Complete series: Dallas, St. Louis, Colorado
Continuing with our Round Robin adjustments, next we examine the Dallas Stars and the challenges the Golden Knights face. Dallas ended the shortened season with a solid 82 points, but a low goal differential of +4. The Stars scored the second least goals in the Western conference but also allowed the second least in the NHL. The two reasons for this are their defensive style and outstanding goaltending, both which have shown up against the Golden Knights.
vs. Dallas: (1-1) 4-2 L, 3-2 W OT
In both games this season, Dallas scored the opening goal of the contest. As mentioned above, the Stars are a low scoring team that can hold on to a lead better than most so that first goal feels like a much bigger hole against Dallas than anyone else in the Western Conference.
Record when Dallas Scores First: 23-5-4
Record when Leading After 1st Period: 17-2-1
Record when Leading After 2nd Period: 23-1-2
As you can see the Stars do a good job of locking down the opponents’ offense when holding a lead. However, the Golden Knights are also outstanding when scoring first, and lost out on a measly six points in 35 games when they held a lead after two periods.
Record when Vegas Scores First: 26-6-2
Record when Leading After 1st Period: 19-3-3
Record when Leading After 2nd Period: 31-2-2
The numbers show that Vegas is in fact a better club holding a lead, and they allow almost a half goal more goal per game than Dallas. The Golden Knights winning percentage is .764 when they score first to the Stars’ .718 which is why the game’s first goal is crucial. This is especially important if the goaltending holds an edge over the shooters in the round-robin stage which we believe it may.
Penalties were an issue again for the Golden Knights when they played the Stars back in November. Vegas awarded Dallas two power play opportunities in the first period, one in which Alexander Radulov scored the opening goal. The Golden Knights were called for three early penalties and the game was essentially lost after the first twenty minutes.
The Golden Knights took the second game against the Stars, winning 3-2 in overtime. It was a much cleaner game, and they held a one-goal lead for most of it but eventually let the tying goal in late in the third period. Vegas quickly secured the two points :51 seconds in OT. Overall both games were tight, and well defended.
Areas of Adjustment:
- Don’t fall behind early
Both clubs are excellent when scoring the first goal, so scoring first would be excellent, but even if the Golden Knights don’t score early, they have to manage to keep the game tied in the early going. Dallas quickly transforms into a defensive juggernaut the moment they get the lead and it’s a bear to overcome it. This is the case in every game, but it’s especially important against the Stars because a two-goal deficit is basically the lights out.
- Shrink Bishop
Now let’s get to the biggest obstacle. Like 6’7 big. Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop started both regular-season games and held Vegas to 5 total goals in 120:47 minutes. Bishop has a lifetime losing record against Vegas (2-3-1) but impressively held the Golden Knights offense to 2.09 goals per game. In 401:36 minutes in goal against Vegas, the NBA-sized goaltender has held the Golden Knights to 12 even-strength goals, and only two power play tallies.
The key to “shrinking” him is to create cross-ice chances. The bigger the goalie, the longer it takes for them to move side to side. And while Bishop is incredibly athletic for his size, moving him around the crease makes him much more vulnerable. Vegas has struggled to do this at times against the Stars, which is why they’ve had a hard time beating Bishop consistently. The normal “high danger” chances that Vegas feasts on right in front of the crease are much less dangerous against a giant than they are a normal-sized human playing goal.
- Take advantage of poor PK
You would expect since Dallas is a well-defensive team they are staunch on the penalty kill, but they’re not. Their PK 76.72% is below league average and they allow 3.14 power-play opportunities per game. This is really the weakness that is the difference between the Stars being the best team in the Western Conference to them finishing below Vegas in the regular season. It’s a huge vulnerability and one that might be even more exploitable after five months off. Pressure in all three zones will help to draw some penalties and then clean execution will convert them into power play goals.
Overall the Stars are statistically among the best defensive teams in hockey. They allowed the second least amount of goals per game with (2.52 GA/GP), so any puck passed Bishop will be a big one. The one guaranteed improvement from Vegas will be in net. Former backup Malcolm Subban started both games against Dallas this season, and without taking away anything from his performances, Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner will give them a significant upgrade in net.
Lack of comments mean: A) – This subject not interesting … OR … B) – Sinbin playing head coach , making adjustment suggestions is: just not consistent with reality or their strong suit!!!!!! 😉
Doc we are usually on the same page don’t be to harsh on Ken he usually has some good info. At least he tries to give us a story a day not like the K.G.B. which impersonates as the Vegas Golden Knights web site. There last big story for 8 days was Conner Corcoran signs with Knights. I got a little tired of that one. I’ll take Ken’s articles and insight over Gary Lawless nothing interviews anytime. It’s funny the Knights have the best fan base loyal and getting some insight is like pulling teeth. I also like the idea we can comment on Sin Bin anyway Ken keep up the good work.
Small correction, this article was from Jason. Ditto on everything else.
My comment was not criticism, but a just a look at the strengths of what sinbin is IMO. I’m not a fan of HAVING to have a article EVERY day. I enjoy quality content over quantity, that’s all.
here is something to comment on—-one playoff hub will be Vegas, BUT it is for the Eastern teams. The Knights will play in an eastern hub city.
why is that bad you ask? because it is bad for ratings for EVERY team to play outside of their prime time. for example, the VGK play at 1 pm in an eastern city, and the game will be on at 10 am in Vegas, instead of playing at 7 pm in Vegas.
or, the Bruins and Tampa play at 7 pm in Vegas, which is a 10 pm start in those cities for their fans watching on TV.
With a new TV contract soon to be negotiated, it is in the interest of every player in the league to get the best ratings possible, and this dumb move hurts that.
Since there will be no fans in the stands, and since the players, even the local ones, will all be housed in a hotel, there is little to no advantage to teams playing in their own city.
The NHL has a good restart plan in many respects, but this hub reversal crap is not a smart move financially or ratings wise because of time differences and primetime viewing windows.