipping his brutal ass off onto someone else. Sabres got skooled on that deal

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