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Models Show Slight Concern Ahead Of VGK’s Final 15-Game Playoff Push

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Golden Knights fans have been aware of the local team’s inconsistency for weeks. Sure, they defeated the dreadful New Jersey Devils on Sunday, but Vegas’ erratic nature has some questioning their ability to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Thankfully, there’s very little panic here in Las Vegas.

We know the numbers. The Golden Knights are 7-9-1 since the All-Star break and have a .441 points percentage in that timeframe. Most startling is their regularly programmed defense and goaltending are allowing an alarming 3.59 goals per game. Add in -8 in goal differential and you have the perfect recipe for a midseason slump.

Poor numbers aside, computer models still have the Golden Knights holding a 77-87% chance of qualifying for the playoffs. Calculations give Vegas a 77.9% (HockeyReference), 86.7% (MoneyPuck), and 80.3% (HockeyViz) of beginning the quest to defend their championship title.

HockeyViz tends to be a little more cautious about drawing hard conclusions about teams being all the way in or out. Regardless where they sit in that 80-90% probability range, it’s impossible, unfathomable even, to see the team that just went so hard all-in at the deadline — missing the playoffs. They won’t, they just won’t. And so, we’ll watch to see if they play their way into the 2-3 seed series vs. the Oilers, or if they end up being just a brutal draw for some unlucky one-seed out there. –Justin Bourne on Sportsnet.ca

One factor that should help balance out the numbers is the reintroduction of Jack Eichel to the lineup. Since his return, the Golden Knights’ star center contributed seven points to 18 total team goals in six games. Per usual, Eichel is +2 and is adding 1.17 points per game. Once Tomas Hertl hits the ice in a Golden Knights uniform, Vegas’ offense will be a problem for any first round opponent. Losing Mark Stone is a serious blow, but Vegas’ remade star-studded lineup should make up for the captain’s absence.

One lesser element that could boost Vegas’ playoff push is the abundance of unsigned players vying for lucrative offseason contracts. Michael Amadio, William Carrier, Noah Hanifin, Anthony Mantha, Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, and Alec Martinez are desired UFA’s hoping to strike gold with standout performances in the playoffs. Sadly, it’s unlikely Marchessault will be offered an extension before the regular season concludes, so the 2023 Conn Smythe winner could be auditioning for another contender. The same goes for the others. Nothing motivates a player more than the dream of hoisting a historic piece of hardware and a fat pay raise once it’s over.

Hopefully, the Golden Knights’ victory on Sunday wasn’t an outlier and will begin a run of success down the stretch. With their new weapons acclimating to coach Bruce Cassidy’s system, there’s still enough time to go into the postseason with confidence. Heck, even if they stumble into the playoffs, what team would want to face the reigning champions?

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18 Comments

  1. Frank

    It’s time for the boys to go on a run here to close out the season. I for one am pretty confident that they can do so…… Need to start racking up those W’s!

  2. Henderson Knights

    Pietrangelo will miss tonight’s game with an illness.

    I would guess that Whitecloud would replace him.

  3. The abundance of unsigned players, Michael Amadio, William Carrier, Noah Hanifin, Anthony Mantha, Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, and Alec Martinez are desired UFA’s doesn’t equate to a positive in any stretch of imagination. Thinking through from their side it could be argued it’s a negative. Uncertainty is never a positive. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you might feel. There is no guarantee regardless how well they play or don’t play it will lead to anything other than the door. That is not positive for anyone. FO has their hands full regardless how it works out so it’s going to be interesting looking from the outside if you’re not part of the problem regardless how it goes. I hope they all get their name on the Cup which will even make it more interesting at season end to see who stays and who goes. Let’s win tonight to keep things going that at the moment is the most important thing.

    • ThG

      yes i see your post
      then I don’t see your post
      now I see it

      now I dont’ see it

      ok
      you been talking to Tim ? TIMMAH ?

    • Emmanuel

      Hanifin & Marchessault are the only ones I would retain at the price they will draw. Sure Amadio for 1.5M or Stephenson for 2.5M would be nice but unlikely.

    • James Pryor

      You completely miss the point. They aren’t playing for contracts with Vegas. More than half know they can’t stay. They’re auditioning for other teams. A solid playoff with another ring equals a big payday for every one of them. Somewhere else. Marchy is too good to stay. $5 mil won’t keep him.

  4. I’m not the Stanley Cup winning coach quite obviously, BUT why would Logan not get the start tonight??

  5. And if he played sharp why not let him continue??

  6. Bolts1

    Minn with an easy game vs Anaheim, LA with an easy game vs Chicago, while the Vgk have to face a hot Tampa team.

    this night might make things even tighter.

  7. You forgot to include preds against the sharks, well at least the avs travel to the blues tonight. VGK will hopefully take care of their own business, as it looks as if we’ve left the flames and kraken in our rear view window.

  8. Bolts1

    yes, the Sharks are definitely winning the Tanktown title, after seeing them blow a game to the Hawks the other night.

    SJ wants Macklin Celebrini, and unless they lose the ping pong balls again, they will likely get him.

  9. Tim

    Jason not playing well since the all-star break I think the beginning of December is more like it. My question is if were so good how could we go 7-9-1 how could they let that happen. Now that they’ve embarrassed themselves there going to turn it on and finish strong I don’t see it. We lose tonight and then what? Best owner in the league glad he got a championship he deserves it. I think these players lose site of how good they have it in Vegas. Not only the players but wives and girlfriends have it made all the shopping, shows, restaurants, weather, at your fingertips. Trade the players to a shit hole like buffalo not to much golf in the winter.

    • JB

      Go back and watch Netflix Tim. You are a bandwagon fan, nothing more!

    • Earl the Replanted Transplant

      Don’t forget the lack of state income tax. Mo chedda!

  10. JB

    Maybe we will go on a 11-0-1 record, like we started, to end the season!

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