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Tag: Cam Talbot

Golden Knights Must Find Ways To Avoid Similar Fate To Last Postseason

The book on the Golden Knights was written last year. The rough draft was penned by the Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s to finalize the copy. Now, the Minnesota Wild have picked it up and are attempting to turn it into a New York Times’ best seller.

What does the book say? Force the Golden Knights to beat you without scoring on the rush and shooting from the outside. Vegas won’t get traffic in front, they won’t hit passes through the seam to open up a collapsed defense, and they won’t clean up rebounds if any are left behind.

VGK need more of this. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since Game 4 in the Vancouver series last season, the Golden Knights have now scored a total of 12 goals in their last nine playoff games. Three of the games have gone to overtime meaning Vegas is on a pace of scoring one goal every 45:37 of hockey. Meanwhile, they have crossed the 30 shot threshold in eight of the nine games and amassed at least 40 shots in four of the nine including yesterday’s Game 1.

Simply put, Vegas’ prolific offense that led them to 3.39 goals per game this season and 3.15 last year has dried up completely against the last three teams they’ve played in the postseason, all of which deployed the same defensive structure.

The question now is, can they fix it?

Just keep pushing. I thought we had enough good looks tonight to score a couple goals. It’s not like they smothered us defensively. -Pete DeBoer

We’ve got to bear down on our chances. I think we had quite a few looks. Our power play had some chances to score. We’ve just got to bear down. I think we’re kind of getting jammed up a bit. These guys are good. They’ve got plenty of guys in front of their net trying to block shots. We’ve got to find a way to break them down a bit. -Mark Stone

This all sounds good and well, but it also reads like a carbon copy of what we were hearing back in September when they were unable to right the ship.

Stone’s next answer started to hit at the root of the problem.

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Pacific Division Goaltender Rankings

ESPNNNNNNN’s Greg Wyshynski spoke with TSN Edmonton this week about the Pacific Division and Jon Gibson’s eight-year extension goaltender with the Anaheim Ducks.

He’s a solid goalie. He’s a workhorse, it’s a position you don’t have to worry about. They’re a contender. Gibson is going to give them a chance and make them a contender for a bit. -Greg Wyshynski, ESPN

Just like Vegas, the Ducks re-upped their goalie but have many questions elsewhere on the ice. While Gibson may help Anaheim compete, at this moment Fleury is in a better spot to win.

So, with that in mind, let’s rank the goaltenders 1-8 in the Pacific Division. We charted top centers earlier this week, so let’s do the same with the PAC-8’s goaltenders.

The Elite

Jonathan Quick
2017–18: 33-28-3 Record, 5 Shutouts, 2.44 GAA, .921 Save %, 37 Quality Starts
Career: 293-195-56 Record, 49 Shutouts, 2.28 GAA, .916 Save %, 305 Quality Starts

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In six separate seasons, Quick finished in the top ten for most wins and goals against average, including last season. LA’s goaltender was ninth with 33 wins, and tenth posting a 2.40 GAA. The 2012 Conn Smythe award winner’s 49 career shutouts are fourth among active goaltenders, one ahead of Marc-Andre Fleury. Quick steps his game up in the playoffs posting a 2.23 career postseason GAA and a .922 career postseason save percentage. The Golden Knights swept the Kings in the first round but LA couldn’t put the blame on their goaltender, who posted four consecutive quality starts. Without Quick in net, the series would’ve been a two-game mercy rule.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Marc-Andre Fleury
2017–18: 29-13-5 Record, 4 Shutouts, 2.24 GAA, .927 Save %, 31 Quality Starts
Career: 404-229-72 Record, 48 Shutouts, 2.56 GAA, .913 Save %, 319 Quality Starts

What more could I possibly say about Fleury? Golden Knights fans witnessed a star reborn and lead their team to the Stanley Cup finals. Fleury amazed start after start… remember he started 20 out of 21 games down the stretch? Fleury had a renaissance season becoming an All-Star for the first time since 2015, finishing fifth in the Vezina award voting, and passing 400 career wins. To top off a near-perfect season, the 33-year-old morphed into a flying brick wall in the postseason. In 20 playoff games, Fleury allowed just 47 goals, and registered 12 quality starts. Sure, I gave Quick the slight edge, but it’s clear which goalie Vegas fans would rather in net.

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