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Playoffs A Reminder Health Isn’t Only Factor For Success

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Watching the Stanley Cup playoffs certainly has a different feel without the Golden Knights as participants. As we’ve been over many, many times since their season finale, injuries played a significant role in why the team is on the outside looking in. Halfway through the first round, it’s clear Vegas needed more than just their health to advance.

Western Conference Playoff Summary

  • 14-0 Team Scoring First
  • 8-6 Home Team
  • 4.25 Winning Team Average Goals
  • 3.22 Average Goal Differential Per Game
  • 1.8 Power Play Goals Per Win
  • 10-4 When Scoring PPG

Down the stretch, the Golden Knights had trouble picking up the first goal of game, received very little output from their power play, and lacked the ability to climb back and win from behind. On most nights in the playoffs, those elements would be a recipe for disaster. Not surprising, early consistent scoring is paying off in the postseason. So far, there have been 14 games played in the Western Conference, the team that scored the opening goal went on to win to all of them.

Naturally, lower-scoring teams focus on winning defensive battles helping them survive in a long series. Last night the LA Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 and evened the series by playing their signature suffocating style. The Oilers are +7 in goal differential but are in no better shape than the Kings.

The sixth highest-scoring team in the NHL’s regular season has only mustered up three goals in three games. The Calgary Flames averaged 3.55 goals per game in the first 82 but have been held to 2 goals or less in the last three. Yet, the 2.84 goals per game Dallas Stars hold a 2-1 series lead.

Western Conference Goals Scored Per Game

  • Colorado 5.33 (1 ENG)
  • Edmonton 4.25
  • Minnesota 3.25 (2 ENG)
  • St. Louis 3.00 (1 ENG)
  • Dallas 2.00 (2 ENG)
  • Nashville 2.00
  • LA 2.50 (1 ENG)
  • Calgary 1.0

Subtract empty netters, and the averages decrease for several Western Conference contenders. Making most games much tighter than the averages show. No matter who Vegas faced off against their periodic offensive struggles could’ve haunted them in the first round.

Turn back the clock to Vegas’ run to the semifinals last year. In six games against the Montreal Canadiens, the Golden Knights averaged 2.18 goals per game, scored the opening goal twice, and were blanked on the man-advantage.

Without a doubt, the Golden Knights’ front office is tuning in nightly like all of us. We’ve heard dozens of times the NHL is a copycat league, it’s possible VGK execs are picking up plays for their grease board. Why not take a few notes on Colorado’s lethal PP, or some offensive strategies from Edmonton, Minnesota, or St. Louis. Maybe, it’s best to watch Dallas and LA’s suffocating, everything to the outside type of defense. It may be the difference between making semis or the finals.

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30 Comments

  1. I’ve been mentally comparing the VGK to the playoff teams in the hunt. Watching seasoned, really BIG, AGRESSIVE players giving PUNISHING hits stands out to me. The VGK is missing that piece, I feel. No real muscle to make other teams wary of us.. Aside from our obvious deficits ( PP, PK), I see playoff teams ALL fighting for those ” greasy”, blue- paint goals, whereas our players tend to shoot from 20 yards out, and often NOT following up. (Funny, I see Marchy, our smallest guy, fighting at net more than ANYONE!). We have to get tougher!
    But, as a positive,, I am actually enjoying the games, without the stress of the VGK playing. I like Colorado and the Caps. Playoff Hockey is fun no matter who is in it to win it! !

    • LVsc

      excellent post, TS.

      you are right, the Vgk are a soft team. their forwards don’t crash the crease enough, and their dmen allow opponents to stand in front of the goalie and whack away. Remember that goal that was scored on Vgk with 3 whacks at the puck, while 3 Vgk players just stood there and watched him put it in on the 3rd try?

      and where are the after whistle scrums in Vgk games? almost nonexistent, which shows the lack of emotion in the Vgk players.

      Hockey is an emotional game, not a clinical game. You have to outwork opponents.

    • Daryl

      I think you need tough players, but you don’t need fighters. Look at the Pens, they use their speed to get to lose pucks and the guys will stand in there and take hits when need be but they don’t really have a punisher on their team. Reavo got several hits on Pens players but he’s so slow by the time he came in for the hit, the puck was already gone and the Pens player was able to brace for the hit.

      • DARYL:AGREED. We don’t need brawlers who end up in the penalty box, to be sure. But, we definitely need a more intimidating team. A couple players who can deliver the kind of hits that force other teams to think twice about their own actions. We don’t intimidate ANYONE now. We get hammered at times, but have NO ANSWER, and other teams KNOW it.

  2. Edward Foley

    You got bad juju when your Spokesperson is Farhan Naqvi and your business partner is MGM International!

  3. THE hockey GOD

    there is no crying in bas, I mean hockey

    NONE

  4. Blitz

    The only time in my life that I am saying things would be better having the Trotz.

    Is he the savior, probably not, but they would right the wrong of bringing PDB in. Especially in the eyes of fans (speaking for myself). Erase it! No more comparing him to Turk. It just goes to a new start.

