When the Golden Knights acquired Alec Martinez, the first line of every article about him included his postseason successes. Prior to arriving in Vegas, he’d won two Stanley Cups, played in 64 playoff games over six different seasons, and scored game-winning goals to clinch both the 2014 Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final.
It’s always been about the playoffs with Martinez, and just one game into the actual playoffs as a Golden Knight, it’s already evident why.
Martinez logged 20:58 of ice time, the most of any Golden Knight, and was on the ice for three Vegas goals without conceding any. He added one assist, had two hits, was responsible for two scoring chances, and had four shot attempts. His main contribution, as advertised though, was his shot-blocking.
I thought (Alec) was great. Particularly some big blocked shots on our penalty kill. He’s just so solid. You can put him out in any situation. He’s a versatile guy. He’s been a real good addition for our group. -Pete DeBoer
Martinez blocked four shots including one big one on a dangerous chance on the penalty kill.
Of the team leading 20:58, he played two minutes on the penalty kill, 1:13 on the power play, and had a 173 second shift late in the 2nd period of a one-goal game. Plus, nearly nine minutes of his ice-time came in the 2nd period, when the game was being decided.
Martinez also spent the majority of his night (more than 11 minutes) sharing the ice with the Blackhawks’ most dangerous offensive line of Patrick Kane, Kirby Dach, and Alex DeBrincat. At even-strength, the Golden Knights allowed just five shot attempts, two shots on goal, and zero high-danger scoring chances with Martinez on the ice vs the Hawks 2nd line. He and Theodore posted a 70% Corsi against the high-skilled line and held them to a dismal 0.09 expected goals.
All in all, Game 1 was everything the Golden Knights could have hoped for when they were in the market for a defenseman at the deadline, even if the price was steep.