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Golden Knights Have A Lot To Learn From The Worst 5 Goal Win They’ve Ever Had

If Fleury was anything short of incredible, the game in Chicago would have been a disaster. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For a majority of this season we heard the same thing from players and coaches, they are playing well, but just not getting the bounces. You’ve also heard from us here at SinBin.vegas that the Golden Knights PDO is bordering on lunacy and they are headed for being one of the unluckiest teams in the history of the sport.

Then, last night’s game in Chicago happened. The hockey gods finally felt as though they had taken enough from Vegas, and they found it time to give it all back, all in a game that will go down as the Golden Knights’ franchise record for most goals scored.

But, what if I were to tell you that the game the Golden Knights played in Chicago may have been their worst of the season. Yep, worse than Opening Night against Philadelphia, worse than the debacles in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Washington, definitely worse than the embarrassing one in Montreal, and dare I say, it may have even been worse than the 7-2 drubbing in Calgary.

How though!?! How is that even possible? They won 8-3. They were up 3-0 and 5, 6, 7, and 8 to 2.

It’s because they were a mess defensively for the first 32 minutes of the game and the Blackhawks just simply didn’t finish their chances. To make matters worse for Chicago, they then turned around and made terrible plays to essentially hand Vegas goals.

We were up 3-0 after 1 but I didn’t think we played real well. Chicago had some great chances, Fleury made some real key saves. Truthfully, it probably should have been 3-3 after the 1st period, but then I thought we played a better game after that. -Gerard Gallant

3-3 is kind. It could have been 8-1 in favor of Chicago. I went through and watched the game again, and I counted 14 legitimate scoring chances and seven that I would consider Grade A chances. (I took notes over the 1st and 2nd period. They’re posted at the end of this article. If you can’t believe it was as ugly as described, check them out, or even worse, watch the game again.)

All five of these chances happened with the score 0-0, 1-0, or 2-0 and the Blackhawks did not score on any of them. In fact, the final one was the play that directly preceded Vegas’ third goal.

Coach may have come in and said something… (smile)… maybe. But we knew in this locker room that Flower bailed us out a few times. That was a game-changer honestly. -Alex Tuch to VegasGoldenKnights.com

And those are only the ones I found most dangerous. That doesn’t include about 10 others that were mostly missed opportunities for Chicago. Pucks jumping off sticks, missed shots, never getting the shot off, slightly missed passing. You name it, VGK allowed it in the 1st period. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the horrible turnover that led to Chicago’s only goal in the period… which was subsequently taken away due to an offside challenge.

But why are you pointing this out? They won the game.

Because the Golden Knights number one problem this season has been consistency. They play a great period in Montreal, then back it up with a stinker and blew the game. They play a great game against Minnesota, then turn around and play poorly in Buffalo. Beat up on Edmonton, then got destroyed in Calgary. The results changed last night, and no one should be upset about it, but the road woes are still a major concern.

Imagine how you would be feeling if just three of those chances in the 1st period went in. Then Chicago added two more (they dominated the first 12 minutes of the 2nd period too) and the score was 5-3 or even worse 5-1 like it could have been. We’d probably be right back where we’ve been so many times this year, falling back down the stairs we felt we had just climbed up.

There’s a lot more to hockey than the final score, and while the score is the only thing that’s left behind from a game, the story of how it got there is much more telling as to what’s going to happen next.

The Golden Knights have won four straight and five of six. They’ve stormed back from 7th in the division to 3rd and are just a few points out of 1st. But, they are still inconsistent, they still have struggles on the road, and there’s still a lot that needs to be corrected. The good news is, we’ve seen what it looks like when corrected, and it results in a 60-minute thrashing of San Jose Sharks.

The Golden Knights remain the reigning Western Conference Champions and there’s no doubt, having watched every game all season, they are good enough to do it again. But they need to play the way they can more often than they have, and they really shouldn’t be satisfied with beating a bad team 8-3 when they truly didn’t deserve such a fate.

It was a fortunate outcome in a season that’s been riddled with unfortunate ones. That’s why they play 82 of them. (Well, that and making the owners a ton of money.) But the game in Chicago should not be celebrated in any way. Instead, it’s more like when you find yourself distracted while driving, look up, and you narrowly missed totaling your car. We’ve all been there, miraculously avoiding a bad accident. You get that rush of adrenaline. For some of us, it’s a wake-up call that we caught a break and we need to pay more attention, for others, it’s cast aside as nothing. “Pft, I knew exactly what was going on, never in danger at all.”

