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Page 2 of 322 Podcast #253: Rip Off The Band-Aid

The team’s recent run of success amidst the injuries has us thinking about the plans for the future. Should the Golden Knights make their cap move sooner rather than later to trade from a place of strength? Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • VGK’s recent results
  • Eichel’s place in the lineup
  • Are we changing our minds on who could be traded for the cap?
  • Taco Bell commercial
  • Luke Combs’ hat choice

And much more…

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Vegas Is Becoming Alex Pietrangelo’s Team

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Let’s be honest, we all thought the Golden Knights would be a lot worse off than they are today. Thanksgiving has passed and we can all let out a collective sigh knowing that if the season ended today Vegas would be in the playoffs.

The injury bug hit the Golden Knights hard but through coaching, leadership, and responsibility, the Golden Knights are currently in third place in the division.

One player that was an enormous reason why the Golden Knights kept their heads above water is defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Since Game 52 of last season, Pietrangelo has emerged as Vegas’ most important player. Sure, some deep stats will disagree but frankly, this is a case of mistaken identity. You want a stat? The Golden Knights are 7-2 when Pietrangelo registers a point. A point! Not a goal, but just one point from #7 usually propels the Golden Knights to a victory. That’s just his offensive contributions.

Clearly, coach Pete DeBoer isn’t concerned with what the data says about his most essential player. If the 31-year-old is such a deterrent than why would he be one of the most utilized defenseman in hockey? Pietrangelo is a bonafide workhorse and a fantastic facilitator for DeBoer.

Average Time On Ice: 25:16

  • 1st on VGK, 9th in NHL

Even Strengthened Minutes Per Game: 20:03

  • 2nd on VGK (1st – Theodore 20:17)

PP Minutes Per Game: 2:20

  • 2nd on VGK (1st – Stone 3:05)

Shorthanded Minutes Per Game: 2:50

  • 2nd ok VGK (1st – McNabb 2:57)

Offensive or defensive draw, up a goal or down a goal, up a man or down a man, it doesn’t matter, DeBoer is calling on #7.

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Recap: The Golden Knights got some great news before their game in Nashville as Max Pacioretty hit the ice for the first time since mid-October. Linemate Chandler Stephenson scored his seventh goal of the season, giving Vegas a 1-0 lead with 48 seconds left in the opening period. 

Jonas Rondbjerg and Adam Brooks both had 2nd period goals to stretch the Golden Knights lead to 3-0 after 40 minutes of action. 

Nashville would get on the board twice in the final frame but Alex Pietrangelo and Mark Stone regained Vegas’ three goal lead.

The Golden Knights record improves to 12-8-0 with their 5-2 victory in Nashville. Vegas gets a short Thanksgiving break and will host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Puck drop from The Fortress is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Vegas played a game straight out of the tool bag that had them tied for the most points in the NHL. They controlled the game by forechecking and keeping plays alive in the offensive zone and they used turnovers to generate quick strike chances. Defensively they were sound and they got excellent goaltending from Robin Lehner, and the penalty kill completely dominated the Predators. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Nashville Predators game at Bridgestone Arena.

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Goalie Interference – Episode 7

A special postgame episode, we go over the game in Nashville, the debacle in St. Louis, and chat about the inconsistent nature of the Golden Knights so far. Tonight’s show will air about 15-30 minutes following the VGK/NSH game.

Audio Only

Up Two Or Down Two, Vegas Can Handle Either

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s been said that a two goal lead is the worst lead in hockey. Silly, right? However, there’s some truth to it.

As you might expect, the absolute most dangerous lead in hockey is the one-goal lead as 85.35% of those were surrendered. That means either a game was tied up or the opponent took the lead back from them.

A two goal lead was given up 39.52%, seeing a two-goal lead given up nearly four out of every ten times is incredible. Think of the “dead puck” era when a two-goal lead essentially meant the game was over. Now? Not so much. Of the 463 times a team held a two-goal advantage, 183 times that team gave it up.-

When a club is up two or more in a game, they tend to take their foot off the gas or play with a bit of unnatural risk. Not too mention trying to stop an angry, desperate team chasing goals. On Tuesday night in St. Louis it was a rare occurrence that a 2-0 lead wasn’t good enough for Pete DeBoer and his players.

We got the start we wanted for a change, and we talked about that, and we let them back in the game.-Pete DeBoer, VGK coach

No need for panic as it was the first time all season the Golden Knights blew a two goal advantage and lost. Vegas had spoiled puckline leads in the past but always found ways to win. The season opener against Seattle and the overtime scramble against Anaheim are two instances that stand out. In St. Louis the guard was let down too early and the Blues sensed it.

