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Pacific Leading Team Losing Confidence As Regular Season Wraps Up

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Less than a month ago, the Golden Knights were deemed a postseason bubble team. Panic set in, the losses were piling up and SinBin’s postgame Periscopes were getting longer. Today, the reigning Stanley Cup champions are three points from earning home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Ignoring last night’s 7-4 blunder in Arizona, the Golden Knights have been performing at their best since opening the season with an 11-0-1 record.

There were about three or four plays, you’ve got to go through people, we weren’t going through people. In this game — and that’s a good wall team — they’re a team that holds on to pucks, so you have to go through people. We were caught in between. There were like four plays where if you go through the player, they probably don’t get the odd-man rush. I don’t know why they weren’t ready to play. -Rick Tocchet, VAN coach

After Vegas lopsided 6-3 victory over the Pacific division leader, the Canucks were noticeably shaken. The comments from Canucks players and coach Rick Tocchet had a hint of deep realization. It’s possible Vancouver internally acknowledged the Golden Knights are deeper and are better shaped for the playoffs.

The players know it and so does Tocchet.

We’ve got some individuals that they’ve got to start to have that fight and a little bit more will right now. You can’t save it. You can’t save it for two more weeks. It has to happen now. I think as an individual, you look at your game. . . and: ‘How can I play better? What can I do to do. . . to contribute to the team? If everybody does that, you know, you hope the next game will improve on that. -Rick Tocchet, VAN coach

On Monday, both heavyweights will meet for the last time this season. Likely, the game won’t have much impact in the standings but mentally it’s a crucial game for both teams. Vegas would love to clear their memory from Friday’s terrible 3rd period meltdown in Arizona with a strong performance in Vancouver. The Canucks, well they would like to rebuild their confidence after being outmatched in Las Vegas. Both teams want this game.

We know that we have another level; we’ve seen it as a team. So, it is a little disappointing when you come out like that against a good team that is opportunistic. It’s not a concern, it’s just we’re not happy about it. I guess you can call that concern. But we know that there is that other level. I think a lot of us are disappointed that we’re not at it with this many games left. But the goal right now is just to get it back before Game 1 of the playoffs. -Carson Soucy, VAN defenseman

Of course, the Golden Knights would love to erase their evening in Tempe, but the result was an outlier from the previous two weeks’ outcomes. Before last night the Golden Knights were playing at a high level at the perfect time. Now, they have a chance to get back on track by picking up wins next week in Vancouver and Edmonton. Standings points matter, but not as much as team confidence heading into the postseason.

The good teams that we’ve played the last stretch here, we’ve played our system well. We’ve defended well. As a five-man unit on the ice (against Vegas), we did not defend well, especially the rushes. We gave up countless odd-man rushes, we weren’t playing within our system and that hurt us. -Tyler Myers, VAN defenseman

Don’t let the seeding or individual point totals get in the way of the truth. The Oilers are another Pacific playoff team that is quietly dreading a potential opening-round matchup with the Golden Knights. Last night, Edmonton clinched a postseason position for the fifth straight year by punishing the Colorado Avalanche 6-3. It’s great news for the fans and the franchise but it’s more sobering for the players. If the postseason began today, the Oilers would face the same team that eliminated them in 2023. It’s unlikely the reigning champions will lose any confidence with that first round matchup. Or any matchup for that matter.

Thankfully for Vegas, the Coyotes are eliminated.

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55 Comments

  1. ThG

    no7 scartch last nite was a factor

    since Oaklank A’s are playing in West Sacramento the next few years
    will they change their name to the West Sacramento A’s. If not
    when they come to Vegas will they still be Oakland A’s ?
    Why is Vegas getting all loser teams from CA ?

    Along with all their awful, dreadful fans ?

  2. ThG

    also not the worst collapse EVER by VGK team, the MAF two muffs in the playoffs are still tops (san jose collapse and montreal- MAF basically put puck into own net).

    And what is up with pulling the goalie with three minutes left in game ? That is far, far , far too early. It’s just plain stupid, I don’t care if anyone starts with “well, the analytics say this or that”. That is just plain WRONG.

    • Chris Tettamanti

      It’s pretty close to being the worst. There’s only been three times in seven years or we’ve been up by three and lost. This wasn’t only a loss, they got spanked. Additionally, they’re down by two with three minutes to go. You definitely pull your goalie at that point.

