In a year where strange is normal, the NHL was no exception and did their part to add to the madness. Unusual statistical occurrences happened over the 2019-20 season, and the Golden Knights were one of those teams in on the action.
There were 125 multi-goal comeback wins, the most in NHL history through 1,082 games (the amount of games played this season instead of 1,271). This is my favourite stat here today because I came across some commentary this season about “hockey today” being less entertaining (less physical, too fast to follow, copycat styles), yet the game itself gave us great drama. The most multi-goal comeback wins EVER. When your team is down in today’s NHL, they aren’t necessarily out.-Justin Bourne, Sportsnet
It really is a remarkable statistic. Just over 1,000 games played and 125 instances where a team comes back to win from a two-plus goal deficit. Early multiple-goal leads in this league won’t always ensure a victory. I guess that’s why we’re constantly told by coaches and players the need to “play the full 60.” Damn, I miss hockey cliché speak.
To add to the oddity, the Golden Knights achieved the feat twice in the regular season, both against the same team.
VGK Comeback Wins Trailing By 2 Goals
1/4 vs. STL: VGK wins 5-4 in OT/Trailed 3-0 in 1st Period
2/13 vs. STL: VGK wins 6-5 in OT/Trailed 4-2 in 2nd Period
Then, in the playoffs, Vegas did it again to St. Louis!
VGK Postseason Comeback Wins Trailing By 2 Goals
08/03 vs. DAL: VGK wins 5-3/Trailed 3-1 in 2nd Period
08/06 vs. STL: VGK wins 6-4/Trailed 2-0 in 2nd Period
08/18 vs. CHI: VGK wins 4-3/Trailed 2-0 in 1st Period
In fact, Vegas’ ability to regain leads awarded them the #1 seed in the Western Conference. However, the Golden Knights blew four two-goal regular season leads in 2019-20, and a costly one to Dallas in the Western Conference Final.
VGK Blown Losses Leading By 2 Goals
10/08/19 vs. BOS: VGK loses 4-3/Leading 2-0 in 1st Period
10/31/19 vs. MTL: VGK loses 5-4 in OT/Leading 4-2 in 2nd Period
11/02/19 vs. WPG: VGK loses 4-3 in OT/Leading 3-1 in 1st Period
11/13/19 vs. CHI: VGK loses 5-3/Leading 2-0 in 1st Period
VGK Postseason Blown Losses Leading By 2 Goals
09/14 vs. DAL: VGK loses 3-2/Lead 2-0 in 3rd Period
There were five instances of a team overcoming a deficit of 4+ goals to win a game, tied for the most ever in a single season (1983-84 and 1986-86).-SportsNet.com
The Golden Knights were down four goals a handful of times this season. Sadly, they were not one of the five teams to storm back and overcome a four-goal deficit.
VGK Losses Trailing By 4 Goals
10/21/19 vs. PHI: VGK loses 6-2/Trailed 5-0 in 2nd Period
10/25/19 vs. COL: VGK loses 6-1/Trailed 5-1 in 2nd Period
12/8/19 vs. NYR: VGK loses 5-0/Trailed 4-0 in 2nd Period
1/29 vs. LAK: VGK loses 5-2/Trailed 4-0 in 1st Period
As for Vegas, in other scoring based stats the local team was hot and cold. The Golden Knights were mediocre (7-6) in non-OT one-goal games but were outstanding (26-6-2) when scoring first. Flip that around and Vegas had trouble (13-18-6) when they allowed the game’s first goal. In fact, it was their second-lowest win percentage in team history. (Yes, I know there’s only been three seasons)
VGK Win % When Opponent Scores First
2017-18: .536 when opponent scores first
2018-19: .475 when opponent scored first
2019-20: .515 when opponents score first
The NHL is an incredibly competitive league, and these unusual comeback statistics prove that. Clearly, teams are still competing when trailing by two goals. As VGK fans have seen over the past three seasons, their favorite team rarely count themselves out. Hopefully, the trend will continue but next time Vegas will be on the winning end in the Conference Finals.