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Location Of Minnesota Wild Goals Should Raise Red Flags For Golden Knights

Tonight will be meeting six of the eight scheduled this season between the Golden Knights and Wild. So far, the Wild hold a slight edge having won three of the five games and have amassed seven points in the matchup compared to the Golden Knights’ five.

The Wild are currently the team Vegas has had the least amount of success against, especially defensively. The Golden Knights have allowed a total of 82 goals in 35 games, good for 2.34 goals against per game. Against the Wild, that number shoots up to 2.80 per game, about a half goal worse than their average and the highest of any VGK opponent.

One of the main reasons for this is the style of goals the Wild have been scoring against the Golden Knights. Unlike what we’ve seen from many other Vegas opponents this year, the Wild have harassed the Golden Knights goal crease, specifically at 5-on-5. Of their 10 5-on-5 goals, six of them have come with the puck sitting in the blue paint. Contrast that to Vegas, who have just one.

MIN goals vs. VGK

VGK goals vs. MIN

Minnesota likes to play a transition-style game in which they trade chances with their opponent, a style the Golden Knights deployed under Gallant the first season but have pivoted away from. That style usually leads to rush goals, which are typically scored a bit further away from the goal crease. But against Vegas, they’ve lived in the goal crease. When contrast to where the Golden Knights have gotten their goals, this is a bit concerning for not only tonight but a potential playoff series next month.

Quite simply, the Wild have scored from more replicable places on the ice than the Golden Knights have in the first five meetings.

Both sides of the ice are issues. It’s the defensive side that’s of bigger concern to me though.

When playing the way the Golden Knights would like, they tend to apply heavy pressure to their opponent. When at their best, Vegas creates chance after chance after chance, and eventually the dam breaks. Sometimes from goals in close, other times from a bit further away. In such a small sample size of just seven goals, there’s certainly not enough data to say the Golden Knights can’t score in close against the Wild. If anything, their ability to score further away from the net may mean they’ll score even more when the closer goals come.

Defensively though, there is enough data over the five games to show that the Wild are capable of getting to the dangerous ice out in front of the goalie and winning battles to stick the puck in the net from close range. These are the types of goals a playoff team can rely upon and the Wild have been getting them against the Golden Knights.

If Minnesota can score in close, and they can steal a few goals here and there in transition, they could pose a bit more of a threat to the Golden Knights than most expect over the course of a full playoff series.

Luckily for Vegas, there are still three games left to sort this problem out. Tonight is the final game at home against the Wild before Vegas heads north on May 3rd and 5th.

Protecting “the house” should be a primary focus for the Golden Knights over the course of those three games. If they can do it, Minnesota’s offense will probably dry up, and the Golden Knights should be able to once again assert the dominance over the Wild most expect. If not, we could be in for a Wild (get it?) series in the first or second round.

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24 Comments

  1. LVsc

    the Knights are mainly a fancy passing, east west team.. …not enough of a crash the net type team.

    I would like to see more goalie interference penalties on VGK, and more VGK goals challenged for goaltender interference, because THAT would signify that the Knights were finally doing their job, which is to crash the net, not make fancy plays that seldom work, and often result in turnovers and odd man rushes against.

    • Theresa soles

      Agreed. Seems the VGK has always had trouble getting close enough to net to score goals there. They certainly have the size and muscle, just seem to lack the toughness to fight for it in close. They need to be willing to risk any penalties that arise from being near the net, in order to score these high-risk goals. They just won’t win games against the seasoned teams by playing it safe. Time for the VGK to step up and play like they WANT IT!!

  2. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Hopefully Flurey can get out of his funk, and throw a top game out there tonight!

    Would be nice to have a complete lineup tonight. Will we?

    I feel the boys will put out a good effort tonight and get the split!

  3. Vegas Baby

    A friend of mine was compelled to tell me he dreamt she saw a banner that said “PANDA P3” running like a ticker tape and then an image of Fleury speaking. If anything comes of it, who knows. He was riled up about it.

    I’d like to see VGK come out of the gate like a team of race horses and just dominate tonight. Make Minnesota wish they could be as wild as VGK!

    • DOC (Go Knights Go)

      4
      What does “P3” reference mean? Honestly I don’t know.

  4. Ken – while you didn’t come out and say so what you referenced is called screening the opposition goalie and hammering in the rebound. Vegas for whatever reason have a problem doing that – are they worried about getting it by the shot or just being manhandled. We have seen opposition man handle the boys because they are not concerned about Vegas PP.