    • Rashaad

      Correct me if you think I am wrong for this but I am not angry at all about Friday nights game against Arizona. They played like shit and deserves to lose. Logan Thompson especially embarrassing but it’s just one game. Who cares? They are 9-3-1 in their last 13 games. They are humans not robots. Humans are flawed and unpredictable sometimes. They are also the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. I feel like I am in the minority in just being able to brush this off.

  3. jeffrey

    if st. louis goes 6-0-0 and we lose our next four in regulation those two games against chicago and anaheim won’t matter… we’re out

    • Pistol Pete

      Don’t think you are right about that buddy. In fact I know you are not. If the Blues go 6-0 they finish with 96 pts. The VGK needs just two wins to get to 96 pts and they win the tiebreaker because they won the season series 2-1. Nice try though. Also STL has two games against top contenders (CAR and DAL) plus one against one (SEA) that is not the dogs their other three games are. They ain’t goin 6-0. Again, nice try.

      • Pistol Pete

        So I appear to be wrong about the tiebreaker with STL should they go 6-0 to 96 points and Vegas gets two more wins for 96. The tiebreaker is not the season series my bad. Ken did indicate earlier that the VGK at 96 clinches when the Blues could still reach 96 and I assumed it was the season series. That is not the case. My apologies. Ken may have the tiebreaker right I am not sure.

        • Pistol Pete

          So yup jeffrey is correct VGK needs 97 pts to clinch vs. STL. My bad. So VGK needs 5 pts (3-3 or 3-2-1) but it goes down by two points for each STL loss and they have to play both CAR and DAL. Would not surprise me at all if they lose one of their dog games too.

          • Pistol Pete

            2-3-1 I meant.

          • Jeffrey

            if it comes down to the final game (however unlikely) i guarantee Deboer will run his AHL roster out against St. Louis in the final game to seal our fate with a smile.

          • ThG

            ok
            Hank

  4. Emmanuel

    “Today, the reigning Stanley Cup champions are three points from earning home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.”

    Huh?

    EDM 97
    VGK 92

    Last nights loss was huge in the home ice advantage sense.
    Its unlikely the Oil is caught up to.
    Does it matter?

    • Pistol Pete

      Nothing wrong with opening a series away. Win one and home ice becomes yours (initially anyways).

    • Rashad – it’s not the loss it’s how it went down. They need every win they can muster going into the playoffs. They passed up two points thinking they could get by playing 20 minutes of a 60 minute contest. They are guilty of that way to often and it’s a terrible habit to get into. That’s not acceptable play of reigning Stanley Cup champs. What’s worse by their own admission they know better. They need to kick on the killer attitude and finish strong.

  5. JB

    Look, this site is famous for over-reacting after this kind of loss. Was I pissed off? Hell yes! Lots f- bombs out of my mouth. But it’s over, throw it away and on to Vancouver. IF we were to miss the playoffs by two points then I would point to this dark day. But I don’t think that is going to happen. Being defending champs, we skated out there in the first and third like we would win just because we are the champs. So, get over it. Once playoffs start this game will mean nothing!

    • Pistol Pete

      Furthermore JB it took some measure of puck luck for the Yotes to win that one. Plus LT let in two shots from the boards he should not have (goals 1 and 4) . He was good in the first though.

  6. Tim

    I love how some of you just blow it off as a loss no big deal but it is a big deal. First off Cassidy is going to be in there shit, next does Thompson have a concussion or was he really that bad either way it’s scary going into the playoffs.Petro out is concerning as he usually plays a steady game. Is Hill coming back, how about Stone, and how effective will be Hertl coming off knee surgery? Actually there’s a lot to be concerned about but keep on those rose colored glasses everything will get better.

    • knights fan in minny

      calm down worry wart turn on the mlb

    • ThG

      they were saying when they traded for Hertl that he would be back by now

      so ??

    • JB

      Take off your shit covered glasses Tim. I am so tired of your negative crap. You are nothing but a bandwagon fan. Go watch your baseball and quit slamming the team!

