Much of the discourse following Game 4 was about officiating. Both captains spent a portion of their postgame media availability talking about calls that were or were not made, and eventually Alex Pietrangelo and Darnell Nurse each found themselves suspended for Game 5.
Early in the game, there’s no question it felt like the Golden Knights were on the wrong side of the ledger in regards to the refereeing. A soft slashing call on Theodore gave the Oilers their first power play, a retaliation penalty was called on Shea a bit later, and moments before Edmonton’s third goal Mark Stone appeared to get cross-checked into the post which went uncalled.
But, before all of it happened the Golden Knights were on the power play just 30 seconds into the game and then as the calls started to even out in the 2nd, the VGK PP had a chance to dramatically alter the game.
Timely goals, we’ve talked about that a lot, and we didn’t get them, that would be the disappointing thing. -Bruce Cassidy
However, this wasn’t like many of the previous games with power play struggles this season or postseasons of yesteryear.
I thought our sustained pressure was pretty good. We shot, we recovered, we shot, we recovered, so that’s the right mindset. -Jonathan Marchessault
Our power play generated some good looks, I’ve got to give some credit to Skinner and them blocking some shots. -Cassidy
In four power plays, the Golden Knights attempted 16 shots, 10 made it on goal, and they generated 0.82 expected goals. Compare that to the historic Oilers power play who mustered up nine shot attempts, seven shots on goal and 0.86 expected goals in about the same amount of time.
The last play which has been where we’ve struggled on the power play all year, we weren’t able to do it again today. But I thought we were in the zone a lot, we won draws to stay in the zone, our entries were fairly clean, we just didn’t finish and we needed to tonight. -Cassidy
Jonathan Marchessault was responsible for half of the Golden Knights’ power play shots, taking five in just over five minutes of man-advantage ice time. He puts a lot of the onus on himself for why the final product wasn’t there to help turn the game back in Vegas’ favor.
Part of it is on me, I’ve got to be able to cash in on those opportunities. I want to be in those situations and I’ve got to rise up to the occasion. If I’m a little more precise with my shot, not only might it go in but it also might create a secondary chance in front of the net which is important for our power play. -Marchessault
One thing that hasn’t happened to him though is a loss of confidence. While Marchessault joked about his inability to find the net amidst a myriad of chances, he said it comes down to execution and will, and he believes in himself and his team to get it done in Game 5.
It’s just a matter of time it’s going to click in. But, we don’t have two weeks for it to happen, when I say a matter of time I literally mean it needs to happen on the first or second power play of the game tonight. -Marchessault
After the referees lost control of the game down the stretch in Game 4, there’s a fairly reasonable chance tonight’s game will be called tight early on to reset the tone. That should mean early power play opportunities for the Golden Knights.
They’re 0 for their last 11 but trending in the right direction. Just as it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Golden Knights bounce back at 5-on-5 tonight, power play success in Game 5 shouldn’t shock anyone either.