No one knew what to expect in Vegas’ first round-robin game against the Dallas Stars. Some Golden Knights players talked about bringing intensity, some said they would play it safe, making sure they were healthy for the first round. So when Vegas won 5-3 in a roller coaster game, it was no surprise that it was a forgettable victory.
While their 3rd period, four-goal outburst was outstanding, the 2nd period letdown may have some Golden Knights worried. However, trends are showing that most round-robin teams have had a letdown period in their first game. Five of the eight teams allowed two or more unanswered goals in a period, and three of those five teams lost.
Vegas vs. Dallas
We all watched it, Vegas looked like they were toast by the conclusion of the 2nd period. Then Dallas decided to sit back in the 3rd. Both teams allowed three or more unanswered goals and had extended moments of sloppy hockey.
VGK 2nd Period:
- Allowed three straight goals (One PP goal)
- Outshot 13-10
- Faceoff Wins 43%
- Committed one penalty (Theodore/Hooking)
- Lost the lead
The puck was deep in Vegas zone for the majority of the 2nd period and Dallas took advantage, scoring three unanswered goals. Dallas took six out of the first seven shots taken in the period. At one point it looked like Vegas would never be able to clear the puck from their own end. Thankfully the Stars made it easy for the Golden Knights to come back. Dallas equally broke down and gave Vegas the room to snap off four goals in the final period.
DAL 3rd Period:
- Allowed four straight goals (One empty net)
- Outshot 16-6
- Faceoff Wins 44%
- Lost the lead/game
Both letdown periods changed the game. Dallas controlled the game in the 2nd, but came out flat in the 3rd. Vegas erased their 2nd period struggles by taking advantage of a sluggish opponent.
St. Louis vs. Colorado
In the other three round-robin games, similar occurrences happened. St. Louis took an early 1-0 lead into the 3rd period but slipped up at the end. Colorado tied the game in the third and jumped on a bad Blues penalty late in the game to win in dramatic fashion.
STL 3rd Period:
- Allowed two unanswered goals (One PP goal)
- Faceoff Wins 29%
- Committed Hooking Penalty 1:17 left in game
- Gave up winning goal with .01 seconds left
- Lost lead/game
Boston vs. Philadelphia
The Bruins allowed the Flyers to score three goals in the 2nd period. Boston got within one late in the period but Philadelphia scored :08 seconds later completely crushing the Bruins momentum.
BOS 2nd Period:
- Allowed two unanswered goals
- Allowed three total goals (All even-strength)
- Outshot 11-8
- Power Play 0/1
- Tie broken
Washington vs. Tampa
Both teams had good moments and a few letdown moments. However, neither team had a full period of mistakes. Tampa jumped out fast to start the game but put themselves in a jam in the 2nd period. The Capitals were awarded a late power play and tied the game with :28 seconds left in the middle frame. That changed how the game played out, as both teams battled to extend the game into a regular season overtime situation.
We’ve seen blown leads, shaky special teams and extended play of one-sided hockey in the early round-robin games, there’s no doubt the final two games will be crisper. Heck, and maybe feel like a postseason game. While the qualifying 16 teams are fighting to advance, the eight round-robin teams are playing in preservation mode. Either approach, letdown periods can sink any team.