      • knights fan in minny

        give him hell jb

      • Tim

        JB, What’s negative in my post? Is Cassidy pissed you don’t think so? Does Thompson have a concussion or just played poorly was that a fair question? Are Hill and Stone coming back seems like a fair question but I’m a negative asshole? Will hertl come back at full strength am I negative asking that question? Missing Petro hurts is that another dumb question? With assholes like you that don’t ask legitimate questions and give me a ration of shit better read the post before you and others shoot your fucking mouth off. Reality is a bitch for some people. I do like my baseball more then hockey but I still enjoy watching hockey when they decide to play which at best is off and on. That comment last should send you into a frenzy. It’s so easy to bust your balls THG has been doing it for years and now I see why he does although I don’t agree with his political bull-shit but in reality Biden or Trump it’s no contest Trump that should get you left wing draft dodging pacifist fired up.

        • SMH

          While it is quite difficult to read and decipher your posts (you should consider taking a course on grammar and syntax, unless English is not your first language, in which case I totally understand), I felt compelled to chime in and let you know that Mr. Trump (a) evaded the Vietnam-era draft 5 times (4 times due to being a student, but also once for the laughable excuse of “bone spurs” in his feet, which was a total lie written by a physician friend of Trump’s father as a favor to him), and (b) has repeatedly disparaged members of the U.S. military, including referring to veterans who were killed in the line of duty as “losers” and “suckers”. Many U.S. military servicemen and women have changed their opinion of Mr. Trump after learning these facts. I am certainly not a left-winger, and don’t generally espouse political discourse on a hockey fan site, but I do think that ungenuine comments like yours should be addressed for education purposes. Carry on.

          • Pistol Pete

            In total agreement SMH. Well said.

          • ThG

            SMH Trump is greatest president of last 50 years, since Reagan. THe military supports Trump more than genocide JOE , look at his disaster in Afghanistan. He’s one train wreck after another after another. Joe has let our military go woke. The police and military support Trump. Not woke broke Joe. The police in NY just told Joe’s buddy, the governor of NY to get lost at a wake. Joe is no friend of military or police. Joe is letting down our great ally Israel. Trump would never do that. Joe and his ilk are taking sides with neo fascists, jew hating HAMAS. That says all you need to know.

            despite your being a brain washed on the subject matter; and telling lies. Stop watching MADCOW

            it hurts your brain and displays your stupidity when you post crap like you do. Don’t be a far left winger cult follower of alphabet soup fake news outlets !

          • TS

            SMH, I like your polite discourse.

        • TS

          Tim, calm down! Everyone is frustrated right now! I personally think you have raised some valid concerns about the team. You’re a REALIST. I get that. This site can be pretty harsh, esp. When people question the VGK. I, too, have had questions, I get pissed when posters personally attack other people for simply posting opinions, good or bad. ” like noses, we ALL have one!” We don’t have to Agree, but we should respect others’ opinions!

    • Rashaad

      Tim, you were saying all of this stuff last year and they ended up winning the Stanley Cup. You always overreact, and if you don’t then how do you explain literally every single day of last season.

  7. Pistol Pete

    Stars lose to CHI in regulation lol. At Chicago.

    • Earl the Replanted Transplant

      Didn’t the VGK do the same thing back in October?

    • Pistol Pete

      Blues lose to Sharks in OT lol.

      VGK needs just 2 wins to clinch vs STL lol.

      Wild lose at home to Jets lol.

      VGK needs just one win to clinch vs. MIN lol.

  8. Earl the Replanted Transplant

    With respect to Jason. Don’t give the VGK and excuse for last night’s game. They didn’t respect the other team, were arrogant and lazy. They paid the price for that lack of respect. If LAKs bump them tonight it is the VGKs fault for their lack of professionalism. Treat every team with respect and play a full 60 minutes or pay the price.

    • Rashaad

      Earl, you are correct that it was a bad effort against Arizona however the Coyotes, Blackhawks, Sharks and Ducks have won a combined 100 games and some of those will be against Vegas, Colorado, Dallas and Edmonton. It’s just the way it is. That won’t change.

      • Pistol Pete

        Rashaad I definitely do not believe the Knights were arrogant and lazy in what happened in Arizona. Earl obviously does not understand the day to day grind of playing in the NHL.

