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Return Of The Forecheck

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the Golden Knights, results have become paramount. With just 14 games left in the regular season, the defending Stanley Cup champions find themselves just three points above the playoff cutline with multiple games against the teams chasing them.

Winning matters, and unfortunately, Vegas did not get that done last night.

That being said, if the Golden Knights want to repeat they need to do a lot more than just find enough points to get into the playoffs. To do it, they’ll need to be playing consistently great hockey the rest of the way in the regular season and into the playoffs.

While the scoreboard did not exhibit it last night, the style of play Vegas showed did, especially in one key area that has been lacking for much of the year.

We made a concerted effort to play behind them. Tampa usually has three guys back (along the defensive blue line) so it’s a little bit more difficult to enter the zone if you don’t have speed and numbers in the right places. -Bruce Cassidy

VGK’s forecheck is crucial to their success. To consistently generate offense they have to be able to force the other team to turn the puck over in their own end. When they do, the game tends to snowball in Vegas’ direction as it allows the defense to be more active in the offensive zone which means longer possessions and more chances.

That’s what I loved about our guys tonight, we played the game in front of us. If there was ice we took it, if not we went behind them. It’s our game, it’s when we’re at our best. We’re a big team. We force their D into turnovers and a good example of that is the 3rd goal. That’s how we want to get offense out of the bottom of our lineup, and really all of our lineup. -Cassidy

On the goal Cassidy is referencing, Ben Hutton’s 3rd period strike, the Golden Knights won the puck back four different times before Keegan Kolesar slid the puck to Hutton for the goal.

We’re constantly trying to grow (the forecheck) and make it a focal point in our game that every line can get the puck back. For us it’s for every guy to look upon themselves and figure out what’s best for them in the offensive zone and how to get the puck back. -Kolesar

Cassidy mentioned that having players like William Carrier and Paul Cotter back in the lineup helped the forecheck as a whole, and that was clearly on display last night. The result may not have shown up as an opportunistic Tampa Bay took advantage of a few Vegas mistakes, but the process is continuing to head in the right direction, which is massive at this time of the year.

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27 Comments

  1. JB

    Overall I thought we played a pretty good game last night. A couple glaring errors and Hill not sharp. I knew when we got that last penalty that TB would score. They are just to good on PP. standings still in our control but we have got to win these games coming up against others fighting us for PO spot. I think we can still do it!

  2. Henderson One

    PP is a mess. Looks very disorganized. Shortie last night was very bad.

  3. Barbasol

    I thought Bruce would have had 2 or 3 more seasons before he started wearing thin on players attitudes, especially after just winning the Cup.

    But given how underperforming the team has been this season and the amount of times Bruce has called out these lazy bums during post-game conferences, I am guessing his old approach wears off quickly in this modern softer NHL.

    VGK missing the playoffs would be one of the worst Trade Deadlines All In plays, especially because Vegas plays in probably the worst Division of Hockey.

  4. vgk21

    basically the Vgk must win 4 of the next 6 games or it is over.
    they can afford a loss in Winnipeg and maybe Nash, and that is about all.
    they must beat Seattle, Columbus, St Louis, and Minnesota

    after that, the last 8 games are vs Vancouver, Arizona, Vancouver, Edm, Minn, Colorado, Chicago, and Anaheim.

    at least 5 wins, 1 win vs Van, and wins over Ariz, Minn, Chicago and Ana are musts.

    that would give them 97 pts. Moneypuck gives them an 80% chance of making the playoffs if they get at least 96 pts.

  5. Mantha is 6'5" of chewed bubblegum

    Dump Mantha and bring up Morelli.

  6. DeezNutz

    This team will miss the playoffs and you can screen shot this for future reference. The team is simply not good enough for the playoffs. Average offense, garbage powerplay (again), inconsistent defense, terrible goaltending and a coach that has clearly lost the room. The amount of ammo that other fan bases and sports media pundits will have to dunk on them will be intense I’m probably going to stay away from sports social media for a few days to let it cool down. Such a waste of a good trade deadline.

    • knights fan in minny

      stay away forever ass clown whiney bitch loser

      • Tyler Durden

        You sound like an asshole. Let him state his opinion
        You and thg are the dregs of the earth.
        Ken must be so proud

        • knights fan in minny

          get bent turden was i talking to you ass clown

        • ThG

          hey sicko turden head, Ken loves both of us, but you are a hater. You never post anything of value but hate. You love Genocide Joe and his neofascist policies. Just like Hitler, you hate jews and support terrorist scum like hamas and taliban (Joe put them back in power). Plus his proxy war with putin shows know sign of ending, another endless war started by “peace” loving lib tards hippies. hypocrites all of you.
          joe’s lack of character shows in how he raises dogs, they bite people. What a piece of shit of human being , can’t even raise a dog properly. And this guy is in the white house? Pathetic piece of human feces. What a waste. just like you.

          • TS

            Thg, REALLY?? MUST you be a DICK, just because another guy is?? GROW UP!

          • Tyler Durden

            Hahahaaha fucking nut bags. You know less about hockey than your stupid conspiracy theories

    • knights fan in minny

      you won’t be missed

    • knights fan in minny

      you don’t know shit

    • Pistol Pete

      I’ll hold you to that!

  7. May Mother wash my mouth out with soap for saying so…but….I was a huge King’s fan tonight, so thank you Kings!!

  8. PJT

    You guys are funny if you just listen to yourself. All of you complain that Adin Hill is a bad goal keeper because he has lost confidence in himself. If this is the problem, how exactly are these negative comments going to help the guy ?

