From the moment the puck was dropped to begin Game 2, the Golden Knights were on the hunt to get it back.
They had the puck the whole time. And they held onto it and were strong on it, cutbacks, support below the goal line, you name it, all things we didn’t do well enough to tilt the game back in our favor. -Bruce Cassidy
From the first zone entry that was quickly cleared and sent down for a dangerous Edmonton chance to the second to the third to the 20th, the Golden Knights could not consistently get across the blue line to establish offensive zone time.
On the first few they tried to dump it in and chase, but as that grew increasingly more unsuccessful and the score started to snowball against them, Vegas turned to attempting to carry the puck into the zone and the success rate diminished even further.
It led to an appalling lack of zone time for the Golden Knights that manifested in just nine shot attempts and a measly four shots on goal.
They were way better than us in the 1st period. And they separated from us quickly by converting on the power play opportunities. We didn’t do the things necessary, we just didn’t do them. -Cassidy
Against the Edmonton Oilers, that won’t work.
If you’re going to beat a good team that’s attack-oriented and the highest-scoring team in the league you need to have the puck. That’s where I think our problem was. That’s a tough way to play, and that’s it in a nutshell, we need the puck more. -Cassidy
Luckily, the Golden Knights have been here before, and not that long ago. Vegas experienced similar issues against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the first round. In that game, the problems started and ended with the forecheck. It was too slow, not intentional enough, and simply ineffective.
Against the Oilers, that was the root of the problem and it stemmed to everything else the Golden Knights were doing, or not doing.
In Game 3, they must make better decisions at the offensive blue line. If the controlled entry isn’t there, the puck must be dumped in. Unlike against the Jets where the forecheck was neccesary to score goals, in Edmonton, it’s meant more to slow down the Oilers. Even if the Golden Knights don’t get the puck back, they have to force the Oilers to spend more time in their defensive zone.
You can’t just hope you defend the hell out of them all night, that’s a tough ask. -Cassidy
Last series, Vegas identified their mistakes and turned them around without any troubles, rattling off four consecutive wins to eliminate the Jets. Edmonton is a better team, so it may not be that easy this time around even if the Golden Knights do figure it out tonight at Rogers Place.
It has to happen though, otherwise, the book will be closed real quick on the 2022-23 Vegas Golden Knights.