When the Golden Knights head East, fans back in Las Vegas need to maneuver their days to be ready for hockey hours earlier than they are used to. It was especially important to be on time to watch them play on this recent road trip because it did not take long to get the action started.
In the final game of the road trip the Golden Knights scored the game’s first goal 8:34 into the 1st period, and that was the longest it took them in any of the previous four games. They went ahead in St. Louis at the 8:05 mark, struck quickly against Carolina at 4:03, and wasted absolutely no time getting on the board in Tampa, scoring just 27 seconds into the game.
These early goals helped the Golden Knights to run off a four-game stretch in which they did not trail for a single second of any game. They did, on multiple occasions, give up the early lead they had built, but were able to strike back in all four games.
Scoring early has been an important trend for the Golden Knights this season. They’ve notched a goal in the first nine minutes of 24 different games this season. In those games, they are 20-3-1. That means they are just 22-17-5 when they don’t.
On eight different occasions, Vegas has scored twice in the opening half of the 1st period. They are 8-0-0 in those games including wins over Boston, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Winnipeg, and Pittsburgh.
Early goals help to keep the Golden Knights from heading into the locker room at the end of 20 behind on the scoreboard. When VGK enter the 2nd period with a lead, they are 23-4-0 this year, when they are behind, they are 5-10-2.
The .294 points percentage when trailing after the 1st period ranks Vegas 14th in the league. All but one of the 13 teams ahead of the Golden Knights are currently in playoff position, while just three of the 18 behind Vegas are set to play beyond April 15th. On the flip side, VGK’s .852 points percentage when leading after the 1st is good for 5th best in the league, behind just Tampa, Boston, Seattle, and Minnesota.
Scoring early matters, a lot, for the Golden Knights. When they do it, they typically win, when they don’t, things get much more difficult.