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What VGK Did Wrong In Game 3 And How They Can Correct It

Photo from ProjectSaint in SinBin Discord

The Golden Knights’ performance to start Game 3 was unrecognizable compared to how they played in Dallas in the first two games of the series. They were outshot 30-10 in the first half of the game and if it weren’t for an other-worldly goaltending performance from Logan Thompson would have been trailing by five or six rather than just two.

Of course, Vegas stormed back into the game with a 4-on-4 goal followed by a shorthanded tally but never got their game going in the right direction at 5-on-5 for the entirety of the 76 minute game.

There were two main problems that plagued the Golden Knights in Game 3 and they worked hand in hand to allow the Stars to dictate a majority of the contest. First, VGK’s puck management in the neutral zone was poor. They turned the puck over on countless occasions leading directly or indirectly to transition chances the other way. This meant as the game went along they became more committed to dumping the puck into the offensive zone. That’s where problem two arose, Vegas struggled to slow down Dallas’ exits along the walls.

Combine them both, and it led to one way traffic coming at Thompson for most of the night, illustrated perfectly by a 27-4 edge in high-danger chances and 54-26 in overall scoring chances to Dallas.

They took it to us. We had no business being in that game. LT stood on his head and allowed us a chance to get back in it. We have to learn from it and have a better start in Game 4. -Brayden McNabb

The first issue is a simple one to fix. Game 3 was not the first time the Golden Knights have had puck management issues this season and typically they were able to correct it quickly. It’s the other aspect of the game that is a bit more concerning.

We have to play through their hands. There’s a lot of time we’re going up as defensemen or forwards coming back and we’re doing fly-bys. We need to close on that guy whether the D goes up and ends it and the forward reads off him and gets over the middle speed or the forward gets up and ends it because the D wasn’t able to get there in time and then the D recovers to the middle to get over their middle speed to neutralize it. -Bruce Cassidy

Here’s an example of what Cassidy is talking about.

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Recap: Up 2-0 in the seven-game series the Golden Knights immediately had to fend off a desperate Stars team. Dallas outshot Vegas 18-8 in the opening period but were only able to get one past Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson. After the opening twenty minutes the Golden Knights trailed 1-0.

Thompson continued to put on a show in net stopping, 29 shots in 30 minutes of action. The Stars were able to double their lead to 2-0 in the middle frame, however Brayden McNabb finally got the Golden Knights on the scoreboard midway through the second period. Minutes later Jack Eichel tied the game with a crucial shorthanded goal. Through 40 minutes, Game 3 was locked in a 2-2 score.

Vegas had several quality chances to start the final frame, but Dallas was able to fend off the home team’s attack. Both teams battled until time ran out in regulation and needed overtime to decide a winner. Dallas would go on to score late in sudden death to secure the game 3-2.

After their 3-2 loss in overtime the Golden Knights now lead the Stars 2-1 in their seven-game series. The series will resume on Monday night from The Fortress. Puck drop for Game 4 is scheduled for 6:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights were an utter disaster for the first 30+ minutes of the game. They could not get through the neutral zone and it led to a flurry of incredible chances coming at Logan Thompson. Thompson stood on his head and thwarted so odd-man rushes. Then, in a flash, VGK scored at 4-on-4 and 4-on-5 to strike back and tie a game they should have been down by four or more. They started to defend better in the 3rd and early OT, but the legs started to catch up to them and a fresh youngster came flying through the neutral zone to end it. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars at T-Mobile Arena.

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VGK’s Heaviness Contributing To 2-0 Series Lead

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We heard it way back after the 2017-18 Stanley Cup finals, the Golden Knights needed to get bigger and stronger. Or in hockey lexicon, Vegas needed to get heavier. So, they did.

They traded for Ryan Reaves (6’2″, 225) around the 2018 deadline, completed a late offseason deal for Max Pacioretty (6’2″, 217), and they traded and signed Mark Stone (6’3″, 217) minutes before the 2019 trade deadline expired. So, the organization did what they said they, get heavier. And it didn’t stop there.

Size matters, especially at this time of year. They lean on you all night and they wear teams down because they lean on you. It’s impressive because there are times when they get a lead where they’re not trying to score. They’re controlling the territory of the game, and you don’t get any second chances. Every puck is confronted in your own zone and there’s no free ice anywhere. There’s got to be tactic changes when you play that team because of their weight and size. It’s fun to watch that team play that type of playoff hockey. – Ken Hitchcock, former NHL coach on Bob McCown Podcast

Over the years Vegas introduced Nic Hague (6’6″, 230) to their lineup, took a chance on monster goaltender Adin Hill (6’6″, 215), picked up Nick Holden (6’4″, 210), added depth with Ben Hutton (6’3″, 201), brought in Nic Roy (6’4″, 202), signed a mega-deal with Alex Pietrangelo (6’3″, 215), and are currently starting large Logan Thompson (6’4″, 205) in net. Easy to say, the Golden Knights set out to be heavy, and they were rewarded with a Stanley Cup trophy last year.

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Film Breakdown: Defensive Brilliance vs DAL

The Golden Knights took both games on the road in Dallas and are now in complete control of their first round series. They’re doing it with suffocating defense all over the ice.

In this film breakdown, we show what they are doing and how they are doing it.

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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – Post Game 2 VGKvsDAL, April 25th, 2024

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Read all the replies below…

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0 Shots, 5 Minutes

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

The clock at American Airlines Center said 5:00 left in the 3rd period. Already down in the series the home team found themselves down a goal in Game 2 as well. They had to score and quickly.

The Golden Knights had other ideas.

Despite holding controlling the puck for a majority of the last five minutes and pulling their goalie for the extra attacker, the Stars did not manage to get a single shot on net the rest of the game.

We’re trusting each other. That’s huge. You have to trust the four other guys on the ice with you to do their job and I think we’ve been doing that really well. -Noah Hanifin

The goaltender, who was crucial in keeping the game tied in the 2nd period, used the same word, trust.

I’m used to it by now. I completely trust my forward group and D group in front of me. You know the team is clicking when they are getting in front of every puck. We battle for each other. -Logan Thompson

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Recap: Game 2 began with several quality chances for Dallas, but Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson kept his composure and held the game scoreless through most of the period. With under three minutes remaining in the opening frame the Stars took a 1-0 advantage. The lead wouldn’t hold as Jonathan Marchessault tied the game before the first intermission.

The game locked down in the middle frame with only 15 total shots on net. With :67 seconds left in the period Vegas defenseman Noah Hanifin wristed the puck into Dallas’ net for their first lead of the game.

Vegas came out firing in the opening ten minutes of the final frame. The Golden Knights launched eight shots in the first half of the period and controlled play in the second half. The reigning Stanley Cup champions locked down and finished off the Stars 3-1 in Game 2.

The Golden Knights take a 2-0 series lead by defeating the Stars 3-1 in Game 2. The series will now shift to Vegas for Game’s 3 and 4. Puck drop for Game 3 is scheduled for 7:30 PM on Saturday night. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights entered this series with a very specific plan against an opponent they know well. They wanted to keep their structure defensively and limit transition chances from the Stars. Through two games, they’ve done exactly that and they’ve completely taken the air out of the 3rd best scoring team in the league. VGK are making the Stars look hapless offensively. It’s been impressive. The Golden Knights are coming home with a 2 game advantage. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

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