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Golden Knights Continuing To Allow High-Danger Chances At Alarming Rate

One of the hallmarks of the Golden Knights since Pete DeBoer has taken over as head coach has been their commitment to defending. Whether it’s blocking shots, chipping the puck out of the zone, backchecking, or simply being disciplined in their own end, VGK’s defense had been a tough nut to crack for two plus seasons.

Then, this year, it’s all changed. Of course, they are missing a number of key players who make an impact defensively including Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson and Zach Whitecloud, but both the advanced stats and the eye test are telling a scary story.

No team has allowed more shots, scoring chances, or expected goals against per game at 5-on-5 than the Vegas Golden Knights. Mind you, this is the team who won the Jennings Trophy a year ago for least goals scored against.

However, it’s a negative stat the Golden Knights actually sit in 2nd place that has me even more concerned with than the above numbers. Vegas’ Sunday opponent, the Detroit Red Wings are the only team worse than the Golden Knights when it comes to allowing high-danger chances. Vegas is conceding an absurd 14.5 high-danger chances against at 5-on-5 per 60 minutes of hockey this season.

Last year, the Golden Knights were in the middle of the pack in this category, allowing just 10.3 per game, more than four fewer than they are now.

I went back through each individual period this season, last season, and last year’s playoffs to chart how many high-danger chances the Golden Knights were giving up per period. The numbers are scary.

HDCA20-21 Regular20-21 Playoffs21-22 Regular
07.1%14.0%6.7%
122.0%12.3%3.3%
220.2%26.3%20.0%
322.6%21.1%13.3%
47.7%8.8%16.7%
511.9%8.8%13.3%
64.2%3.5%6.7%
71.8%3.5%13.3%
82.4%7.0%3.3%
90%0%0%
100%0%0%
110%0%3.3%
0-372.0%73.7%43.3%
4-623.8%21.1%36.7%
7+4.2%10.1%20.0%

As you can see, VGK used to allow seven or more in a period incredibly infrequently, just 4.2% of the periods in the 2020-21 regular season and 10% in the playoffs. Now, that number is 20%.

Even worse, they used to allow three or fewer in about three out of every four periods, now it’s happening more often than every other period.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The most egregious period of the year game against the New York Islanders when the Golden Knights allowed an astronomical 11 high-danger chances against in a single period. In the previous 80 games they had not allowed more than eight in any period.

That happened in the 1st period, a period that has been a problem for Vegas this year. They shockingly lead opponents in scoring 9-6 despite allowing 51 high-danger chances in just 10 1st periods.

HDCA1st2nd3rd
0011
1100
2222
3103
4032
5220
6011
7211
8100
9000
10000
11100
TOTAL513934
HDCA1st2nd3rd
0332
1223
2258
3453
4221
5212
6110
7200
8103
9000
10000
11000
TOTAL634666
HDCA1st2nd3rd
0633
1111412
2111211
3131114
4733
55510
6151
7210
8013
9000
10000
11000
TOTAL128143168

1st period struggles began in the playoffs and have carried over into this season. Last year, the Golden Knights were allowing just 2.3 high-danger chances against in the 1st period, that number jumped to 3.3 in the playoffs, and it’s ballooned to a whopping 5.1 now.

While it would be fair to try and excuse this all alway based on injuries, the fact is I wrote about this very problem during the preseason, when everyone was healthy.

It’s about protecting the center of the ice, something the Golden Knights have been shockingly poor at this season. Players are standing alone in-front of Robin Lehner far too often and it’s led to way too many unsaveable chances.

To make matter’s worse, Robin Lehner’s high-danger save percentage hasn’t been very good either. He’s sitting at .789, which is good for 35th of the 40 goalies who have logged at least 180 minutes. Last year, .789 would have seen Lehner finish 58th of the 66 goalies to play at least 400 minutes. It’s not just this year though, in his career, Lehner is in the bottom-third of starting goalies in high-danger save percentage at 5-on-5.