Hopefully, last night’s game is another wake-up call for the inconsistent Golden Knights, because the last time it happened (at Calgary) they turned around and ripped off three of their best efforts of the season. That one, they totaled the car, and has no choice but to face the music. This one was the near miss and in many circles are actually being lauded for their 8-3 record-setting win.

Are the Golden Knights the conscientious driver who puts down the phone and focuses after their near miss, or are they that punk teenager who thinks he’s invincible? We know how both of those stories end, and hopefully, VGK takes the right road, because if they don’t the inevitable crash is coming, and nobody wants to see that.


Ken’s unedited noted from re-watching the game.

1st Period

BAD

19:36 – Scoring Chance CHI off turnover

18:18 – Odd decision from Miller leads to dangerous slap shot

16:28 – McNabb loses it at blue line, Pacioretty backchecks to save chance, McNabb pickpocketed from behind

14:20 – Nosek poor turnover in O-zone leads to break. Offside saves goal

13:04 – Missed breakaway for Kane

12:54 – Holden throws it away, Kane retrieves, leads to icing

11:53 – Holden turnover leads to 3 great chances, Fleury unreal to keep them out.

11:14 – Saad chance in on McNabb a bit slow getting back, almost killed Flower.

11:01 – Toews shot deflected, nearly goal

10:57 – Rebounded missed deflection, pass accross, nearly put in

9:35 – Kane weird angle shot, then Keith from the point

9:30 – Miller turnover, Fleury missed poke, Strome misses shot

8:54 – 3 guys beaten by goalie pass, starts quick transition, shot saved

6:50 – Bad pinch Miller, leads to breakout and breakway chance that is missed over the net by Strome

6:10 – Engelland caught up high (with cover) but gets outraced back into the play by Debrincat. Leads to open shot, missed.

5:44 – 3-on-1 due to Theodore rushing up for transition (wouldn’t say bad play, but aggressive with the puck not in clear possession) Chicago gets wide open shot off 2 passes, Fleury incredible save

4:54 – Quick play at blue line opens up small chance, Schmidt stick saves it

4:07 – Pacioretty burned on player activating from blueline, Grade A+++ chance saved by Fleury (led to VGK goal)

2:43 – Theodore takes interference penalty

0:39 – Late chance on PP, nice angle save for Fleury

GOOD

17:50 – First shot on goal, 2-on-1 due to bad play by Keith, Carr scores

16:40 Tuch Chance

14:00 good turnover chance for Reaves

13:45 – Schmidt good point shot

13:08 – Shot from point, big rebound

9:17 – Reaves good job getting it out, Carrier drives, sends one across, Reaves good chance, fans.

7:47 – Crawford horrendous pass along the boards, then doesn’t get back, Tuch scores.

3:53 – Tuch retrieves dump in, great pass to Pacioretty, Max makes pass that luckily bounces off d-man skate, Eakin collects, missed poke check Crawford, goal for Eakin

2nd Period

BAD

19:31 – Shot from point hits VGK player, into goal. Goal for CHI

15:57 – 3 shots from point, only 1 really dangerous, but definitely could have been in

14:48 – Eakin has it taken away in own end, Kane with super dangerous shot, saved by Fleury, leads to Kane taking frustration high stick penalty

9:35 – Halfway decent chance in transition for Chicago

8:50 – 4 VGK lose a stick battle vs one CHI. Leads to scramble which CHI scores on

2:00 – Good shot from Keith, Fleury saves

GOOD

17:17 – Great chance created by Carrier for Reaves

15:08 – Nice shot off draw by Tuch

13:50 – VGK scores on subsequent PP

13:01 – Smith slight off-center “breakway” chance, shot saved

12:42 – Good shot from point by McNabb nearly deflected Karlsson

7:50 – Fairly good shift for 1st line

7:12 – 2 semi-dangeros shots

7:00 – Another somewhat harmlesss shot

6:50 – Carrier with a dangerous chance

6:44 – Reaves wins draw, shot from point, tipped home for Reaves Goal

6:14 – 2 super dangerous chances for Pacioretty

4:46 – Great pass Marchy to Smith, Smth has shot saved

0:05 – Theodore excellent job in-and-out to get shot through, Goal

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25 Comments

  1. Paul Harry

    Looks like they think they can turn it on at will. Impressed that you could watch that game twice.

