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VGK Playoff, Division, Stanley Cup Probabilities

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are in the midst of a three-game slide, the first regular season losing streak since Pete DeBoer took over as head coach back in January 2020. They’ve fallen four points behind the division-leading Avalanche but have a game in hand. Meanwhile, after dropping four points to the Wild, Vegas still hold a two point advantage on Minnesota.

With a little more than 60% of the season gone we have a pretty good idea of where everyone inside of the division stands. However, due to the division-only scheduling, comparing team to team across divisions can be a bit trickier.

That’s why I like to rely on the stat geeks. I love to keep tabs on three prediction machines that use drastically different methods to come up with their probabilities. They are MoneyPuck.com, Hockey-Reference.com’s Playoff Probabilities page, and Dom Luszczyszyn from The Athletic’s Playoff Projections.

We’ll start with MoneyPuck. Their model uses a game predictor based on a variety of factors such as team strength, health, home/away, rest, and even more in-depth stats like expected goals and special teams percentages. They run 100,000 simulations daily to come up with their probabilities.

Make Playoffs
VGK 99.7%

Points Projection
VGK 75.5

West Division
VGK 24.5%

Stanley Cup
VGK 7.3%

Next is Hockey-Reference. This is is very much statistical-based. Rather than trying to guess the outcomes of upcoming games, it uses every stat possible to give a percentage chance each team has to win each game. They run 1,000 simulations daily.

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Carp: Anxious Times Await NHL Players

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2021 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

Welcome to Anxiety Week.

It’s that time of the year where if you’re an NHL player, you start hearing rumors that you’ll be moved at the trade deadline. You get texts from friends. Your wife or girlfriend asks you what’s up. Your kids, if they’re old enough, are freaked out at the idea they may have to move and leave their friends and have to go to a new school.

Anxious? You bet.

For a lot of NHL players, they need not be worried. Some have no-move clauses in their contracts or, if you’re someone like Marc-Andre Fleury, have a list of teams they would agree to be traded to.

But for others, this is a tough week. The trade deadline is eight days away (April 12) and trying to maintain one’s focus on their job is not an easy task. Especially if your team is currently struggling and change is imminent.

The stock answer players give when asked if they’re worried about being shipped out is “It’s out of my hands” or “I don’t worry about things I have no control over” both of which are true. They understand the business side of the game and let’s not fret over where their next meal is coming from because everyone is well compensated for their services. If they have to go to Detroit or Ottawa, so be it. They’ll pack their stuff, head to the next destination, and try to quickly assimilate within their new team.

For the Golden Knights players, being moved on or before the April 12 deadline is even more disconcerting. You’d be leaving a team that is built to compete for the Stanley Cup, was leading its division for most of the season, and has been one of the best in the entire NHL since Opening Night. Can you imagine how bummed a player would be if he got a call from Kelly McCrimmon and he tells you you’ve been traded to Buffalo?

It could happen, to pretty much anyone. Especially given the recent events of this week that have seen Vegas drop three in a row, fail to hold the lead in the 3rd period, and a power play that has been more dismal than what we’ve come to expect.

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MINNESOTA WILD 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (24-10-2 49 PTS)

Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: Tomas Nosek got Vegas on the board early in the 1st period giving the home team a 1-0 lead. Nosek picked up his fourth point in the past five games. Marc-Andre Fleury was steady in the opening period stopping all 12 Wild shots. 

Both goalies were outstanding in the middle frame combining for 14 saves. The game stood 1-0 Vegas after two periods played. 

Minnesota’s offense woke up in the 3rd period scoring two straight goals. The Wild tied it up with a power play and took the lead a minute later. The Golden Knights couldn’t muster much with their net empty.

Vegas’ record drops to 24-10- 2 with their 2-1 defeat to Minnesota. The Golden Knights hit the road for the next two games to take on the Blues in St. Louis. Monday’s game is scheduled for 5 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights offensive power outage returned in this one as the only time Vegas scored it was literally accidental. They had a few great chances but failed to convert. On the other end, while the defense certainly improved, the concern of Minnesota scoring in tight continued. As the season heads towards the stretch run, this appears it could be a playoff series, and the Golden Knights have to figure out how to solve the Wild riddle. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Minnesota Wild at T-Mobile Arena

  • Carp’s Sunday column on the pressure players face during deadline week

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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.

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Golden Knights Need To Rely On Others For More Offense

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last month was a big one for two of the Golden Knights’ most reliable forwards. Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone really made an impact in March, combining for an impressive 43 points in 31 days. The club benefited from the two top compilers and posted a 12-5-0 record over the month. Unfortunately, March ended and the Golden Knights began April with a shootout loss against the Minnesota Wild.

Of course, it’s only one game and Vegas picked up a point in the process so there’s no much to gripe about. Last night’s SO loss was only the Golden Knights’ 11th defeat through 35 games this season. The club has set themselves up nicely for a postseason position. However, the loss to Minnesota carried over a trend that should make Vegas fans a bit uneasy.

The Golden Knights rely so much on Pacioretty and Stone to produce offensively that when they don’t, the team struggles to score. In their 11 regulation, overtime, or shootout losses, the top two forwards have scored in just three of those games. Without Pacioretty and Stone’s one-two punch, the Golden Knights average an anemic 1.27 goals per loss.

Especially, in a division featuring a Colorado team that just scored nine in a game and a pesky Minnesota group that averages close to three goals per 60. For Vegas to eliminate both in the postseason, they’ll need to rely on more than just the top line.

