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“Self-Inflicted Wounds” Haunt Golden Knights In Game 5

If you replay that game, nine times out of ten you probably win. -Pete DeBoer

Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, the one out of ten was last night, and now they have to go back to Minnesota to take a second crack at ending the Wild’s season.

Vegas won every measurable stat in Game 5 aside from the only one that counts, goals. They outshot the Wild 39-14, out-chanced them 37-16, and racked up 77% of the game’s high danger chances at 17-5.

It was the 1st period that did the Golden Knights in. Marc-Andre Fleury, who came in having allowed just four goals on 116 shots, allowed three on seven shots in the 1st. Meanwhile, Vegas generated very little on the other end, scoring once on a familiar-looking neutral zone chip in, but were limited to just two of their 17 high-danger chances.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

1st period woes are becoming a bit of a trend as the Golden Knights now trail 5-2 in the opening frame while outscoring Minnesota 12-3 following the first intermission.

There have been some good 1st periods, some bad ones, and then there was Game 5’s, which was somewhere in between. Vegas didn’t play poorly but succumbed to what head coach Pete DeBoer called “an opportunistic” Wild team. Alternate captain, Reilly Smith, saw it a bit differently.

I think we just have to be a little smarter and have a little bit more urgency with the puck in the 1st period. I really don’t think it’s anything they did, it’s self-inflicted wounds. -Reilly Smith

Smith’s right about the last part, self-inflicted wounds. The Golden Knights made critical mistakes on all three of the Wild’s 1st period goals.

On the first one, moments after VGK opened the scoring and appeared to be headed towards closing out the series, Mats Zuccarello got loose in the neutral zone after a nifty skating play to get around Chandler Stephenson. The mistake came shortly after though. As Zuccarello slalomed between the entire Vegas defense, Stephenson’s backcheck was overzealous in chasing the puck carrier as opposed to picking up the man that was left off to him. That led to him running into Brayden McNabb which opened up an easy cross-seam pass that allowed Kirill Kaprizov a one-time snipe he simply won’t miss.

Goal two was born out of a poor decision by the captain, Mark Stone. With plenty of time coming out of the defensive end, Stone tried to hit a stretch pass to spring Stephenson. It was broken up but not one but two Wild sticks sending them back into the offensive zone with an easy entry. From there, Vegas lost a few stick battles and Zach Parise banked one in off Fleury.

Finally, the third Wild goal was set up due to the Golden Knights executing a sloppy change. Unlike many bad changes, this one did not lead to a walk-in chance for an opposing player, instead, it just put the Golden Knights behind the eight-ball trying to stop a single player coming in on a rush chance. The bad change didn’t allow Alec Martinez to get the proper gap as Jordan Greenway entered the zone and then the rest of the Golden Knights were scrambling to get into position which allowed Greenway three whacks at the puck that eventually made it to the net.

Credit the Wild for finishing off all three chances, but for Vegas, they can definitely walk away from that game feeling like they gave away the chances as opposed to Minnesota creating them.

The Golden Knights know they can outplay the Wild for extended stretches, they know they can score, and they know they’ll get good goaltending.

Now it’s just up to cleaning up the mistakes. Which they also know they are fully capable of doing.

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56 Comments

  1. Pauly

    Sorry everyone- they are a pretty good team, but not a championship team…if they get by the Wild, the Avs will destroy them…PDB is not good enough…

    • knights fan in minny

      can you tell the future

      • Pauly

        Yep…sun coming up tomorrow…oh, and I know a loser coach when I see one…saw him in SJS and NJ…

    • Jinklu

      You’re right, Pauly. PDB isn’t good enough, he never was, he never will be. I’ve said it since the Doofus mgmt. team hired him. It’s as hard a sell here as the fact Lehner is not a great goalie.

    • Pistol Pete

      If the least regular season game against COL with 15 skaters is any indication, VGK will not get destroyed. VGK knows how to play the Avs and MacKinnon, Landeskog and Rantanen were all playing and held to four shots. I know, regular season not playoffs, but the same strategy fundamentals apply.