  2. JR

    Question, you’re getting paid to write this kind of $&%t?
    Man! I’m in the wrong business.

  3. Joe

    Nice write up, Ken. You’re notes are much more PG than anything I tend to say during a game.
    Random texts to friends from last night:
    (The Hawks) give a s*** meter is in peak February.

    Friend: I am annoyed with this game tonight, probably shouldn’t be because the Knights are winning.
    Me: It wouldn’t be as bad (to watch this game) if they were playing well and giving up goals. A 6-4 track meet would be fun. The Knights aren’t playing that well.

    Friend in Chicago after goal #7 : I don’t want to watch anymore.
    Me: I don’t blame you. It’s not even an entertaining blowout. I Just want Saad garbage goals at this point cause he is on my fantasy team.

    I told my boss this morning that they didn’t even play that well and the most impressive win so far was the Calgary game on Friday.

  4. Nancy

    What makes you such an expert you only write bad articles. If anything you are the car wreck and not a true hickey fan or a Golden Knights fan and you should be ashamed of yourself. It doesn’t matter if they win or lose I still support them 100% and besides we haven’t had all of our players due to injuries. If we played so badly then why didn’t we lose 9-8? AGAIN SHAME ON YOU!!!!

    • Slr82

      It’s funny when people who have never played the game or began watching it when they were young, suddenly become expert analysts. Ken you and your staff are right on with your breakdowns, game and individual efforts. It’s too bad we live in a point in time where everyone wants every participant to get a trophy or a pat on the back. Hockey players are probably the toughest in sports, they have thick skin. Maybe one day our Fan base will learn that Game critique and analysis is beneficial and constructive. But first they need to learn that the Golden Knights play Hockey, not Hickey!

    • Erik Vegas

      This is an objective article.
      ob·jec·tive: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
      Pretty sure Nancy didn’t read the whole article. He broke down why we didn’t lose 9-8, and why we probably should have lost.
      He is obviously a fan, but, for his articles, he is an objective reporter first.

  5. Nick R

    I did not like our first line in the D zone at all, which is where they spent the better part of their shifts. I though the third line was solid and the fourth line played an outstanding game, look at that CF%! I really like the idea of having Reaves in front of the net to screen and tip in goals, especially with someone at the point that can shoot. If we think back, it was a Sbisa to Reaves that was the series clinching goal in the WCF. I wouldn’t say collectively it was a bad performance but the first line was not good and the second line while not playing a great possession game was able to capitalize off of Fleury’s stonewall on Keith and some bad defensive plays by the Hawks.

  6. Jeremy Craven

    What a waste of time reading this garbage. No wonder our fans can’t just enjoy hockey…. no mention at all of Reaves 3 great scoring chances that could have lead to double digit goals. Eakin’s 1st goal was stick magic. When did we become so petty?. Let the coach worry about all this, that’s what he is paid to do….

  7. Chips_n_beer

    I could breakdown your breakdown but there is so much BS to sift through it isn’t worth it. Let alone ones ability to comment for feedback is intermittent
    It’s this kind of garbage why I barely follow this site.
    If you want objective actual breakdowns of a game, go to knightsonice.com .
    At least there you see objective breakdowns and the fans ability to truly interact for real feedback

    • I’m perfectly willing to discuss which pieces of BS you disagree with.

    • Patrick

      That’s a nice way to protect your argument. Don’t raise it at all.

    • Jonathan

      Wow ok, Knights on Ice, you mean the site that just ran an article ten days ago about how bad the VGK goaltending is this season including how Fleury is nearly having one of the worst seasons in the league? THAT site? That’s what you think is great analysis? Then when I asked if they even watched the games, because Fleury has been fantastic for the most part with mediocre defense in front without Nate, they proceed to insult me, after which the Knights won the argument for me by Fleury blanking the next two teams lol. Then a few days later they wrote an article agreeing with me and saying how great he is. No thanks, I’ll stick with Ken and SinBin for my analysis, KOI is the definition of people who cling to stats without knowing what the stats are actually saying and no understanding of the game we are all watching and these numbers on paper. Ken’s analysis here is the game I watched. I’ve seen very few periods as horribly played all year as the first period against Chicago, even if we were up 3-0. You act like the score is all that tells any story of the game whatsoever, then why even watch? Just check the box score. I watch every game like Ken does, I saw the same poorly played game where we got almost every break and where Chicago hilariously missed so many chances and Fleury stopped the others. It was one defensive breakdown and turnover after another for half the game at least. Ken is just saying that playing THAT type of hockey 10 times will probably get you 1 win and 9 losses. This was that one win. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fix it if you want consistent results.