Original Golden Knight David Perron liked the Blues response on Tuesday night. Perron told Bally Sports Midwest that trailing by two only fueled his team.

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Blown Leads Becoming A Common Theme In VGK Games

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Inconsistency is always expected over the course of an 82-game regular season season. Throw in $30 million in injuries and it’s almost a given that there will be off nights a plenty.

However, that’s expected to be more from game to game, night to night, not necessarily period to period or shift to shift as the Golden Knights have been experiencing lately.

Over the last two games, the Golden Knights have experienced a major case of Jekyll and Hyde. Against Columbus they were horrible for 20 minutes, only to turn it around and put in the most convincing 40 minutes of the season. Then, in St. Louis, it was the opposite, great for 10 minutes, then miserable for 50.

Vegas is now 6-5-0 when scoring first, while being 5-3-0 when allowing the first goal. That’s eight games in 19 that have seen the team who concedes first go on to win (42%). In 2020-21, the Golden Knights played 56 games and the team who scored first lost just 14 of them (25%).

But it’s not just the first goal, it’s often the second too. VGK have been up at least a pair and gone on to see the lead disappear three times in 19 games. On the flip side though, they’ve been down at least two on four difference occasions and erased the lead as well.

All in all, there’s been game-tying goal in 13 of the 19 games this season, eight in which Vegas allowed it, and six in which VGK scored it (both happened in the Vancouver game).

Recovered Deficits

10/27 – at DAL – Overcome 1 goal deficit twice 1-0, 2-1 – Win
11/6 – at MTL – Overcome 2 goal deficit 2-0 – Win
11/9 – SEA – Overcome 1 goal deficit twice 1-0, 2-1 – Win
11/13 – VAN – Overcome 2 goal deficit 2-0, Win
11/16 – CAR – Overcome 2 goal deficit 2-0, Loss
11/20 – CBJ – Overcome 2 goal deficit 2-0, Win

Blown Leads

10/12 – SEA – Blow 3 goal lead 3-0 – Win
10/14 – @LAK – Blow 1 goal lead 1-0 – Loss
10/20 – STL – Blow 1 goal lead 1-0 – Loss
10/22 – EDM – Blow 1 goal lead twice 1-0, 2-1 – Loss
10/29 – ANA – Blow 3 goal lead 4-1 – Win
11/7 – at DET – Blow 1 goal lead 1-0 – Loss
11/13 – VAN – Blow 1 goal lead, twice 3-2, 4-3 – Win
11/22 – at STL – Blow 2 goal lead 2-0 – Loss

Maybe the oddest part of all of it has been the Golden Knights’ record in these topsy turvy games.

When they have recovered a deficit, the Golden Knights have gone on to win five of the six games. When they’ve blown a lead, they’ve come back and rescued the game three out of the eight. One has to wonder if these numbers will come back closer to even if this trend continues.

It’s a lot like the advanced analytic stat PDO. In hockey, things like this tend to even out. Right now, it looks like the Golden Knights are on the positive side of the spectrum a bit more than they probably should be at this point.

There is one really good way to avoid that from swinging back the other way though… stop blowing leads.


Recap: Vegas center Chandler Stephenson got the Golden Knights off to an incredibly fast start again, scoring :36 into the game in St. Louis. Red hot Reilly Smith doubled Vegas’ lead six minutes later giving Vegas a 2-0 lead. The Blues woke up after Smith’s goal and scored three unanswered to take a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.

St. Louis added another early in the second period on the power play. It was the only goal of the period and the Golden Knights trailed 4-2 after two periods of play.

The offense continued to struggle for Vegas since early in the 1st period. The Blues scored one more in the final 20 minutes, handing the Golden Knights a 5-2 defeat.

The Golden Knights record drops to 11-8-0 and prepare for their next game on Wednesday. Puck drop in Nashville is scheduled for 5 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A bit of an opposite game from the one on Saturday night against Carolina. In this one, the Golden Knights could do no wrong early, scoring twice and creating their own luck. Then, it completely fell apart and they were doing all the things that make coaches go crazy. A very poor game in the first of four of five on the road. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues game at Enterprise Center.

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Adam Brooks Set To Make VGK Debut

(Photo Credit: Golden Knights press conference on Zoom)

He’s probably not a familiar face to Golden Knights fans, and maybe not even his own head coach, but Adam Brooks is a known commodity to many in the Golden Knights organization.

