(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Finally, the Golden Knights are starting to look like themselves again. After an extended rough patch out of the All Star Break, VGK have won three games out of four including back-to-back home games for the first time since January.

One of the main reasons why the Golden Knights resembled the team that won the Cup a year ago was their commitment to defending earlier in plays. When VGK are at their best, it’s incredibly difficult to generate offense against them. The key to it is defensive help from the forwards, especially through the neutral zone.

We built some of that into practice yesterday, just reminders of what’s necessary. The more you back pressure the more the D have confidence to stay up. They don’t have to completely kill the rush, if they half-kill it, you have a forward coming along to help. We’ll probably look at it again tomorrow in practice and keep building on that part of our game. -Bruce Cassidy

This style of defending helps the Golden Knights tilt the ice in their favor, which typically results in wins. Vegas has allowed 25 or fewer shots in 14 games this season, including last night. They are 12-1-1 in those games and have allowed more than two goals in a game just four times.

Defensively, we had really good gaps. You are only able to have good gaps if you have good back pressure from the forwards. We did that all night and caused a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone that turned into transition chances. -Noah Hanifin

Prior to last night, the Golden Knights had allowed 30 or more shots in 9 of the last 11 games during a 3-7-1 stretch in which they were allowing 4.55 goals per game.

We pride ourselves in that. We got away from it a little bit and now let’s get back to it. All the good teams in this league that check well, they all back pressure. They skate well, they get above (the puck) and they really make you work to score off the rush. It’s just for the other team to know they have to make plays with less time and space. That’s harder to do. -Cassidy

The way the Golden Knights are built, to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, it begins with defense. And it’s not just on the six players labeled as defensemen to do the job. To dominate as they’ve shown in the past, it takes all 18 skaters working together to make life a living hell on the opposing team. The Devils experienced it last night, now it’s up to VGK to make other teams less comfortable with hell feel it too.