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Golden Knights And Canucks Have Both Beaten Themselves So Far, Not The Other Way Around

The Golden Knights played well in Game 1. They didn’t in Game 2. The same can be said, but in reverse, for the Canucks.

In real-time last night, the game felt like a complete mess for Vegas. The neutral zone seemed wide open, the forechecking was much lighter than in Game 1, and the Golden Knights appeared to be struggling to get out of their own zone every time the puck was in it.

I took the time to go back over and watch both games with a keen eye looking for differences between mental or physical errors and tactical advantages to try and confirm what I saw live. I expected to find one game that showed Vegas imposing their style and the other game Vancouver doing it. That’s not what happened.

Instead, what I saw was a rash of errors by both teams. For the Golden Knights in Game 2, it was mostly errors that led directly to goals. For the Canucks, it was a bit of a slower burn as their mistakes piled up leading to constant pressure by the Golden Knights.

Once Nate Schmidt and Brayden McNabb blew a coverage in their own end leading to a 2-on-0 in front of Robin Lehner. Another time William Karlsson was caught puck watching and Elias Pettersson was given a Grade A chance that he scored. And another Shea Theodore was simply outskated in the neutral zone, which almost never happens, and it wound up placing Alec Martinez in a position where he had to cover two high-end players right around the goal mouth.

The Canucks did not impose their will on the Golden Knights in Game 2 as much as the Golden Knights shot themselves in the foot.

I thought we could have tied it up in the 2nd or at the very least been down 2-1 but we make a mental mistake on a faceoff play and we’re down 3-1 and have nothing to show for the work you put in to get back in the game. -DeBoer

On the other side, Game 1 was a lot of the same from the Canucks. They struggled to move the puck out of their own end with precision. They bobbled passes that a playoff team normally wouldn’t. And in many cases, plays that NHL players normally make in tight situations were not being made.

These mistakes led to the Golden Knights living in the Canucks zone and with the talent and skill Vegas has, it eventually led to goals.

They’re a momentum team. Man, when they start to go they really come at you hard. I thought there were a few times we didn’t get a puck out that probably would’ve relieved some of the pressure. Then when you start to defend tired things are going to open up and it did. -Travis Green

That quote was after the game the Canucks won too. Following Game 1, Green didn’t really have much to say other than “we didn’t play well,” and he was right, they didn’t.

So where does that leave us for the rest of the series?

Almost exactly where we were when it started. Vegas has the upper-hand because they are the better team. Vancouver has shown they can take advantage of Golden Knights errors, but they’ve yet to show they can consistently force the mistakes with their speedy play.

In a normal season, the saying is “the series doesn’t start until someone wins on the road,” which clearly doesn’t work for this season. So instead, we’ll go with this…

This series doesn’t start until both teams play like they can in the same game.

It hasn’t happened yet.

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18 Comments

  1. Tim

    Our blue line has always been our problem. I can’t understand why they resigned Holden but they know better then me. Game 2 you have to blow it off and move on. Obviously game 3 is big so we’ll see in this game if were a contender or pretender.

    • Daryl

      I completely agree with you on Holden. It didn’t make much sense to me for them to give him a new contract. For whatever reason PDB really likes him as he has praised him several times this season. This my personal opinion and several on here don’t agree with me, but Holden is no better than Engo and slightly better than Merrill. Holden is better offensively than Engo but not defensively and both Engo and Holden are better than Merrill. Whitecloud has looked really good but I don’t think he is better than Holden or Engo yet. Whitecloud had looked lost on the PK.

      With the way our defense has been playing I think they need to switch things and pairings up. I would love to see Engo play but I don’t think it will happen with PDB has the coach. If anything maybe Hague or Merrill would get a chance, although I think it would be a mistake

  2. A VGK Fan

    Merril played in our stanley cup run. he has experience, and doesn’t make too many mistakes. He’s not as big or as stylish as some other defensemen, yet he has shown he can hang in there. I don’t see how anyone can say Holden is “better” than Merril…based on what stats? Examples? Y’all forgot Holden wasn’t all that great last season. Maybe PDB just likes Holden more for his system than Merrill, who knows.

    PS..Reilly for Captain!

