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Power Play Improvement Could Turn VGK From Great To Elite

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are regarded as one of the better teams in the league. They’ve been described as elite, highly-skilled and loaded. Vegas backs that up with the third best points percentage (.786) in the NHL. However, there is one glaringly obvious area the first place Golden Knights will need to improve.

Since the start of the shortened 2019-20 season, the Golden Knights are 19th in the league with 40 5-on-4 goals. When coach Pete DeBoer took over on January 16th, 2020, Vegas dropped even lower to 28th. In that timespan the Golden Knights squeaked out an underwhelming 12 5-on-4 goals in 79 opportunities.

The 2021 Golden Knights have only scored three times on the power play, the second least in the league. One on a two-man advantage, and two on a 5-on-4. Overall, Vegas’ power play efficiency is 11.5% good for 28th in the NHL.

2021 VGK Man-Advantage Breakdown

27 Man Advantage Opportunities
Power Play Goals (3)
5-on-4 Goals (2)
5-on-3 Goals (1)
6-on-5 Goals (1)

On the other hand, signs show that Vegas’ deficiencies won’t hurt them in the long run. Under DeBoer, the Golden Knights have the third-highest points percentage (.741) behind only Boston (.774) and Philadelphia (.750). Impressively enough, Their inability to score in 5-on-4 situations rarely cost them regular season points.

Sure, these low man-advantage statistics look dreadful but the numbers also show how dangerous the Golden Knights are at even-strength. Since early 2020, Vegas has scored 68 EV goals, which makes up for 69% of their offense under DeBoer. The coach has to be happy with his club’s 5-on-5 play, but I’m sure he’s not pleased about their 5-on-4 approach. Especially, when you look back to the 2020 playoffs.

2020 Postseason 5-on-4 Comparison
15 game minimum (7 teams)

VGK: 4th in Most Games Played
VGK: 5th with Most Goals Scored
VGK: 5th in 5-on-4 Goals
VGK: 6th in 5-on-4 Opportunities
VGK: 5th in 5-on-4 Efficiency
VGK: 1st in 6-on-4 Goals

Vegas’ below average numbers in the Western Conference Finals undoubtedly hurt them. In Game 1, the Dallas Stars won 1-0 overcoming four Golden Knights power plays. If Vegas breaks through on one 5-on-4 they might’ve extended or even won the series. Now just imagine if Vegas scored more than 3 goals on 22 man-advantages in the WCF. It’s almost certain we’re talking about a different outcome.

If the Golden Knights can take anything out of their COVID protocol stoppage it would be to accept their power play struggles. Almost use the postponement as a way to reset their 5-on-4 strategy. It’s okay, Vegas has never been great at it and hasn’t hurt them yet this season. The good news, there are 49 games remaining on the Golden Knights schedule. With that much time, their man-up production should improve or it’ll be addressed by the front office.

Did I mention Vegas is one of the NHL’s best 5-on-5 teams?

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9 Comments

  1. Daryl

    As I stated before, I’m waiting until we play a good team before I say how good we are. Going back to last season’s playoffs we have lost to the good teams and even have given up a lot to average teams. I do think we have a great team but not sure they can play great together or are coached very well

  2. Vic

    Due to the Kolesar experiment, Glass doesn’t get the valuable time he needs to develop. He’s in exile while some kids around the league are being tested and doing well. Of course he’s a power play asset, and that can translate to his success in 5 on 5. The other problem is who is on the ice during the power play. Why is #10 ever on the power play? Coach pulled the same thing with Cousins last year. Simple things for success: Win face offs, get over the blue line, and then laser like quick passes. Goals usually follow for most teams.

  3. Tim

    I agree with Vic above Cody Glass is in a bad spot. To protect Kolesar there sacrificing a year of Cody Glasses development which is bizarre but they really must like Kolesar. Well management and coaches know more then us so we have to have trust in what there doing.

  4. Frustrated PP watcher

    Maybe they could shoot the puck on the PP? I hear that’s how you score goals.

  5. Tim

    This is why we aren’t a real Cup contender. You need speed on the PP look at Tampa, Boston, Pittsburg, Colorado, Edmonton, they have centers and forwards with speed and can put the puck in the net we don’t. Were a quality center away from winning a cup and were so capped out we can’t even get Glass in the lineup. Were a good team fun to watch but that’s as far as it goes.

  6. Jason – writing about PP where Vegas is concerned borders on being a joke as they have no idea what PP is. Its almost an advantage to the opposition as l might be wrong but they have been scored upon during PP as often as they scored. If l remember the most recent example was against the Blues when our elite 8.8 mill guy lost the puck and couldn’t catch the Blues forward and Lehner (another supposted elite) let in another easy stop. Foe whatever reason they just can’t figure it out. Often they can’t even get out of their zone.

  7. sb

    Same glaring problem since Year 2: need a first class playmaking center who can faceoffs for Line 1. Got two talented scorers with no one feeding them the puck ……. 5 on 5 and the PP. No knock on Stephenson, but he’s needed for Tuch on the third line PLUS a winger capable of 25 to 30 points. The team is absolutely imbalanced. Why is the PP so bad? No playmaker, someone who can hold the puck and make those excellent passes to these scorers. Needed that star center way more than a star D-man. Glass and Roy need to be w/Nosek on Line 4. Move the salaries of zero production Carrier and Reaves. Way too many role/character/fan favorite zero production 4th liners eating salary cap. What’s needed? MORE SCORING.

    • Daryl

      I agree with you. I think Reaves is a favorite of PDB and the upper staff. To me he is in the same boat as Engo was,except I honestly believe PDB had something against him. They met Engo go and they’re is no reason why they kept Reaves. People can say what they want but Reaves got his extention and his pay raise ONLY because of the whole BLM bullshit and it is costing the team. What I funny get is they tossed away Engo and even MAF yet the keep Reaves??? It makes no since

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