As the Golden Knights continue their tricky pre-All Star road trip the focus shifts to a team they smoked at home just eight days ago.
When the Rangers visited T-Mobile Arena the away team got off to a hot start putting massive amounts of pressure on the Vegas net, but Logan Thompson and the VGK defense held strong to keep them off the board. Then, midway through the period the line of Jonathan Marchessault, Ivan Barbashev, and Nic Roy got the Golden Knights on the board not once, but twice, and the Golden Knights were off and running.
Surviving and ultimately thriving in the 1st period has been the recipe for success for the Golden Knights.
We’ve kept ourselves out of trouble early in games and have gotten some leads. In New York the other day we didn’t do much but we didn’t give up much. We got our legs under us and got a goal late so you have a lead going into the 1st intermission and now you’re going and you find your game as it goes along. -Bruce Cassidy
In each of Vegas’ last five games, the result has been directly linked to whether or not the Golden Knights have conceded in the opening frame. In all four wins, VGK entered the locker room after 20 minutes posting a goose egg against. In the one loss, the Golden Knights gave up two late goals to the Devils.
Under Cassidy, the score at the end of the 1st period has been a powerful indicator of how the rest of the game will go. When Vegas leads after one, they are 44-6-2, when they trail the record drops drastically to 10-8-8. In other words, lead after the 1st, and VGK have an 85% chance to win, trail after one and it’s just 38%.
Cassidy says it’s even more important right now considering the lineup.
We’ve had two days off so we should be fine, we should have a better start today. That’s one thing on the road if you can get ahead it’s much easier, for us especially, down some guys who are dynamic players. -Cassidy
The Rangers will surely remember the butt-whipping Vegas put on them last week, so they will likely come out strong. As Cassidy said though, all the Golden Knights need to do is find their way through it without allowing a goal, what they do on the other end doesn’t matter as much.
Vegas should like their chances despite New York’s strong overall record. The Rangers still lead the Metropolitan division, but they’ve won just three of their last 10 games and the cushion has slipped to two points (on January 1st it was 7).