Simply put, no matter how banged up the Golden Knights are, they have to stop allowing Grade A chances by the dozen every night. It might be time for Pete DeBoer to throw the new turnover-creation neutral zone trap on the back-burner for a while and get back to playing the way we know the Golden Knights can.

Last night, in Ottawa, Vegas allowed zero high-danger chances in the 3rd period for the first time all year. It happened in a game in which they were protecting a lead as well. There’s no doubt this tide can turn, and maybe last night was the start of it.

**High-danger chance stats in this article are sourced from NaturalStatTrick.com**

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59 Comments

  1. FG

    It does not matter who returns off of IR or LTIR if this does not improve. There will be no playoffs, yet alone a Stanley Cup.

  2. Daryl

    I think it has a lot to do with the lack of success offensively that they are over compensating which is hurting them defensively. It won’t be as bad when the starters come back, but they still had the same issues last year with those high danger chances. If they had all their star players in the line-up I wouldn’t worry as much but playing as injured as they are, it could really put a toll on this team and RL

    • PURE Genius

      They had their star players in play offs last year…. Hmmmm how did that work out

      PDB isn’t an aggressive on the puck in our end kind of coach like Gallant and so it goes

      All on the coach

    • Mike StG

      Daryl – Good analysis and insightful comments. Petro is running ragged playing the 3rd most minutes of any player in the league.

      Mike McKenna recently remarked that the team doesn’t have the skill level at the moment to continue the style they’ve been playing, as one mistake along the wall in the NZ or OZ can lead to an OMR the other way. He suggested they adapt and force play to the middle, at least until some of their better players return.

      Doesn’t appear they’re doing that. So the number of high danger chances remains unacceptably high. Living life on the edge!

      • Daryl

        Agreed…. And Petra isn’t going anymore and I don’t think they can allow him to continue to run wild and with as many minutes as he is getting. Eventually he will run himself out of gas.

        I also agree with McKenna. VGK needs to win games 1-0 and concentrate on defense. When they start playing good teams those high danger chances will really hurt them

  3. PURE Genius

    Well well well

    Rochester loses to Marlies 4-1

    Krebs? ZERO goals ZERO assists and of course a -1 …. as usual

    Ya I know…. It was everyone else’s fault

    Who would have guessed… ME !!

  4. knights fan in minny

    pure dip shit blabbering again about his idol krebs

  5. PURE Genius

    Vegas will beat MTL tomorrow…. Like takin candy from a baby

  6. sb

    Allowing high scoring chances ……………. I guess he missed all the injuries to the star players. Telling us the obvious. Anything to take another cheap poke at the MGT team that traded MAF. That’s what this blog is all about – the writers doing their best to undermine the Owner, the Managers and the Team.
    MAF, .881 SA, 2nd worst in the NHL @ $7 million. Lehner, .915 SA @ $5 million.

    • Daryl

      Let’s be fair here, as bad as VGK is right now, they are still better than the Hawks. You can’t really compare the two… Which goes back to my other comment about stats.

      Not trying to start an argument just pointing this out

  7. sb

    This site should change the name to The MAF Defense League from Sin Bin. The site’s writers have lost credibility as objective writers covering the VGK’s. Most every article is written to quietly promote Fluery while tearing down Lehner, McCrimmon, McPhee and Mr. Foley. The site now devotes itself to destroying those who traded away MAF. The owner and managers should be praised for their achievements over the past four years and bringing this wonderful team together. What a bright spot in Las Vegas. But instead, these writers are devoted to destroying them for trading away MAF. Sin Bin is now nothing more than a propaganda site to defend Fluery and destroy Mr. Foley and his investment. Zero objectivity. Zero credibility. Fluery’s propaganda machine. Anything to destroy those who traded away Fluery.

    • THE hockey GOD

      they certainly like to shit stir the pot, don’t they ??

      called out on this more than once, finally some smart people are figuring it out.