    Let’s be real. Goalies like any other player on the team try their best. Last night was a great example. For every bad goal, he had several pretty good saves. Both goalies were equally matched. It could have gone either way. If there were no bad turnovers, maybe those break away goals wouldn’t have happened. Was it the goalie’s fault that those turnovers happened?
    It’s a team game guys. You can’t just lay the blame on the goalie. Against a team like back to back Stanley cup champions Tampa Bay, it just came down to puck luck and that sometimes a player gets an off night. It happens. To be honest, if both are goalies are in a slump, I’d rather it happen now before the end of the season/start of the post season. Unlike our skeptical friend above, I choose to believe VGK will make the post season and you can take a snapshot of that.

    Adin is only 27 years old. He will get better. I hope he just listens more to the coaches and not the noise from you so called fans here. Did MAF and JQ with their their legendary status and years of experience perform any better at this time last year? Do they win all their games? Do they not make some brain-fart mistakes?

    Lets remember that one year ago Adin was just the backup. LT was the starter and then he got hurt and Laurent Brossoit became the starter. Adin only became the starter because of his performance during the post season.

    What we need now is for both the goalies to be healthy and fit. We are still a threat because we have a 1-1 goalie tandem. The last team that had this fortune was Chicago Blackhawks 2013 when they won their 2nd Stanley Cup after 2010 with goalies Ray Emery and Corey Crawford who both had an outstanding season and won the Jennings Trophy together.

    Slumps, skids, bad spots happen all the time. I’d rather we see VGK struggle a bit now then win a President’s trophy and get knocked out in the first round like you-know-who.

    Maybe what we need like last year is a grizzled old vetran goalie like JQ to join the rotation as a 2nd backup if not for insurance but to apply some pressure for our main 2 goalies to give their best.

    Maybe a Cam Talbot or Antii Rannta? What’s Oscar Dansk doing these days?

    • TS

      PJT, thanks for countering the Gloom and Doom with a Lil positivity. I needed that.

    • Walt

      It is up to Sean Burke, the goalie coach, to get Hill back on the right track.

      Yes, Hill is playing without confidence right now, but it has nothing to do with the fans. It has to do with the team in front of him slumping in the category of puck management in recent weeks.

      Hill’s confidence dropoff has affected his technique. He is now playing a bit too deep in the crease, and he is too often flailing and lunging and reaching on soft or deflected shots instead of just staying patient and set.

      iow, he needs to be more like a walrus, and less like an acrobat in net. That is more in line with his normal style of play. He will eventually come around. Let’s hope it is sooner than later.

  9. Tim

    None of us have got to the root of the problem is it the coach is it the player ? Something is not right in Denmark.I like Hannifin but the way were playing and what underlining problems we have why would he sign? You want to talk about the Penthouse to the Outhouse no better example then the knights from last year through this year. With management imitating Quick Draw McCall could Cassidy actually get fired.

    • JB

      Tim you ARE retarded! Fire Butch? Don’t think so pal. Anyway, back to reality, we need to win the next three ….. period! Let’s go boys!

  10. NAM

    I absolutely hated the Hill signing this off season. He was a hot commodity after the playoffs and they should have let him walk for the 5 mil price tag. I totally like the guy from a fan perspective, but you won the stanley cup with 5 goalies and LT, LB, and Hill all looked great when healthy. Why waste the money when your defense made all the goalies great all year? Instead you get rid of your best defensive forward (arguably) that also happens to be your 3rd highest scorer and long-time alt captain. Now here we are, the team playing shit defense, goalies exposed playing like < 2 million dollar goalies. Go figure.

    Reminder: we didn't have Smith last time we missed the playoffs. He was LTIR. But hell we have Mantha now. All is well.

  11. PJT

    All I’m saying is let’s not overreact. Yes we’ve lost 5 games in March. We lost 4 exactly one year ago but we won the rest. Like I said, the Tampa game was really close. It was tied at 3-3 in the 3rd. They had Stamkos, Kucherov, Braden Point and Vezina winning Vasilevskiy for christ sake while we still have an injured roster. Even if we lose today’s game against the Kraken, it won’t be a fatal as it usually takes 6-8 games for new guys like Hanafin and Mantha to get used to the system and click with the team, move their entire family and settle into life in Vegas. That being said, I’m pretty sure we can win the remaining games in March. Let’s all hope for the best and peak at the right time. GKG!

  12. Pistol Pete

    ThG, thanks for posting the link to the replay but I already saw that and attended the game as well. In case you missed my response on the previous thread to your rude and condescending post to me here it is. God you can be soooo defensive. Try and lighten up a bit buddy (assume you are a man and not a gal)!

    “stats tell you where you have been
    not where you are going”

    You mean as in since returning from injury 15 pts in 13 games +1? His partner McNabb who is +18 on the season was just +2 for that stretch which should tell you something. Bottom line Theo has been anything but poor.

    “WAKE UP !!”

    Could be equally rude but will be nice (because I am) and won’t be.

    “learn to watch hockey, get new eye glasses”

    See the latter.

    “27 needs to turn things around, he has been playing very poor recently”

    See stats above. Fact is Theo is probably if anything stronger on offense than defending but we should ask McNabb about it. You may not like his response.
    In any case if “playing very poor recently’ includes setting up a goal on the game’s first shot we’d all like to see what playing great is. Overall not one of your favorite players on the roster looks like!

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