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Overtime Woes Growing Concern For VGK

This guy can’t bail you out every time. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have played in nine regular-season overtime periods since they last scored an OT goal. They are 0 for 4 finding the back of the net in OT this year and went five straight without scoring in overtime to close out the 2018-19 regular season.

Add it all up, and Vegas has played 29:29 of overtime hockey since they last walked off the ice an overtime winner. They’ve gone an acceptable 4-5 in those games, winning all four in shootout, but their inability to score in 3-on-3 overtime is concerning.

The four OT games this year have totaled 13:48 of play. Vegas spent 1:38 of that time playing on the power play against Chicago yet still didn’t score.

In the nine games over the last two seasons, Vegas allowed the game-winning goal within the first :30 of OT on three separate occasions, including most recently against Montreal last week.

Since Mark Stone has been a member of the Golden Knights, they’ve not scored a single overtime goal despite playing in six OT games.

No matter how you slice it, it’s bad. It cost Vegas a few points last year, it’s cost them a couple already this year, and if it’s not corrected, it’ll cost them even more as the season progresses.

I wanted to see if I could identify some of the symptoms to the Golden Knights overtime issues, so I went back and watched all four OT games Vegas has played this season. In two, neither team scored and the Golden Knights won in shootout. In the other two, defensive breakdowns led directly to opposition goals in which the goalies had no chance. Obviously, those need to be avoided, but it’s been more than just the final moment that has been the problem for Vegas. There are two substantial issues they’ve had to this point. One when they have the puck, one when they don’t.

First, there have been way too many careless giveaways in overtime. In four overtime games, Vegas has given the puck away five times prior to creating a scoring chance on that possession. Stone, Theodore, Smith, Karlsson, and Marchessault have each had one and not a single one of them was even trying to make a play to lead directly to a goal.

In OT, the name of the game is possession. If you have the puck, you have a great chance to win. So, giving it away is a cardinal sin. It’s one thing to try and make a great play to set up a chance, but that’s not what’s been happening for Vegas. Instead, it’s simple giveaways, usually trying to keep the puck in the zone rather than taking it out and resetting. Here are two examples.

Every possession in overtime has to lead to a chance. Until there’s a chance, there’s no reason to do anything risky. Plain and simply, the Golden Knights have to take better care of the puck if they plan on winning in overtime.

The other issue is much trickier to correct. It is trying to keep forwards out of precarious defensive situations, especially when defending oncoming rushes. Because the standard formation for any team on 3-on-3 is two forwards and one defenseman, forwards are often caught needing to defend while skating backward. Most are not good at it, but Vegas has a few that are (Stone, Karlsson, Stastny, Smith). Marchessault and Pacioretty have been caught in tough spots more than once a piece and they’ve always led to Grade A chances.

The simplest fix to this is to stop playing the forwards who struggle defending, but that’s easier said than done when you only have four that are capable of doing it well. So, the next best option is to pair the two that struggle with two that are great. Again, easier said than done considering how difficult it is to change in overtime.

Finally, it comes down to game-recognition and taking care of the puck to make sure when it is turned over, the defense is set up with the better defensive forward back as opposed to chasing.

All in all, 3-on-3 overtime has not looked pretty for the Golden Knights and they need to figure it out because with 67 games left on the schedule, you better believe overtime will be needed in at least eight of them.


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  1. THE hockey GOD

    16 9 6 1 19
    15 8 5 2 18
    17 8 7 2 18

    • J.M.

      Hey, after 15 games, we are 5 points ahead of last season and only 1 behind the magical first. Not too shabby.

  2. waiting for a cab

    the coaching sucks. have you seen them practice 3 on 3 OT scenarios? or even video sessions to pinpoint the problems?

    no, it is the same dismissive bullcrap from shrug-it-off Gallant and his robotic assistants.

    this team looks completely disorganized and confused in OT. and THAT is inexcusable.

    also, the 3rd period collapses are, according to Gallant, caused by the team hanging back and not forechecking aggressively. Guess what, have you seen the coaches screaming, demanding they forecheck or else, calling a timeout and reaming their players about it. benchings? no, no , and no you haven’t.

    it is run like a peewee team, with everybody getting their ice time so the parents don’t get upset.

    they had the 4th line on the ice with under 2 minutes to go in a tie game. ridiculous. while the opponent had their top players on.

    remember, the team did the exact same 3rd period collapse 2 games in a row. does that sound to you like they are correcting their problems after each game?? no, they are repeating them.

    • Lara

      How on Earth would you (or Ken) know if video sessions were happening? Take a deep breath; this isn’t Gallant’s fault.

  3. Slr1982

    Hey Ken, question….I was at the Knights vs Canadiens game and I could of sworn that the Knights started overtime with Pacioretty, Stone and Theodore. This would leave the Knights without a Center taking the Draw. Which I thought I saw Pacioretty taking the Draw. Did I not see it correctly (being at the games on gives one angle and I could have not read a Jersey number correctly.)

  4. Vic

    The article is on the mark, and spells trouble for the rest of the year, and not just in OT. In year one and some of year two, our team was usually faster than the other team. Today it is safe to say our team is slower than the other team most nights. Other coaches realize this and capitalize. Other teams no longer have the Vegas flu, and ironically the Golden Knights seems to have the Vegas flu. Correction is needed, and more speed is needed. Why not let Glass see a little OT as he plays two ways, and he has more hockey smarts than some of the vets. Sending him out there would build confidence. Let’s see what he can do with his passing and skating skills with some open ice. What is there to lose besides another point here and there? Need to focus more on speed and youth.

  5. DOC Williams

    I agree with all the previous comments. To ME though: It’s SPEED. Pure & simple. I watch a lot of other games most nights on the NHL tonight. What I have seen is most other teams put their best skaters (speed) on the ice during OT’s, regardless of what position they play. Many never send out “D” guys, unless he is an exceptional skater. Patch @ Stone are not great skaters. Our best speed guys are: Smith, Karlsson, Marchy, Glass & yes, Carrier. Throw in Nate & Theodore. (Patch, Stone, Eakin, Stastny and all the other D guys should never leave the bench) !!!!!!!!!

  6. DOC Williams

    PS – Can’t wait to see ROY back in the lineup !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Brad Barnhill

    If you can’ trust forwards to defend in overtime, how about using offensively minded defenders? Theodore, Schimidt, and Holden all have good offensive tendencies, all take care of the puck, and all can defend.

  8. J.M.

    Yes, it is troublesome but, while we should expect the W in OT without going to shootout, If we are to lose a game, I’d rather it be in OT where we still walk away with a point than in regulation where we get nothing.

    Yes I know every point is crucial, especially the further along the season we go, but let’s take last year and say of the 32 regulation losses, 8 of them were lost in overtime. Those 8 points would give us 101 for the season putting us second in the division but more importantly, the overall #2 seed I. the western conference.

    Again, I see the point being made (no pun intended of course) but at the end of the day an OT loss (though we should never just settle for that) is always better than a regulation loss.

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