The Winnipeg-born 25-year-old played his junior hockey in the WHL before being drafted in the 4th round in 2016 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He bounced between the AHL (Toronto Marlies) and the NHL for his first few seasons before being claimed on waivers early this year by the Montreal Canadiens. When he hit waivers again, the Golden Knights snapped him up, and after a few days waiting for visas and work permits, he’s set to make his VGK debut tonight.

Of course, being a standout in the WHL was always going to catch the attention of Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon. Brooks posted 250 points in his final two seasons in the WHL with the Regina Pats, with plenty coming against McCrimmon’s Brandon Wheat Kings. But it’s not just Kelly who is familiar with him. In his first season with the Pats, Brooks played alongside Chandler Stephenson and then in his final year, future Golden Knights draft pick Jake Leschyshyn was on his team. Then, when he got to the NHL, he met and played with Michael Amadio and Ben Hutton. And before all of it, growing up in Winnipeg has him familiar with Keegan Kolesar, Brett Howden, Nolan Patrick, and Zach Whitecloud.

It’s a pretty big group (of players I know), so you’re able to come in and feel a little more relaxed and a little more comfortable and I’m excited to join this group, it’s a special one. -Adam Brooks

Golden Knights fans may not recognize the name or the face, but they’ll certainly be able to recognize the type of player they are getting in Brooks. A high-IQ player, Brooks is not flashy but has plenty of skill. He’s able to play up and down the lineup and has been used as both a power play option and a penalty killer in his 22-game NHL career. In other words, he’s the exact prototype of a player Vegas has drafted for the past four years.

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Recap: The Golden Knights allowed a goal under a minute of the game for the first time this season. The Blue Jackets added another on the penalty kill to carry a 2-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

After some heavy pressure Keegan Kolesar scored his first of the season to get Vegas within one. Kolesar’s goal was the only scoring change in the period and the Golden Knights trailed 2-1 after two periods of action.

Vegas began the 3rd period on a power play but the home team couldn’t get one across. However, Reilly Smith tied the game shorthanded with his seventh of the season. Mattias Janmark broke the tie picking up his first goal of the season. The Golden Knights scored three unanswered goals to defeat the Blue Jackets 3-2. 

The Golden Knights record improves to 11-7-0 and go 5-1-0 to finish their six game homestand. Vegas travels to St. Louis for a Monday night matchup with the Blues. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It was a tale of two games. Vegas couldn’t do much of anything right in the 1st period, but they completely turned it around in the 2nd and continued into the 3rd. After being unable to win any board battles, struggling to exit, and giving up loads of chances, VGK turned it on in the 2nd and flipped the script completely. They were excellent for the final 40 minutes and got help from a timely shorthanded goal by Reilly Smith.  (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Columbus Blue Jackets game at T-Mobile Arena.

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Golden Knights Adding Variety To Power Play Entries

I’m aware this is from a while ago, but how often do we get a chance to use a picture of Tom Wilson in the box and it kinda fits? (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights power play is, how do I say this politely, a… work in progress. They currently sit 30th in the NHL, connecting on 13.5% of their chances this season.

It’s one aspect of the game Vegas’ front office and coaching staff specifically targeted as an area for improvement this offseason. So far, improvement is not what we’ve seen, but recently, we’re starting to see some changes which could lead to a breakthrough.

Aside from numerous shifts in personnel, mostly due to injury, the Golden Knights have begun to mix up their entry strategies. Previously, basically since DeBoer took over, the Golden Knights have been reliant on the drop pass entry. One player, usually a defenseman, takes the puck from behind the goal, skates hard into the teeth of the penalty kill’s neutral zone set up, then wheels and drops the puck off to a teammate coming up behind him. Here’s what it looks like.

The idea is to first back off the defense, basically forcing them to either stand still on the blue line or retreat into the defensive zone. Then, the puck is laid off to a puck carrier with forward momentum and options spread across the ice. It’s a much maligned power play entry tactic by fans and media alike, but historically it’s proven to be the most consistently effective strategy both in gaining the zone and scoring directly off the rush on the power play.

The Golden Knights have implemented a few different wrinkles to the drop pass entry including having multiple options to drop to, quickly advancing a pass to the red line only to drop it back, or even occasionally using a double drop pass. But for the most part, this style of entry has been the primary style of attack the entire DeBoer era and most of the time before him. Here’s an example of a double drop pass entry that works brilliantly.

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