  5. Pistol Pete

    As an aside, I truly believe Kolesar will overcome his “net fright” and start hammering them home. My goodness, he had three nearly open net opportunities on Thursday. Give him credit for being in position. Only a matter of time imo.

  6. Pete – my man Kolesar either has the instinct or not – it’s not a teachable trait. You said three chances an might as well been sitting on the bench. This observation has nothing to do with other than performance. He’s not alone on that team unfortunately. Getting in position great but of zero value if you can’t finish. IMO

    • Pistol Pete

      We’d love to prove you wrong! I’m pretty sure the issue CAN be overcome.

      As another aside Jack Dugan is tied for fourth in the AHL with 19 pts (3 G/16 A) in 19 games. In college his scoring, while stellar too, was disproportionately more assists than goals. Is he another Kolesar who as a young player has trouble getting the puck in the net? I really think scoring goals is an area that can be mastered if the play making ability is there. For some the necessary composure required is an acquired skill.

  7. Tim

    The Karlsson line and Patch and Stone who do you trust after that? Tuch if he had two legitimate teammates which he doesn’t could be the answer to a good third line.

    • Pistol Pete

      I would welcome Haula back. I doubt they can manage the cap for that without trading a goaltender but we’ll see.

      • Pistol Pete

        Actually Haula cap hit is only $1.75m which is very doable. Just not sure they can go with him as far as his history with injuries. Tempting to think he could have another 50+ point season here.

  8. Henderson Knights

    absolutely disgraceful. LET THE TRADES BEGIN.

    and ask 7 to waive his NMC

    and get rid of first round flop Cody broken Glass

    then bring up the Henderson grinders who deserve a chance, not useless clowns like Koldsore

  9. Theresa soles

    Agreed. Seems the VGK has always had trouble getting close enough to net to score goals there. They certainly have the size and muscle, just seem to lack the toughness to fight for it in close. They need to be willing to risk any penalties that arise from being near the net, in order to score these high-risk goals. They just won’t win games against the seasoned teams by playing it safe. Time for the VGK to step up and play like they WANT IT!!

    • Jeff

      With very few exceptions the players on this team do not have the heart of a champion. It has become a country club team that can turn it on from time to time but lacks the consistency and desire to win the cup.

  10. We do a horrible job clearing the front of our net. Give me old school hockey where you paid a price for standing near the crease (which is how a lot of teams, including Minnesota, score on us). I don’t think we’ve had one penalty for knocking someone on their ass in front of our net. Brent Burns does it, Duncan Keith still does it and others like Drew Doughty do. McNabb is our only defenseman who makes people pay a price with a close second to Martinez. With a little more seasoning, I think Whitecloud will get there but Hague, Pietrangelo and the others need a gritty Mark Sone attitude and I’m not sure you can teach that. It comes from the heart.

    • Daryl

      I’m just throwing this out there so I can get hated on….. We did have one player from last year but management decided to sign Holden instead and we see how that is working out for us. I do agree with you, we don’t have any gritty players on the blueline. I really like Whitecloud and I think he can somewhat be that player but he’s it. Martinez will block shots but he won’t clear the crease. Petra and Theo are finesse players and are afraid of contact. Hague needs to add some bulk to his frame, he’s too skinny for his height. Face it, VGK has nobody right now that can actually clear the crease and just like not have a true #1 Center, this deficit will really hurt this team

  11. Jeff

    You shouldn’t get a lot of hate. This is becoming a Country Club team that is catered to by ownership and management. They have talent but they don’t consistently put forth the effort to win. They seem to have a culture that plays down to the competition and does not have the required killer instinct to blow out the less talented teams.

  12. I agree with Jeff. Too many players on our bench not showing a lot of concern in close games and way to many opposing players setting up shop in front of our goalies. Hague and Glass and Roy and Reaves should either get a wake-up call from DeBoer or he isn’t doing his job. They haven’t contributed all year.

  13. vegasbucs

    Kolesar is not and never will be a NHL caliber player. His shot last night when Talbot was looking the other way was pathetic. If it wasn’t for Talbot’s arm would have missed the goal completely. He had the entire left side of goal wide open and shot it to the only place Talbot could have made a save. There are high school players that would have converted that shot. Cody Glass is like a piece of paper with how easily he gets knocked around. Absolutely loved Holden over Hague. Keep that up. No more Hague until he gets better. Holden played so much better than what Vegas has been getting out of Hague.

    • Daryl

      I’m not a fan of Holden at all but he has been playing better than Hague…. and he isn’t taking stupid penalties.

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