  2. Unfortunately if it goes to game 7 they won’t have to worry about the Avs sad to say. Last night game had a lot to do with desire and the Wild had more of what was needed.

    • Julie

      HD,

      You mean desire like this? 🙂

      D-Day (Bruce McGill): “War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one

      Bluto: What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!…

      It ain’t over now, ’cause when the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’. Who’s with me? Let’s go! Come on!

    • So according to your logic “more desire” converts more of the 22-1 second period shots into goals? With all due respect that makes no sense, it’s like saying there was no drive or desire behind the 22 shots. The issue is that only one of those shots (on a PP) translated into a goal. That none of the other 21 did not not is not for lack of motivation or desire to win, quite to the contrary. Execution on the shots could be a factor as could be fate. Sometimes stuff happens like when Tuch missed the open net in the Avs games, in fact in fact I meant to review the Wild game to see if he had a similar chance. Reilly Smith had a couple high danger chances in the third period that Talbot took care of. I was at the game. The dominance and desire to win in the second period was incredible; 22-1 on the shots.

      • Pistol Pete

        My response above was to hdbiker7851 who wrote:

        “Unfortunately if it goes to game 7 they won’t have to worry about the Avs sad to say. Last night game had a lot to do with desire and the Wild had more of what was needed.”

      • Pistol Pete – I am not arguing with you about period two – Vegas has proven time and time again the number of shots does not necessarily equate to scoring and more importantly winning – yes it improves your chances if everything else falls into place with execution. You were at the game, who left the winner with very limited opportunities – I didn’t say Vegas didn’t have desire I simply pointed out the Wild’s was greater. After the first goal you could see Vegas let up some and the result was 3 unanswered goals. Yes they came back to life in the second and as you pointed out 22 shots – 1 goal not exactly a great percentage. The Wild capitalized on their limited opportunities and Vegas didn’t or the score would have been substantially different.

        • Daryl

          It’s always about high scoring chances. VGK will out shoot anyone but that doesn’t mean they get more high scoring chances

        • Pistol Pete

          hdbiker7851, Ken does a comprehensive analysis on the Twitter Space session re: those 3 MIN goals. I am inclined to agree they were all defensive mistakes by VGK. Too bad it happened when it did, whether they were laissez faire type errors I kind of doubt, but all preventable. Hopefully no more lapses in game 6!

  3. Come on people have a lil faith!!! And remember”One game fdoed NOT a series make!!!!”

  4. Come on people ONE game does NOT a series make!!!

  5. Larry

    “What if’s, and if only’s”, are valuable in watching tape and drills. Reilly Smith hits it on the Horn Button; ..It’s self-inflicted wounds”. Fix those things boys and add the “first period energy”, and I believe in a best of 7, you can beat any team in the NHL! And yes, I’m biased! Go Knights Go

  6. knights fan in minny

    your up 3 games to 1 you step on there throat

    • Tim

      Unfortunately they don’t know how to bring the hammer down and end there misery. With 11,000 thousand fans in the arena at home and you can’t win that tells you all you need to know about there killer instinct.

      • Mike StG

        Tim – so I guess TBL have no killer instinct as well? They lost last night at home, also up 3-1 in their series. They scored first also and then lost 4-1. Yeah, I get where you coming from…

      • Former Avs fan

        It is “their” killer instinct. If you are going to rant like you know what you are talking about, which I don’t believe you do, please have someone spell check for you first. Also , before you ” your an idiot” to me, it is ” you’re an idiot”. Side note to other comments – I loved Gallant, but he couldn’t get them to the next level, he couldn’t change his perspective and approach. Last season Fleury was not at the top of his game and needed to sit to give the Knights a better chance to win. That was the tough choice to make, especially knowing how Fleury is a fan favorite. This year, he knows right now Fleury is the right choice. Lehrner is a very good goalie, who has rough patches like any goalie does, but he owns then and says when he needs to do better. I believe his presence has helped Fleury focus better since he knows he needs to play more. We have a much better penalty kill, and PDB has had a full season to work with them. They neatly beat the Avs being 3 skaters down, when the Avs knew they needed to win to have a chance at the division title. This team can dig doen deep and come back. Like when they were 2 goals down first game in Minny. They don’t give up on themselves, so why should we?