  8. Nick R

    Sorry, it was Toews not Keith. At least we didn’t have to hear Chelsea Dagger more than a few times, worst Celly song in the NHL.

  9. Bill

    Not as good as the score, but not as bad as the article makes it seem, Fleury is part of the team so him making huge saves is a good to me. Every hockey game has good scoring chances, yes last night there were several breakdowns but that’s why fleury is paid. Honestly, if you win a game you didn’t play your best on the road 8-3 that is good imo.

    • I will admit, I tend to judge the team independent of the goalie. Almost as if the goalie isn’t part of the team. If you include Fleury, VGK definitely didn’t play that bad, because he was incredible.

  10. Tricia

    Wow, people are going off on this. Sinbin is not a Knights fan site, even though Ken is a huge fan. He provides opinion, stats, and criticism. If you’re unable to see your team’s play objectively, accept that others can. The Knights lucked out in that game. Our defense was scary. That doesn’t mean they suck and that Ken hates them and wants them disbanded or something. He wants us to see what’s actually happening on the ice, not what we wish were happening. The more knowledgeable we all are, the more we’ll enjoy the game and the Knights.

    • Jonathan

      Well said, I agree. Why do some Knights fans think this is a religion or something where you can’t question anything if you’re a fan? It’s really bizarre, and makes me embarrassed for some of the fan base, because I don’t encounter this with the fan bases of my other 3 pro sports teams. Just because I don’t like how a game went, or I’m angry about a loss, or I don’t like how a player is playing, doesn’t make me any less of a fan of the team. I watch every game, I have a huge collection of signed merchandise, I read everything on here and listen to every Podcast, but no sports fan who has actually been a sports fan for long thinks that blind praise of every game and every player is required to be a fan. It’s a really weird attitude that I can only assume comes from people who aren’t familiar with how this works. Heck as a Yankees fan half the fun all season is making fun of the few guys who suck and wondering when our management will wake up and realize the dude sucks and has to go. It doesn’t make us not fans, in fact it’s part of the way to cope with losses, since as a baseball fan your team loses 60 games a year even if they’re good or 100 if they suck. That’s a lot of losing. And I bitch and moan about every last player at some point during the long season, but I still love the team and the players even the ones I rag on. That’s fandom in sports, not blind praise.

  11. Slr82

    Well said and put Tricia!

  12. Brian

    You can what-if all you want. Momentum is a powerful force. You could probably what-if VGK to lose every game if you tried but why would you. Way to look on the dark side, great for morale.

  13. Vic

    The Hawks were very quick in period one, and then they got tired. Maybe coach didn’t have them ready for the Hawks early quickness. Last year, line one was lights out in the defensive zone back-checking and helping with transition. This year they appear to be sleep walking at times. I’ll take this messy two points over a well-played game where we outplay the other team but lose 2-1 after hitting a few posts. Ugly, but I enjoyed it anyway.

  14. Jason Sheehan

    You’re not wrong, but you really have to praise the Golden Knights shooting accuracy in that game. They were picking corners and making their shots when earlier this season these shots were going wide or hitting the goalie in the belly.

    • VGK absolutely deserve high marks for not missing opportunities. They’ve had their struggles with that, was nice to see it fade away for a night.

  15. This is hockey. Sometimes you win games you shouldn’t based on the play in front of the goaltender. The goaltender is part of the team last time I looked. Not only that, it’s the most important position on the ice hands down. I watched a goaltender basically win the Cup by himself (Kings 2012). I wonder how many games we won last season we “shouldn’t” have because of Fleury, “Puck Luck”, or “hockey gods”. I can think of 3 in the playoffs alone. This is why teams with great goaltenders do well and teams that don’t….You could take every single minute of any hockey game and pick apart 5 different things in that one minute that are either bad or good that can lead to a score. It’s pretty trivial, but does give people who make a living off critiquing teams, players, and sports an opportunity to generate content for people to argue about.

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