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VGK’s Eastern Conference Invasion

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s been an up and down ride for the Golden Knights in games against Eastern Conference teams. In fact, their record was 4-5-0 against Atlantic and Metropolitan clubs before this road trip began. After their shootout win in New York the traveling Golden Knights have a chance to sweep their annual pre-holiday road trip on Sunday.

In nine periods, Vegas scored 12 total goals and trailed for just a combined 25 minutes. The Golden Knights got off to a fast start in Boston, essentially sealing their victory after the first 20 minutes. Sure, Boston was hampered with several key players out after testing positive for COVID. However, Vegas took advantage of a team in disarray and left the Bay State with two points. There were times Vegas looked disjointed in New Jersey and the final score reflected their messy 5-3 finish. Even coach Pete DeBoer knew the process was ugly but he only cared about the two points his club picked up.

We did just enough to win. We take the two points and move on. I liked our 1st period, hated our 2nd, and we were opportunistic in the 3rd. -Pete DeBoer

Give the Devils credit for making a late push but the Golden Knights got caught trying to close out a road game too early. Eventually, the visiting team came out on top and took care of business. Which is the only goal on non-conference trips. Pick up two, and pack your bags.

It wasn’t clean but it was another character win for the Golden Knights in New York. The Rangers opened the door by laying back which allowed an opening for Dylan Coghlan’s game tying goal. Vegas beat an emotional, highly talented team for their seventh come from behind or late game triumph.

When you step out there you definitely don’t want to lose to them. They chirp on the bench. You got to play them physical and frustrate them in all three zones. -Ryan Reaves, NYR forward

Thankfully for Golden Knights fans Reaves’ new team couldn’t frustrate the Golden Knights enough.

Earlier in the season Vegas struggled with foreign opponents and now they’re on track to beat four of them in their own territories. It’s safe to say the Golden Knights are making a league wide statement on this trip. Not only is Vegas healthier but their determination, force, and urgency are beginning to remind NHL teams why they’re regarded as a deep threat. And they’re an Alec Martinez and Jack Eichel away from a full (sort of) lineup.

Okay, so they’re not the Beatles and they didn’t fly across the pond, but storming the Northeast like Vegas has should qualify as an invasion.

Early And Late Period Goals Sign Of A Championship Drive

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night in Boston the Golden Knights performed like a Stanley Cup contender. Jonathan Marchessault’s late score with 0.6 seconds left in the opening period fueled a multi-goal period and eventually win.

Late goals are starting to become a trend this year for the Golden Knights. Along with scoring early, last night was the 23rd time in which either Vegas or their opponent scored in the first two minutes of a period or the last two minutes of a period. Most coaches would call them back breakers, goals that shouldn’t have happened with little time off the clock or remaining.

Vegas earned 25 goals in those situations this season and it’s positively effected their record. The Golden Knights are 13-5 when scoring in the first or last two minutes of a period. Excluding empty netters, this season the Golden Knights have scored 21 early or late period goals.

Early/Late Period Goals

  • First Two Minutes: 8 Goals
  • Last Two Minutes: 13 Goals
  • Last Two Minutes Empty Net: 4 Goals

Scoring early can deflate an opponent in lengthy competitive periods and a late goal can carry momentum through an intermission. Naturally, Vegas has been the victim as well. Some opponents have been fortunate to come back to win games because of early/late period scoring situations. Overall, Vegas is 13-10-0 when a goal occurs by either team in the first two or last two minutes of a 20 minute frame.

VGK’s Record Scoring Early/Late Period Goals

  • Scoring First Two Minutes: 4-3-0
  • Scoring Last Two Minutes: 10-2-0 (4 ENG)

In cases like yesterday’s game in Boston, one late goal at the end of the 1st period essentially sealed the game. The Golden Knights used every second in the opening 20 minutes to put them in a position to wisely run out the remaining 40. By no means did Vegas let their foot off the gas but being up 3-0 after the first intermission allowed them to play differently. Plus it crushed any confidence the Bruins had to catch up.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 BOSTON BRUINS 1 (17-11-0 34 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights came out hot on the road against the Bruins. Vegas gained momentum when Shea Theodore’s shot through traffic hit the back of Boston’s net. Max Pacioretty continued his goal streak scoring later to double Vegas’ lead. With under a second remaining in the opening period Jonathan Marchessault surprisingly extended the Golden Knights lead to 3-0. 