        • Blitz

          “This team can dig doen deep”? Did you have a typo? Need a spell checker? Misusing the word “there” and “their” would not require a spell checker as neither word is spelled wrong. So I am guessing you mean grammar? Anyway, regardless, I don’t know you, Avs Fan, or Tim and I am ok with both of your thoughts on VGK, but when ever I see the word police come out in post it makes me think this person is coming off weak and then opening themselves up for counter weak arguments and none of it helps the discussion. You have a decent reply so there is no real reason to belittle someone or educate them or whatever it was. Its a fucking hockey comments section where rabid fans get drunk and post, like the one I am typing.

        • Daryl

          You typed a whole lot for not really saying anything. This is a hockey board not an English essay, who cares if “they’re” is a misspelled word. As for the Avs-VGK series, COL wasn’t playing with a full roster either.

          You loved Gallant but he couldn’t get them to the promised land… Well neither has PDB. Last year MAF had a stretch when he was struggling but when that passes, he played just fine. The PK last year I don’t believe was that bad.

      • Tim, as I posted above, I was at the game and if 22-1 shots in the second period is not “kiler instinct”, I don’t know what is. The Wild is a good team defensively and they were able to lock things down enough in the third period in spite of a number of chances the VGK had. In any case I suspect we’ll see folks singing a vastly different tune if the Knights win tomorrow. Meanwhile I believe the killer instinct is alive and well. They sure showed it against the Avs dressing 15 skaters. People seem to forget what it takes for a team to win an NHL game. Sometimes it’s just not to be. We’ll see if the Lightning can close out the Panthers at home tomorrow. They’re up 3-2 also.

    • DOC (Go Knights Go)

      They tried but Superman didn’t help out much in the 1st period!

    • Exactly – knights fan in minny – take no prisoners – desire or another name for it – killer instinct – that’s so Pistol Pets benefit and understanding.

  7. Tim

    Vegas has a knack of losing big games. Year 1 win opener against Washington lose 4 straight Fleury did not play good. Year 2 have San Jose down 3 – 1 lose series. Year 3 overwhelmingly out shoot Dallas lose in 5. Year 4 have Minnesota down 3 – 1 will we continue the pattern of losing sorry to say if history shows you anything don’y bet the farm on Vegas. Some teams in all sports are just destined to come out on the short end and we’ve proven that in spades.

    • Pistol Pete

      Tim, you wrote:

      “Some teams in all sports are just destined to come out on the short end and we’ve proven that in spades.”

      And so do all most other teams. It’s hard to go all the way through an NHL postseason, period, and may be getting harder due to the ever evolving conditions of the game? True, Islanders did 4 in a row starting 1979-1980, Oilers did 5 out of 7 following that, Blackhawks did 3 out of 6 beginning 2009-2010 and Penguins did a back to back 2015-2016/2016-2017, but to label the VGK as “destined to come out on the short end” by just their fourth year is pretty silly especially when they have made the postseason each of their seasons. We’ll see how Seattle does, right?

      Of the current 31 teams, 19 have won a Cup (12 have won more than 1 and 7 have won 1).

      https://www.statmuse.com/nhl/ask/which-nhl-hockey-team-has-won-the-most-stanley-cups

      • Pistol Pete

        Correction:

        Make it 20 current teams to win a Cup.

        Toronto St. Patricks = Maple Leafs (won 6)

        Tim, Maple Leafs (last won in 1966-1967) could be an example like you are saying about the Knights lol.

        “Some teams in all sports are just destined to come out on the short end and we’ve proven that in spades.”

        We’ll see if the Leafs can do it with Mathews, Marner et. al. I have my doubts lol.