Pacioretty & Stone Postseason Production Per Game

Pacioretty: 0.82 Postseason Points Per w/ VGK
0.62 Career Postseason Points Per

Stone: 1.07 Postseason Points Per w/ VGK
0.77 Career Postseason Points Per

The issue for the Golden Knights isn’t just a problem in the regular season. Going back to their first postseason series as Golden Knights in 2018, when Pacioretty and Stone’s offense dried up the team crumbled. Against the San Jose Sharks the pair tallied ten goals in the first four games of that series. Game’s 5-7, the two veterans combined for one goal. One.

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MINNESOTA WILD 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (24-9-2 49 PTS) – SO (1-0)

Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: William Karlsson got Vegas off to a quick start scoring his 10th goal of the season 3:29 into the game. Minnesota caught up later in the period directing a pass by Robin Lehner. The game was tied 1-1 after the opening twenty minutes.

Lehner and Minnesota’s Cam Talbot put on a show in the middle frame. Both goalies were superb shutting down a combined 31 shots on net. The game was locked up 1-1 after 40 minutes played. 

Brayden McNabb broke the tie early in 3rd period with his first goal of the season. The Wild didn’t go away and tied that game on a 4-on-3 power play. 

The game was tied 2-2 after regulation and needed overtime and a shootout to settle the score. The Wild snuck one past Lehner in shootouts and won 3-2.

Vegas’ record drops to 24-9-2 with their 3-2 defeat in a shootout to Minnesota. The two teams will resume their two-game set on Saturday night. The game is scheduled for 6 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: What an awesome hockey game that one was. The Golden Knights created plenty of amazing chances but Talbot robbed a whole bunch of them. It’s a bit concerning how wide-open the game was, a reoccurring theme against the Wild, but with Vegas playing two men short it’s nothing to lose sleepover. Take the point and be thankful the Golden Knights goalie was great in his own right to keep it from being back-to-back regulation losses. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Minnesota Wild at T-Mobile Arena

  • VGK’s Stone and Pacioretty reliance

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Film Breakdown Of VGK’s Dominance When The Opposing Team Pulls Their Goalie

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This season the Golden Knights boast one of the best penalty-killing units in the NHL. That’s a stat that’s highlighted every single night. “Killing” against the empty-net is not thrust into the spotlight nearly as much, but it’s a place the Golden Knights are equally as good.

It starts with having great personnel to get the job done, which the Golden Knights do. They have used 13 players for more than four minutes in 5-on-6 situations. They are also committed to blocking shots and exiting the zone rather than hunting the empty net goals. Beyond all that, they are structurally excellent, which I break down here…

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LOS ANGELES KINGS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (24-9-1 49 PTS)

Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: The Golden Knights got off to another sluggish start allowing the King’s to score first in back to back games. Los Angeles continued to pressure Vegas’ defensive zone and eventually took a 2-0 lead late in the 1st period. 

William Karlsson cut the lead in half with his 9th goal of the season midway through the 2nd period. The King’s regained their two-goal lead five minutes later. After forty minutes LA held a 4-1 lead.

The Golden Knights offense began to generate more it the 3rd period. Shea Theodore scored his sixth of the year to get Vegas within two. However, the Golden Knights couldn’t get any closer and fell 4-2 to the Kings. 

Vegas’ record drops to 24-9-1 with their 4-2 defeat to LA. The Golden Knights have a quick turnaround as they host the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night. The game against the Wild is scheduled for 7:30 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights just were not crisp in this one. They hung around in the game for a while but a couple of missplays by Fleury really sunk the ship. Vegas charged back a bit but the penalty bug put an end to that. Brush it off, hope the injuries and the suspensions aren’t too bad, and don’t let it turn into back-to-back. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena

  • Film study of the Golden Knights dominance when the opposing net is empty

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #228: Doubters

On a fairly busy news day, we jump back into the studio to talk about Cody Glass heading to the AHL, The Creator talking about the future, and the return of Alex Pietrangelo. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • What does this mean for the future of Cody Glass in Vegas?
  • The Dollar Loan Center (Center)
  • Foley’s hint on the deadline plans
  • Proof of vaccine plans at T-Mobile Arena
  • Inside the proving doubters wrong mentality
  • How honest is VGK communication to their own players?

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

Golden Knights Have Helped Keep The Integrity Of The Game

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before the announcement of the Golden Knights in 2016, professional sports seemed like a long shot in Las Vegas. Baseless theories of legal, local gambling influencing the outcome of games were used as excuses. When in reality, the thought of millionaire athletes risking their careers and future contracts to fix one game is, and was always, far-fetched.

Rewind five years, surprising to some the NHL took the risk and became the first league to crack the Las Vegas market. However, as revealed by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman the NHL is still concerned with gambling and the integrity of the game but has nothing to do with Nevada. The league proved that last week when they harshly punished veteran official Tim Peel. The last thing the NHL could afford was a corrupt official like infamous NBA referee Tim Donaghy.

There were deep conversations about how damaging it is to your league during a crisis of consumer confidence. The CBA between the NHL and its officials now contains specific code-of-conduct references: ‘Each official agrees to abstain from habits of intemperance, gambling, immorality or other conduct likely to bring himself and/or the NHL and/or the game of Hockey into disrepute or which results in the impairment of public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of NHL games or the integrity and good character of its officials.’ -Elliotte Friedman, 31 Thoughts on Sportsnet

Last week the NHL quickly nipped a potential controversy in the bud when the official’s hot mic became a major story.

Initially, the story had absolutely nothing to do with gambling, but because of past issues in other sports, the NHL made a tough stand to ensure fans their product is genuine. Without transparency, gambling on hockey could be eliminated, and sadly to say, the interest in the sport would decrease significantly, not to mention millions in lost endorsement money for the league.

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