      • PURE Genius

        Well that counts you out

        • knights fan in minny

          we all want to count you out how many krebs posters do you have on your wall

          • PURE Genius

            I understand… morons are triggered by people like me who are always right and make you look like the dum ass that you are

    • Blitz

      But you are still here ain’t ya?

      Go join the subreddit and we’ll see you back here in a couple of days.

      Go listen only to the insider podcast and hear what they want you to hear about the team.

      I prefer it told how someone views it. I can then decide if I agree or not and I do both.

      • Daryl

        I think Doc is still looking for fans for his new site. Maybe all those who blindly follow and never criticize should join him

  8. Vegas Girl

    BELIEVE! I believe in a great team no matter who is playing. I BELIEVE!

  9. Tim

    I can’t believe how many new handles are appearing on Sin Bin welcome but please be objective with your posts. Every one has an opinion and that’s great but we’ve had some nut jobs that come on this site just to pull our chain and to say that’s a little irritating would be an understatement. When you look at it objectively we could be Ottawa with a cheap owner or we could have Bill Foley who will go the extra mile. I personally like going after all the big fish it makes for an exciting team. Petro after everyone bitching last year that he wasn’t the player they expected has turned into our best player. Everyone was down on Lehner now he’s the second coming. I think overall management has done a good job a few gaff’s but overall a team to be proud of. Pete DeBoer you can’t argue with his record and last year with cap problems had to play with 15 or 16 players and still tied for the most points. I’m not a DeBoer fan but you have to give credit where credit is do. To many people on this site just bitch management is shit, Deboer is shit but when you look at the facts your wrong plain and simple.I’d love to see us pull off two victory’s this weekend. With all the new lines and young guys just getting there feet wet of coarse were going to miss assignments but as time goes by they’ll improve which will just give us more depth when everyone comes back. We all know our biggest problem is our PP and at the moment I see no cure. Hopefully if Jack Eichel and everyone else comes back we can finally figure that out.

    • Daryl

      As you stated, everyone has a right to their opinion. While I completely disagree with you on Petra, the FO and RL, I don’t attack you on your opinion like some on here who attack us who do not agree on those 3 subjects. So you can’t really tell us we are wrong and it’s plain and simple.

      As for the next two games I would love to see 2 wins but I only expect 1. That’s not a negative comment either. Both games are against trams under 500 and neither are really good so two wins is very possible. But like you said, this is a young and inexperienced team. I would be upset with no wins and OK with 1. Only exception is if they come out and play lazy like they did a couple games ago

      • THE hockey GOD

        enough with the negative waves Moriarty

        and the only dumb a$$ here is that punk who has multiple alias, a very serious mental issue; needs therapy lots of it. Krebs lives rent free in his brain 24/7, that is sickness, like TDS.

    • Blitz

      Personally I don’t have a problem with people knocking the team/player/coaches/FO. I don’t have to agree with them, sometimes I do. The same is true for the over praise of the team/players/coaches/FO. I don’t have to agree with them, sometimes I do. Not sure when forums or in this case a comment section became so “you must agree or you suck”, or “you are not a true fan” aka doc (who never provided much to a conversation but bash other posters for their un-fan-ness). I love analyzing games and/or players etc. It makes this game AWESOME! Granted I am not very good at the X’ and O’s and use more of a “eye test” approach. This team is amazing and has provided excellent entertainment for 5 seasons now. Not gonna lie, I get frustrated as hell sometimes. Sometimes that comes out in my posts. Sometimes d-bag responses piss me off and I become a bit of a dick. Sometime I am over optimistic or over praising. Sometimes I am just wrong and don’t know what the F I am talking about. All over the place, but how cool is it to be here shooting the shit with other people about a team we all love.

      That said Tim. Keep posting. I don’t always agree with your post, but I don’t always disagree either.

      I also disagree with you on Petra, RL, FO, and Deboer, but it is what it is and that is ok. I am still rooting VGK on regardless.

      War Knights!

  10. PURE Genius

    Lots of teams with an avg or less PP do poorly. It is not the be all end all. Does need to be better for sure.