  8. BE1968

    It’s this simple, they are evenly matched teams. The Wild played their hearts put last night and Vegas played like the series was already over.

    It was a horribly lackluster game.

    All of the Fairy ‍♂️ dust and unicorns farting rainbows aside, if Vegas fails to end this series in Minnesota, they are going to lose.

    Momentum is massive in the playoffs.

    • Pistol Pete

      I agree with Ken VGK played the best period of the series the second period. “Lackluster” or “played like the series is over” is not accurate. If you are bashing that’s fine, otherwise it’s not an accurate evaluation because if one knows the game (and you may) one knows there are games where lack of goal scoring misrepresents the outcome.

  9. Daryl

    It is very possible VGK loses this game but I do think they win the series. I know PDB has made several statements regarding the use of both goalies. I still think that would be a horrible decision even if it’s only to give MAF a rest. We will see

    • Julie

      Hey, Daryl – I don’t really disagree with you, I just think if PDB is going to switch them, do it now for a game and not when Vegas plays Colorado unless we’re up several games. You are right, we’ll see.

      • STEPHANIE

        You can’t think that far ahead !!! Thats a kiss of death .Need to beat Minnesota

    • Blitz

      I think if PETER switches goalies now it is in bad form. MAF has to feel responsible (IMO partially) for this loss and deserves a chance to have a redo. Switching to Grimis is a gamble at this point and if wrong will be catastrophic. MAF you know what you have against this team and if you actually play some defense in front of him you will most likely win.

      • THE hockey GOD

        well if they switch now, they can get fleury back for game 7 should the walrus go to “sleepy time” (reference to TV commercial) in game 6.

      • Julie

        I first thought you meant Grimace, that big purple thing from McDonald’s. :). I don’t know if you did, but I thought that was funny!

        • Blitz

          Yeah Julie I meant Grimace from McDonalds, the big purple thing. 🙂 I didn’t look him up until after I posted and saw I butchered the name. I am glad at least someone got it. LOL

  10. VGK 4 LIFE

    In Vegas We Trust

  11. THE hockey GOD

    “self inflicted wounds” caused by what ?
    – mental exhaustion in first period ?
    – first period blues?
    – chippy ice ? now the WILD will fix their ice the same way ?
    – miscommunication due to crowd noise which hasn’t been there most of the season?
    – a spent goalie from playing too many minutes without a rest, like he had during
    regular season?
    – push button Pete’s control station running out of buttons ?
    – too much pressure from home ice?
    – team seems to need too many “pep” talks to get going, what is UP with that?
    – 89 didn’t seem to be flying like he was in early games, why is that ?
    – 27 has been MIA, why is that ?
    – pp no. 2 after they scored, they didn’t go back to no. 23, why is that ?

    Too many questions, too little time to get them resolved.
    PS note to self : Florida Panthers changed up goalies and won bigly against defending SCuppers.

  12. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Reading all this BS is exhausting!

    Ridiculous, ha ha

    • Jinklu

      Did anyone really think VGK would sweep the Wild? They aren’t a great team yet, but they are good. I’m not buying into this “self inflicted wounds” business or the gloom and doom postings. Whether it is in 6 or 7 games I think the Knights will win the series. Wipe away your crocodile tears, get ready to cheer the Knights on and enjoy the game(s).

      • Daryl

        Sweeping was out the window from the start… But I also didn’t think MIN was as good as their record and they only did as well as they did because of their goalie. It’s something I’ve said multiple times on here all season.

        I do think VGK wins the series whether it be in 6 or 7 games.

  13. Bill

    When did the Germans bomb Pearl Harbor?

    • Peter Turner

      December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”.
      If you blame the Japanese, that’s just more asian-hate.

      Let the trolls begin!!

      • Daryl

        Yeah, everyone hates the Asians but remember, we aren’t allowed to blame them for anything

      • Pauly

        All these idiots that missed the Animal House reference should be placed on double secret probation

        • Blitz

          I got the Animal House reference. It was excellent! Of course I am an Oregon Ducks fan so it is kind of built in.

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