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How Important Were Faceoffs To The 2018-19 Golden Knights?

The importance of winning the faceoff battle has been a three-year reoccurring argument here at SinBin.vegas. In my opinion, it’s all about possession. When a center wins a draw his team has immediate control and should safely get the puck out of their zone. Or create an offensive push towards the opponent’s direction. Whoever wins the possession battle, should dictate the game.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Faceoffs are probably one of the most underrated stats in this league. If you can start off with the puck, your much better off. And you’ll have better scoring chances. – Nate Schmidt

On the other side of the discussion is Europa Ken.

He’s not concerned with a lost draw if Vegas’ forecheck, shooting percentage, and rebound control are positively effective. For the most I agree, but remember a forechecking attack begins with the puck, and there’s a good chance it was possessed by a winning faceoff.

2018-19 Golden Knights Faceoff Percentage Breakdown

  • Record when winning 51% or more Faceoffs: (20-11-2)
  • Record when losing 51% or more Faceoffs: (14-16-3)
  • Record when Faceoff % is 50/50: (9-5-2)

While it’s clear the Golden Knights have a better record when they win more faceoffs, the formula isn’t as simple as you’d think. At first glance the numbers support my argument, but looking deeper, the higher the FO% didn’t guarantee a Vegas victory. In five separate games, Golden Knights’ centers won 60% or more from the dot. Their record was (1-4). Even furthering the madness, Vegas was (2-2) in games they lost more than 60% of draws.

The most infamous faceoff in Golden Knights history was lost by Cody Eakin. I’m not rubbing salt into the wound or anything (why bring it up dummy?) but bad things can happen when defensive draws are lost late in a game.

2019 Golden Knights Postseason Faceoff Percentage Breakdown

  • Game One (5-2 Loss): 56.4%
  • Game Two (5-3 Win): 54.4%
  • Game Three (6-3 Win): 53.3%
  • Game Four (5-0 Win): 50.6%
  • Game Five (5-2 Loss): 50%
  • Game Six (2-1 2OT Loss): 47.7%
  • Game Seven (5-4 OT Loss): 36.5%

By no means did the Golden Knights lose their seven game series to the Sharks because of lost faceoff draws. However, their FO% dropped game by game, and Vegas’ 36.5% in Game 7 was their worst percentage of the entire season.

(Adding photo below to balance emotions)

The evidence may not prove anything but we know Vegas is blessed with several centers that can win a big draw. But don’t worry, this argument and many, many others will continue on social media, our site, and the SinBin podcast. We like arguing for a living.

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3 Comments

  1. DOC

    Lots of interesting info, thanks! BUT, I’m still waiting on the most important news of the summer. “Are we going to do whatever is needed to sign Gusev OR just give him away” ??????? I continue to say that any “reasonable moves” should be taken. Eakin, Reaves, Holden or even Zykov, Subban ….. ????????? Hell, I don’t know. Just get it WORKED OUT!!!!!!!!!!! Comments? DOC

  2. J. Griffith

    I agree with Nate….. faceoffs are underrated.

    Another way to look at face offs might be:

    faceoffs won/lost in Defensive zone when short handed.

    faceoffs won/lost in Offensive zone on power play.

    Thanks for the analysis!

    Actually it does seem quieter with Ken gone.

    (He has probably finished off all the Diet Dr. Pepper in Italy.)

    Gusev Guessing Game lingers on……

  3. Bent Hermit

    Winning faceoffs is all about giving your team an opportunity to control the game. That being said if you have a bad team or don’t have a favorable matchup on the ice then it really doesn’t matter if you win it. Overall winning a faceoff is important but if you don’t have the players on ice that can take advantage of it your just delaying the inevitable.

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