        • Earl the Replanted Transplant

          Hey Pee-Pee, I understand what it is to give 100% in life, giving your all everyday or every game. There are days when a person wakes up and are challenged before their feet hit the floor, but they should get up and give it their all ni matter the pain, etc. Please tell me how the stats from the game in Arizona demonstrate that effort. They did not give 100% and they did not show due respect to a team playing for the sake of playing professionally. Do not try to tell me what I do and do not understand. Look back at the comment I made before the game and you’ll see that I called it. The VGK lacked respect for the other team, that is why they were arrogant. The stats show they played a lazy game. I stand by what I said.

  9. Pistol Pete

    Blues lost in OT to the Sharks. I knew something like this could happen lol.

    VGK needs 2-4 to clinch lol. Nice try jeffrey.

    If Blues lose two more times (very possible since they play CAR and DA L) and the Wild lose once more (could happen before they play VGK because first they play COL first lol) VGK needs zero wins to clinch lol. In these cases jeffrey VGK clinches with the points they have now lol (92).

    Nice try jeffrey lol.

  10. Pistol Pete

    The Preds now suck lol. They have lost four of the last five having just been shut out by the Islanders. VGK remains one point in front with a game in hand.

  11. Pistol Pete

    To the jackoff basher lurkers I repeat:

    The VGK need 2-4 to clinch lol.

    • Jeff Eagle

      They are going to get into the playoffs, but it would be best if they weren’t the 8th seed. The WC2 will probably have to play Dallas in the 1st rd and then Colorado in the 2nd rd. I would prefer the 6th or 7th seed and the road through Vancouver, Edmonton, or LA as the path to the western conference finals. That’s why every point matters right now, as it will determine our playoff position.

    • TS

      Pp, I am.stunned that you use such language! lol, have you seen some of MY colorful language?? My command of the English language includes cussing!

  12. Pistol Pete

    If the Blues lose to the Ducks today (stranger things have happened) the VGK can clinch tomorrow.

  13. Rashaad

    If we didn’t have the goaltending depth that we had last year we would not have won the Stanley Cup. I had mentioned in probably about a half dozen posts before the trade deadline that they should get another goalie. This is not a condemnation on the front office. There really wasn’t much available and they probably thought it wasn’t worth it to get a third goalie that wasn’t great.

    But all I wanted was a NHL caliber third goalie as insurance, even if it was a guy that was subpar with an .890ish save percentage. Alex Nedeljkovic probably would have been easy to attain. A tweet came through on my phone that Logan Thompson was hurt in practice today. Does anybody know anything about this? If we have to rely on Patera then it’s likely that the season is already over. Any talk about defensive, play, power-play, etc.., is pointless with Patera. No disrespect, probably a nice kid, but he is AHL caliber in my opinion.

    • TS

      Rashaad, I believe another poster wondered the same about LT being hurt, after the poor showing vs AZ. I know he took a puck to the head 2 games ago, may be concussion,as was mentioned? He also was tackled by a player in yet a different recent gameThat would be seadon- changing/ ending for the team, if so. Very very troubling news.

  14. Rashaad

    It seems like Hill and Thompson have both been less than 100% healthy. Potentially. That would have explained a lot.

    Larry had mentioned in a post that Thompson’s terrible game could have something to do with being unhealthy. Potential concussion.

    Let’s hope for some positive news on both Hill and Thompson.

    As for the negative / realist / constructive criticizers, please understand these guys delivered a Stanley Cup for you last year. A little bit of respect is deserved. They are very tight lipped as an organization in regards to injuries, and we don’t always know the true story about their health situations. Again, these are human beings, and not robots and they are the reigning Stanley Cup Champions.

  15. Rashaad

    This is what Ken has tweeted today…..

    Injury updates from Cassidy

    Stone: Nothing new
    Hill: Back with the group, won’t be available for tomorrow but will travel
    Hertl: Probably play tomorrow
    Pietrangelo: Not traveling, won’t play the next two
    Carrier: Not traveling, won’t play the next two
    Roy: Out tomorrow, will need a little bit of time, probably not traveling.
    Thompson: Assuming he’s ok he will start. Cassidy said he didn’t think it was anything, so yes he should be, but it didn’t look great to be honest, so we will see.

    That doesn’t sound too convincing on Thompson being healthy. Doesn’t seem to be 100% even if he plays.

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