Pacioretty added his 12th of the season five minutes into the middle frame giving Vegas a commanding 4-0 advantage in Boston.

The Bruins scored quickly in the final period to get within three but the Golden Knights never allowed the game to get any closer. 

The Golden Knights record improves to 17-11-0 after defeating the Bruins 4-1. Vegas’ road trip continues on Thursday in New Jersey. Puck drop against the Devils is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights completed dominated the game and in doing so were rewarded with some goofy goals. They really didn’t need them though as they played so well in the neutral and defensive zones that the Bruins never had much of a chance to score. The couple of bounces off Boston players that went in turned the game into a laugher pretty quickly. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Boston Bruins game at TD Garden.

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BOSTON BRUINS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (25-20-7 57 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights couldn’t have gotten off to a better start in Boston. Mark Stone gave his team a 1-0 lead 1:24 into the game. The Bruins would tie the game ten minutes later, ending the 1st period locked up 1-1.

Penalties plagued the Golden Knights in the early periods, allowing 5 power plays in the first 40 minutes. However, Vegas would work through the penalty kill, and regain the lead with a Power Play goal by Nic Hague. The 21-year-old gave his team the 2-1 edge on his first career NHL goal.

The Bruins came out hot to start the 3rd period and tied the game early on. Boston would take the lead 3-2 in the middle of the period. Vegas would get a few chances late in the period but wouldn’t convert the tying goal. The Bruins handed Vegas a 3-2 loss.

Vegas’ record drops to 25-20-7 and sit in the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The team will take a ten-day break and next hit the ice on January 31st in Carolina. Game time is scheduled for 430P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A little help from a soft goal got the Golden Knights off on the right foot, but penalty trouble derailed any extended success in the first two periods. All in all the Golden Knights didn’t play a terrible game, but it certainly wasn’t good enough to beat one of the league’s best teams on the road.  (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Boston Bruins at TD Garden

  • Bye week stories including, number origin stories, preview of the Player’s Locker, and my personal favorite, fishing tips from William Carrier.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nate Schmidt
** Nic Hague
* Mark Stone

BOSTON BRUINS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (2-1-0 4 PTS)

After playing the San Jose Sharks back-to-back to begin the regular season the Golden Knights we’re back home to face the Boston Bruins. The game got off to another quick start for the Golden Knights when Mark Stone scored a Power Play goal 6:36 into the contest. Reilly Smith added his third goal of the season to make it 2-0 Golden Knights. Boston cooled down Vegas and took control of the game midway through the period. The Bruins would score two and tie the game 2-2 after one period.

The Bruins continued their offensive success immediately into the 2nd period. Brad Marchand scored his second goal of the game :33 seconds into the 2nd period. Torey Krug shot one last Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury a few minutes later to give the Bruins a 4-2 lead.

The Golden Knights kept battling in the 3rd period but couldn’t get anything past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. Max Pacioretty got one on the board for Vegas but it wasn’t enough. The Bruins fended off Vegas for the final 10 minutes and skated away with the 4-2 road victory.

Vegas (2-1-0) loses their first game of the 2019-2020 regular season 4-2 to the now 3-0-0 Bruins. The Golden Knights get back to action on Thursday night as they travel to Arizona to take on the Coyotes. Puck drops at 7PM. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Boston Bruins at T-Mobile Arena

  • William Karlsson doesn’t take faceoffs at all anymore, and it’s affecting the VGK penalty kill.
  • Golden Knights limiting Engelland’s minutes

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Mark Stone
** Reilly Smith
* Max Pacioretty
(Honorable Mention: Nick Holden)

Results Against Boston Bruins Haven’t Been Pretty

Thank goodness Brandon is coming to the game tonight because this is the best Bruins picture we’ve got in the archives. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Through two years of games the Golden Knights have seen every team in the NHL at least four times. The Boston Bruins, tonight’s opponent, are one of the top five team’s the Golden Knights have struggled most against. They’ve tallied a 1-2-1 record, lost three straight with the only win coming almost exactly two years ago (10/15/17).