  5. THE hockey GOD

    KLA players are going to come to NHL in droves. They should have their own team, tell Goffy Bettman to think outside his myopic circle for once.

    Russia’s economy has plunged into its worst crisis for almost three decades as the country is battered by Western sanctions, a leaked copy of the Kremlin’s own forecasts shows.

    The Russian finance ministry is predicting a 12pc collapse in GDP this year, the biggest contraction since 1994 when it was shifting towards capitalism under Boris Yeltsin, the first post-Soviet president.

    A collapse would wipe out around a decade of economic growth.

    The leak will pile pressure on Vladimir Putin, who on Monday presided over a scaled-down version of Russia’s annual Victory Day parade marking the end of the Second World War in Europe.

    Russia has been hammered by heavy sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, which are about to be ratcheted up further as Brussels discusses a ban on oil from the country.

    • I appreciate your update, without the political leaning, thg. Makes those posts more agreeable to everyone in the spectrum.

  6. The year 1 team completely suffocated and stifled teams all over the ice. The ice was tilted in favor of the VGK in just about every game. That’s the style of play that won us all over. This Clown Edition is Boering as shit and more often than not has us biting our fingernails.

    • the Hockey God

      year 1 goalie tandem 2021-2022
      stats = 65 points !!

      summing up the rest of player stats are not looking too well either.
      especially when you look at poor stats of defensive men that they had.

      so take your ill will elsewhere, it won’t fly here

    • the Hockey God

      5 years older
      5 years slower
      5 years wear and tear
      5 years IS A LONG TIME IN HOCKEY YEARS

      like dog years, every one year in hockey years is like 3 years in human years.

      you don’t age well in hockey years. HELLO!

  7. “Group Choke” have infected the entire roster.

    There’s your answer.

  8. Craig

    Trotz is now available

  9. I’m interested in the idea of Trotz however after looking into him a little bit he seems like another defense first system coach like DeBoer. Mathew Barzal had 85 pts as a rookie the year before Trotz arrived and it’s been downhill ever since. Not sure if it’s Trotz’s system but it does look a little suspicious.

  10. THE hockey GOD

    NHL draft lottery today

    VGK have a very, very, very , gnats chance

    to move up in draft. I expect the RED WINGS to get the shaft again this year, like they do every year.

    THE FIX IS IN !!!

    • THE hockey GOD

      The Buffalo Sabres also could have two picks in the top 16. They acquired the Vegas Golden Knights’ first pick as part of the Jack Eichel trade on Nov. 4. However, if the Golden Knights’ pick is in the top 10, they would keep it and send the Sabres their first-round pick in the 2023 draft.

  11. Tim

    I think the PP doesn’t work because we lack scoring forwards. Right now I see Eichel and Marshy as our only threats. When you see other teams that score they have more and better forwards. You can say Stephenson is decent but Stone, Patch, and Karlsson are non factors. I don’t think any coach could fix this with our personal. This problem also factors in when in the playoffs against a good goalie we just don’t have the firepower as we witnessed in the Dallas and Montreal series. With no cap space and we all love Karlsson he’s a problem. If Stone has back issues he’s a problem. We all know Patch with his injury history the last two years is a problem. Sprinkle in the uncertainty of our goaltending and you tell me how we magically get this team back to the playoffs. On a positive note I think if they match up our blue line teams right there OK. I don’t see anyone in the AHL who can move up and make a difference. Yes they can be 4th liners we have tons of those type of players but no difference makers. While I’m on the subject in the last few years we’ve drafted or signed to Hobey finalist Jimmy S who’s no longer with us and Jack D, who won’t be with us for long. While we projected these dogs to become good players other teams have picked Adam Fox and Cale Makar who are obviously difference makers. Now everyone has there hopes up we’ll sign this Russian kid unless we over pay which were notorious for he’ll be on a different team. As much as our tax structure, weather, and night life is appealing I personally think were not the destination we once were. I played sports and don’t ever think players don’t talk about there experiences from teams they played for. I’d like to hear what Reeves, Nosek, Haula, Eakins, Bellemare, Miller, Carpenter, Tuch, Perron, Neal, Hunt, Tatar, Fleury, Subban, all original Misfits have to say about the Knights organization.

  12. “I think the PP doesn’t work because we lack scoring forwards.”

    Did you notice the PP improve the last 5 games going 4/8 (50%) I believe it was? Lack scoring forwards for the PP? Eichel, Pacioretty, Stone and even Stephenson are not scoring forwards? And what about the D threat on the PP ie. Theodore and Petro?

    “You can say Stephenson is decent but Stone, Patch, and Karlsson are non factors.”

    Pacioretty: 19 G/18 A/+8 (37 pts–39 games)
    Stone: 9 G/21 A/+7 (30 pts–37 games)

    Healthy they are not a threat? You live in a different world than I.

    Pacioretty’s injuries this year were both bone related ie. non recurring.

    “I don’t see anyone in the AHL who can move up and make a difference.”

    Brisson and Morozov have potential as does Dorofeyev who you were once bullish on. If they sign Kuzmenko he’ll start on the HSK as well.

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