    VGK need to clean up their defensive side more than anything. You can score a boatload of goals but if you let more in you ain’t winning. Passive defence zone play rarely works. PDB likes passive

    • Daryl

      How many teams have won the Cup with a horrible PP?

      • PURE Genius

        Didn’t say horrible. But sure doesn’t have to be great. Around average is fine. But if you can’t defend and are always pullin the puck out of yur net it’s game over.

  11. PURE Genius

    Look at Dallas. Pretty decent PP and tied in points with VGK. Goals against matter. A lot

    • THE hockey GOD

      no, bad ice matters

      get it right next time, “genius”

    • Blitz

      Would you say you are a PP expert? Please describe, in detail, what Dallas’s decent PP looks like. Please go slow and explain each visual detail.

      • PURE Genius

        League average …you know what average is right? It’s about 4x more than u

        • Daryl

          So, you use a league average when the team itself hasn’t played a similar level of competition as other teams!????

          People who go off stats alone are people who don’t actually understand a sport

          • THE hockey GOD

            “genius” doesn’t understand ‘stats’ or statistical significance. Just a lame stat hat.

        • knights fan in minny

          here is one for you pure pinhead KLM KLM KLM

  12. Tim

    Well it looks like I’m in the minority when it comes to Petro, management, and Deboer that’s fine because the people who have disagreed are rational posters with there opinions. That’s what this site should be about not these nut cases that come up with off thee wall moments where you just shake your head and say what the fuck are you talking about.

    • Blitz

      I don’t think you are in the minority. I think you can, and have made valid arguments for all those mentioned. You can say RL, PETER, Petra, etc are doing well and have examples to back it up (for sure), but I see things differently. Just an example of my thought process, then I need to go do yard work before the game:

      Petra, I can’t stop seeing him screw up. Don’t get me wrong he is an elite dman in some aspects and can be the difference at times, but holy crap how many times a game does he blunder? Cough up the puck, bad pass, can’t hold the zone, can’t cleanly handle passes to him (this happens alot and on the PP!!). Which game did he literally “buckner” cost us the game this early season? Last game, on the PP, the face off was clean and went to petra where he blundered it right out of the zone. It should have been smoked over to the other point and fired at net for a good quick chance. Instead it wasn’t a chance at all and 20+ seconds of time burned off the PP.

      Petra cost us alot to get him when the team didn’t need him. So while he is a top league d man his neg don’t out weigh the cost, totally in my opinion. That said, I totally root for him and hope I eat crow every game going forward. I am just critical and he gets a short leash.

    • Daryl

      My issue with Petra was he was a player that wasn’t needed (unless they plan on getting rid of Theo) and mostly his contract. His contract will hinder VGK for years to come. So my issue isn’t with him as much as it is his deal bringing him here.

      But like you said, it’s OK to disagree… What fun would this be if everyone agreed on everything

  13. Galdom

    Would like to see two wins this weekend but the one thing I feel confident about is another spectacular outing by Robin Lehner. I think he’s the guy that’s going to grab these guys by the throat and steer the ship until the reinforcements come back.

  14. PURE Genius

    Lehner will get the job done

    And without Krebs the 1000lb gorilla has been lifted off the team. No more dead weight

    Guaranteed win

  15. THE hockey GOD

    Paul Cotter C, Vegas Golden Knights
    Paul Cotter has been called up by the Vegas Golden Knights.

    Cotter has two goals in eight AHL games this season. He hasn’t made his NHL debut, but with the Golden Knights dealing with numerous injuries, there’s a chance he’ll play for them soon.

  16. THE hockey GOD

    21 is having a very bad (k)night so far

    jekyl showed up again for period one, hyde for period two.

  17. PURE Genius

    Like I said. Guaranteed WIN !!

    No Krebs….. no dead weight = WIN

    • knights fan in minny

      you had a 50\50 chance to predict that i bet your going to tell all your friends and family if you have any friends

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