I dug into the stats a bit to try and figure out why, and there really isn’t one formula. There are a few common variables though that have popped up in the losses.

Protecting The House

This is fairly common in most NHL games, but it seems to be exaggerated for Golden Knights games against the Bruins. When the Bruins get shot attempts in tight on the goalie, Vegas struggles. Just look at the shot charts of the first four games, and try to pick out which one the Golden Knights won.

vs. Boston – 10/15/17

at Boston – 11/2/17

at Boston – 11/11/18

vs Boston – 2/20/19

Vegas won the first of these four, lost the middle two, and lost in shootout in the fourth.

As you can tell, when the Golden Knights keep the Bruins away from the front of the net, they have success. When they don’t, the Bruins feast on goals in tight. Five of the Bruins seven even-strength goals have come directly in front of the net and they’ve only scored one from outside of “the house” (and it was close).

In the only game Vegas won, the Bruins did not register a single high-danger chance at 5-on-5 the entire game. That’s 42:50 of clean hockey in front of the goalie (which was Malcolm Subban in that game).

Power Play

The Golden Knights have yet to score a single power play goal against the Bruins. Vegas is a miserable 0 for 13 against Boston with the man advantage. They’ve created plenty of chances, registering 23 shots on goal in the 13 power plays and racking up 22 scoring chances, but only six have come in a high-danger spot on the ice. Plus, in three of the four games, they came up with one or zero high-danger PP chances.

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BOSTON BRUINS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (7-10-1 15 PTS)

Boston jumped out to an early lead and then did everything they could to help the Golden Knights back in it. Not one, not two, but three power play chances and Vegas was not able to cash in on any of them. Matters got worse as the Bruins opened the lead to 3-0 before Gerard Gallant shuffled his top two lines and sparked a goal by Cody Eakin from Alex Tuch. A late 5-on-3, Boston’s third of the game, provided the dagger and Vegas heads home from yet another disastrous road trip. Just two points and push their road record to 3-8-0.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

  • Change has worked, so keep changing. Static isn’t working.

Three Stars
*** Anders Bjork
** Brad Marchand
* Jaroslav Halak

Best Against The Best

They are also 1-1 against these guys, the back-to-back champs, but they didn’t come close to the cut-off with their .571 points percentage. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have been masterful against the entire NHL this season, but equally as successful against the league’s elite. In fact, they’ve actually been better against the good teams than they have against the not-so-good teams.

For the purpose of making this article look as impressive as possible, we made the cut-off for a good team a .600 points percentage. Nine teams other than Vegas (.704) qualify, all are currently sitting in a playoff position.

Tampa Bay (.713)
Boston (.712)
Nashville (.689)
Winnipeg (.664)
Washington (.639)
Dallas (.625)
St. Louis (.623)
Toronto (.616)
Los Angeles (.602)

Let’s start at the top, like the very top. The Golden Knights have earned six out of eight points against Boston and Tampa Bay.

VGK vs. Teams with .700+ Points %
.750 Point Percentage
3-1-0 Record
4 Games
6 Points
2-0 vs. Tampa Bay
1-1 vs. Boston

When you add in other league contenders the Golden Knights point percentage drops a bit, but it still would qualify them as the best team in the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal are still haunting Tampa, Washington, Dallas, Nashville and Winnipeg.

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BOSTON BRUINS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (8-4-0 16 PTS)

Somewhat of a stagnant offensive output by the Golden Knights saw them go down by a goal twice in the game. The first time took an unbelievable individual effort by Nate Schmidt to equalize. The second time, Vegas couldn’t find that moment, and quite frankly, didn’t have too many chances to make it happen.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Three Stars

*** Torrey Krug
** Tuukka Rask
* Sean Kuraly

Replay: In The Bin – Vegas Golden Knights at Boston Bruins (Guest: Tyler Bischoff)

SinBinVegas is on Mixlr

Starting at 3:45, In The Bin returns for the Golden Knights vs. Boston Bruins. Live commentary before, during and after the game.

You can listen here or you can download the Mixlr app.

Tonight’s guest is Tyler Bischoff, host of Coaches Corner every weekday from 6-7 on KDWN here in Las Vegas.

Miss it? Here’s the replay. In The Bin returns on Saturday morning for the 11 AM game against the Senators

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