Because of the Pause, it feels like ages ago, but one of the Golden Knights’ final games of the regular season was a 4-1 loss to the LA Kings. In that game, the Golden Knights outshot the Kings by a margin of 43-17, and at even strength it was 40-8. Vegas created 10 more high-danger chances, they owned 75% of the game’s shot attempts, and the expected goals pointed to a nearly three-goal victory.
Instead, the Golden Knights lost the game 4-1 and never led. That night, Cal Petersen stopped 42 shots and ended Vegas’ eight game winning streak. The only Golden Knights goal was scored on an individual effort by Shea Theodore.
Sounding a bit familiar?
Last night the Golden Knights peppered the exact same number of shots, 42, at playoff debutant Thatcher Demko. They led in shots by 26, they created 24 more scoring chances, and finished the game with a Corsi of 67.5%. The only goal was a magical individual effort by Shea Theodore.
It’s easy to sit back and say, “well, they ran into a hot goalie” and if this was a rare occurrence, it would probably be a fair statement. But with this version of the Golden Knights, it’s not, even if the previous instances happened eight to ten months ago.
If you rank every game by even-strength shot share, that Kings game is atop the regular season and last night’s Canucks Game 5 leads the playoffs. Both losses for the Golden Knights.
Go a little further and you’ll see that games ranked 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 are all losses for Vegas as well. Thus, the 10 best games for the Golden Knights in regards to outshooting their opposition, six of them are losses. In the playoffs, it’s games ranked first, second, and fifth of the 13.
This can’t be simply attributed to the Golden Knights falling behind and the other team sitting back trying to hold the lead.
Last night, after the 2nd period, Vegas led the shot chart 28-10. The game was tied for all but 24 seconds of those 40 minutes. In the Chicago game, Vegas trailed for a majority of it, but only for more than a single goal for just 18 seconds (another game in which the only goal was scored by Theodore).
This is an issue that has plagued the Golden Knights all season long. I can specifically remember sitting in the bowels of the Staples Center (those were the days) asking myself, how can this team constantly dominate on the stat sheet but keep losing hockey games.