Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Examining The Line Matchups VGK Preferred In Game 1

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With Mark Stone back in the lineup, the Golden Knights had to do a bit of line shuffling to begin their opening-round series with the Winnipeg Jets. The captain found his way back onto the right wing of Chandler Stephenson, while Jack Eichel stayed with Jonathan Marchessault and Ivan Barbashev, and Phil Kessel was placed with William Karlsson and Reilly Smith.

It was meant to be a well-balanced lineup focused around three pairs that have played together for extended stretches.

There’s a few moving parts because of Mark Stone’s recovery and we all knew that may or may not happen. It is happening now so we’re going to try to make the pieces fit around it if he’s available to us. -Bruce Cassidy

About halfway through the game, Cassidy opted to shift some players around to try and inject some offense into what had been a fairly listless performance to that point from the Golden Knights.

He started with


Then switched to


That came with a significant boost in minuted to each of the top six while the remaining group filled in the gaps.

With Game 1 in the books, Cassidy has elected to return to the lineup he began the series with, hoping for more success the second time around.

Looking back at usage, there were a few matchups Cassidy seemed to prefer when he had the opportunity with last change. First, he typically turned to Stephenson, Stone, and Amadio when the opposing 1st line would hit the ice. It didn’t take long for the Golden Knights’ head coach to show his hand with that matchup, going to it just 37 seconds into the game on the first defensive zone draw. He then went back to it three more times in the 1st period including twice in the defensive zone.

This left opportunity for Eichel, Marchessault, and Barbashev to play against the lesser dangerous lines of the Jets. Eichel’s first faceoff came in the defensive zone against Winnipeg’s 4th line and 2nd defensive pair. Cassidy followed that up by getting Eichel zone starts against 4th line two more times and the 3rd line a couple times as well. More importantly though, with the game tied and the original lines still in tact, Eichel never saw a matchup start against the Winnipeg top defensive pair.

Finally, the Golden Knights were steadfast in making sure Pietrangelo and Martinez hit the ice every time Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyler Connor, and Mark Scheifele jumped over the boards.

Obviously circumstances change in certain situations, but here are the matchups Cassidy appeared to be looking for to open the series.

vs. WPG 1st Line (Connor-Dubois-Scheifele)
Pietrangelo-Martinez AND Amadio-Stephenson-Stone OR Smith-Karlsson-Kessel

vs WPG 2nd Line (Niederreiter-Namestnikov-Wheeler)
McNabb-Theodore OR Hague-Whitecloud AND Howden-Roy-Kolesar

vs. WPG 3rd Line (Barron-Lowry-Appleton)
Hague-Whitecloud OR McNabb-Theodore AND Barbashev-Eichel-Marchessault

vs. WPG 4th Line (Gustafsson-Stenlund-Maenalanen)
McNabb-Theodore AND Barbashev-Eichel-Marchessault OR Smith-Karlsson-Kessel

Assuming both lineups stay the same, which is expected with Nikolaj Ehlers still on the mend, it’s likely Cassidy continues to seek out the same matchups in Game 2. For it to have more success, Vegas will need better offensive output from both the top-line of Eichel, Barbashev, and Marchessault, as well as their best offensive-minded defenseman, Shea Theodore, epsecially when they are all on the ice together.

In Game 1, VGK’s top-line and 2nd pair shared the ice for a little more than five minutes at even strength. They failed to generate a single shot on goal and mustered up just two shot attempts, both of which were blocked.

Expect Cassidy to continue relying on this group to get the job done. He won’t give them long though. If the results aren’t drastically better in the first 20 minutes of action tonight, the lines are almost certainly going right back into the blender.


Goalie Interference – Season 2 Episode 29 – April 19th, 2023




  1. Craig

    Put Stone on unhealthy scratch. He’s beat up

    • Frank

      Couldn’t agree more. He could surprise…. but he looked out of game shape, slow and tentative out there. Hopefully the knights as a team have a great response to getting gut-punched on Tuesday……. This team is far better than that effort.

  2. Richie-Rich

    Wow. You have to be kidding me. Eichel posted a big fat goose egg against the bottom 6 of the Jets? And, we’re going back to that same strategy again?