    • Daryl

      Merrill plaited better than Holden last year I completely agree but not this season. And it’s not based just on stats. When Merrill and Holden were paid earlier this year they had like 2 or 3 games then the paired looked bad, really bad. But stats do play a roll like when looking at giveaways and takeaways. But iytside of stays Merrill was making bad passes, he was getting knocked off the puck along the boards, he was failing to clear pucks and he wasn’t getting in shooting lanes…. pretty much what Holden is doing now.

      I personally would like to see Engelland get a chance. Yes I know he is slower than the other blueliners but you don’t have to worry about him getting caught in the offensive zone. He isn’t afraid to block shots, he is physical in front of the net which is very important when you have a goalie line Lehner who has rebound control issues, and he has experience. Engo can also replace Whitecloud on the PK where he has looked lost. You lose some of the offense that you would have with Merrill, but we have enough of that already. I also think playing Engo would give this team and the defense a spark.

      Whether they go with Merrill or Engo, they should give one of them a chance. IMO PDB really likes Holden for sure reason I just can’t figure it out. What will probably happen is Hague or Coughlin will play.

  3. THE hockey GOD

    game 3 winner takes series

    you can take that to the bank !

  4. knights fan in minny

    bring on the flower

    • SGKonVGK

      I’m a huge fan of Flower but I don’t think that’s the right call. The whole team played poorly. At times it seemed like Lehner was losing site of the puck and it was frustrating.

      But having two goalies hanging over their heads that they can be pulled after any loss isn’t the pressure you want on them. At this point DeBore needs to say Lehner is our guy until he completely blows a game from his own fault or they stick with the back-to-back games means goalie rotation.

      • Daryl

        Per PDB we have 2 starting goalies…. If that is the case then I say we start MAF. If PDB cake or asks said Lehner is our #1 then I say you suck with him. You can’t sau you have 2 starting goals then not let the other goalie get a chance after that last perforce (not blaming all in Lehner). This is a situation whetted PDB’s content can come back to bite him

    • Tim

      What are you making biscuits I’m in I love biscuits and gravy. Now to get serious.
      I’ll give you a comparison of players doing the wrong thing. The Cleveland Indians have a big controversy of there own unlike our controversy with Fleury. On August 8th after a game 2 Indians broke the covid rules and snuck to to a friends. They were caught sent to the minors and these are two of there top 4 pitchers. One of them Clevinger is back with the team to pitch tonight. He will be traded by August 31 for his part in skipping out. To top it off the team in general don’t want either of the back no matter how good or how much they can help the team. The other pitcher Plesac is still with the minor team Bottom line is they aren’t putting up with it and the punishment is harsh. Think about it these two guys broke the rules as they say boys will be boys. Now we have Fleury and Walsh with a sword through Fleury with DeBoer’s name on it and I would this that’s a little worse then two guys slipping out. I love this comment this is classic ( Well Fleury had him take the tweet down ) after the whole world saw it so he could have kept it up for all the good it did to take down. I hear that logic on this site and it drives me crazy. So the moral of the story is how managements handle a situation in Cleveland it was swift not so much in Vegas but if DeBoer keeps Fleury off the ice that will be some justice. Read my lips you can not embarrass a owner, team, and a coach that have spent what they have to build this team and not have repercussions

  5. Tim

    Coyote your right Gallant would still be here if the team would have played up to their expectations.

    • Coyote

      Tim, you know I meant management. I remember slow starts being a reason that Gallant was fired, as were special teams. I have seen a few slow starts, and miserable PPs under DeBoer. Just pointing out, maybe the blame for those things weren’t with Gallant. Coaches get fired, but I didn’t like the way VGK handled Gallant’s firing, or Dave Prior’s, or for that matter things like Lindberg having to find out from teammates (who saw it on TV) that he was traded. It’s a business, but there’s a way to handle these things the right way. I have a suspicion that Fleury was told he would be the goalie, and now he’s not. Hence the sword through the back meme.

  6. DOC aPositiveFan

    Do ANY of us really know what was said to MAF? NO, we don’t. Lets play a great game tonight boys and protect the front of the net, for whoever is in it. GO KNIGHTS GO !!!

  7. DOC aPositiveFan

    I’ll just leave ya’ll with this. When I see all this anger and arguing, I think of an old Chinese proverb: ” If your problem has a solution, why get angry, … if your problem has no solution, why get angry”

  8. DOC aPositiveFan

    So, looks like no games today. Sad we have come to this, all the way around.

  9. knights fan in minny

    why is the nhl caving in tell dumba to cry to someone else

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