The last two postseasons before the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup they experienced a similar issue that derailed each season. A team that rarely struggled to score suddenly couldn’t find the back of the net against teams like Vancouver, Dallas, and Montreal.
Then, in 2023, that issue disappeared. On their 22-game run to the Cup the Golden Knights scored at will against four vastly different styles of team. Vegas averaged four goals per game, leading all teams this postseason. 4.00 is nearly half a goal better than any other VGK team has ever posted in the playoffs and 1.2 goals per game better than the last time the Golden Knights were there.
Playoff Scoring Per Game
The main catalyst for this was scoring from forwards. 10 Golden Knights forwards saw their scoring pace increase in the playoffs compared to the regular season. The leader among them was Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Marchessault who went from 0.75 points per game in the regular season to a whopping 1.14 per game in the playoffs.
Michael Amadio, Brett Howden, and Mark Stone all saw increases of at least 0.2 points per game and Jack Eichel added 0.19 per game in the playoffs.
William Karlsson led the pack in goal-scoring difference from the regular season to playoffs. Karlsson scored just 0.17 goals per game, or less than one every five games, to scoring 0.50 per game in the playoffs, or one every other game. Both Chandler Stephenson and Marchessault also added at least 0.22 extra goals per game in the playoffs which means just taking those three players alone, the Golden Knights were getting an extra goal per game compared to the regular season.
Here’s the full chart to show the delta (DIFF) between each players’ goal (G/GP) and point (P/GP) scoring in the regular season (RS) and the playoffs (P).
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|RS G/GP||P G/GP||DIFF||RS P/GP||P P/GP||DIFF|
No Golden Knight averaged more than 0.4 goals per game in the regular season while four did in the playoffs (Marchessault, Stone, Karlsson, Stephenson). Also, not a single Golden Knight reached a point per game in the regular season while three did in the playoffs (Eichel, Marchessault, Stone).
Because the Golden Knights were so proficient at scoring, it allowed two of their most important offensive weapons to focus more on their primary jobs. Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore saw both of their goals per game and points per game decrease in the postseason. Between the two, Vegas received 0.3 goals per game and 1.5 points per game in the regular season. Those numbers dipped to 0.1 goals and 1.1 points per game in the playoffs. It seems like a lot, but the 0.1 goals per game was made up by Mark Stone alone.
Add it all up, and offense was never a problem for Vegas during this playoff run, and it’s ultimately the main reason they all have their names engraved on the Cup.