    I don’t have the exact number, but Eichel took at least 6 face offs during the game and he won 1, and that won was immediately stolen by the Jets who flipped the ice!

    Where can we find face off statistics for individual players? I believe Bleuger may be the best the Golden Knights have, but he’s sitting? Sure, he isn’t a goal scorer, but winning faceoffs produces chances, losing them more often than not will not.

    Let’s hope we see the real Golden Knights tonight, not that dumpster fire from the other night.

    • Frank

      Eichel and Stone both were absolutely horrid game one. Let’s see what happens tonight. If the effort is the same, we’re in deep do-do.

      • Eman

        Need to find someone with a shooters mentality! Would like to see what Doro could do!

    • DB

      Eichel was 3-9 33%. Howden, Stephenson, Karlsson and Roy were all over 50%.

    • Emmanuel

      I’d like to see Blueger on wing against Connor.

  3. Jailbird

    You can’t bench your captain, if both the doctors and himself believes he is ready to play. Give him a break people. First game back after 3 months. Quit over-reacting. You sound like a bunch of high school kids, not adults. The boys will put it all together tonight!

    • knights fan in minny

      the whiners think there. experts

    • Frank

      I’d rather not force a player back into action when he is CLEARLY not ready. Did you watch the game? It is not an over-reaction. Stone has had 2 major back surgeries. Coming back from those takes time. As I said above, he could surprise….. however, I would much rather wait until we’re darn sure he’s in game shape. Be honest with yourself….. did you like what you saw out of Stone on Tuesday night????

  4. Am I the only one not blind to the one fix that is needed…. Get Kessel off the ice… this consecutive game nonsense is just that… nonsense!!… it’s the playoffs.. need a grinder.. someone to go in the corners.. physicality… oh and someone to put the puck in the net… is there a number 43 on the team??

  5. Am I the only one not blind to the one fix that is needed…. Get Kessel off the ice… this consecutive game nonsense is just that… nonsense!!… it’s the playoffs.. need a grinder.. someone to go in the corners.. physicality… oh and someone to put the puck in the net… is there a number 43 on the team??

  6. Emmanuel

    The Jets best scorer is lining up against a banged up Stone & Kessel, the worst defensive minded F. I see trouble up ahead……

  7. Jailbird

    Why do you say forced into the lineup? Who forced him? Your proof? Ha ha. Also, you only get into “game shape” by playing games! Just settle down and enjoy the team.

    • Frank

      I say “forced” into line up as you have:
      A. a player coming off major surgery and months of rehab that needs to be 100% before you can just throw him back in (Don’t really care what he or the doctors say if his play does not pass the eye test)
      B. a team that without him was playing some of their best hockey of the year 22-4-3 out of the all star break if memory serves
      C. If this was the start of the regular season or even mid season, I’d be a-ok with a gradual break in….. This is the playoffs!!! Not time for in-game conditioning…… Just saying. And I do enjoy the team and am an avid fan win or lose. I played hockey here in las vegas before it was a thing to do…… just like to opine every once in a while here.


    I love Mark Stone and appreciate everything he has done for the Knight’s in the past. But lets be real. We played better hockey with him out of the line up. Mark is to slow and our game is built on speed in transition. With Mark in you would only see one or two players in the O zone. Mark doesn’t have the speed to play with these guys. On power plays all he did was stand in front of the net

    If the Knight’s want to advance in the playoffs they have to return to their game they played without Mark on the ice.

    I think Mark is important in the emotion he brings and to the locker room. That is where he should be.



    You don’t get into game shape in the playoffs. You said 3 games to get into shape. We would be down 0 – 3 by then.

  10. Satan

    This is Satan.

    Tim, knights fan in Minnesota, Satan does not have issues with you. It’s not nice to try to silence him. Satan does not talk about politics or proclaim hate on people or call them names. Please be kind.

    Satan does not feel he has done anything wrong, but will try to do better anyways and include more hockey in his posts.

    Satan is here to stay and he has spoken.

  11. THE hockey God

    if, and that is a BIG IF, the vGk lose this series the pundits will say that coaching staff played
    three players who were not ready ; no 27, no. 61 and no 2. All coming off injuries, replacing players who were clicking in the games prior.

    wait for it.

    this is on the coaching staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén