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Golden Knights Have Created A Reputation, They Need To Get Back To Living Up To It

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Winning the Stanley Cup brings a team many things. Among them is a reputation. All season long the Golden Knights have been dealing with being the defending champions and constantly getting a high level of focus and effort from the opposition night in and night out. No one takes Vegas lightly, and it has shown in the results this season as it’s been a bit of a rocky road for VGK.

Part of that reputation is the style of play needed to beat Vegas. Not only are teams ready and excited to play the Golden Knights, but they know exactly what is necessary to have a chance against what was the best team in hockey last season.

After last year we have a reputation of being this big heavy team, which we are, so they’ve created that for themselves. The tough part is now you have to live up to it for 82 games and in the playoffs again. So what they’ve created and should be an honor to be considered that way, they have to back it up every night. -Bruce Cassidy

This is specifically the case in the defensive zone.

Vancouver probably had a game plan of ‘if you want to win, you’ve got to get inside.’ Edmonton I’m sure will be saying the same thing. We have to do a better job taking care of business in front of our net. -Cassidy

The last two games Vegas has struggled to defend the area in front of their own goal. The Canucks sent players there consistently and it helped them generate four goals. Edmonton worked a little more around the outside, but they won many puck battles in front of the net to keep plays alive.

It’s not just on the defensive end though, VGK’s game has been lacking physicality going forward as well.

We need to be better on the forecheck to create some anxiety for them, create turnovers, and get us some chances. To me that was the difference in the game. They were miles ahead of us in that area. -Cassidy

If the Golden Knights want to have any success in the playoffs, they have to live up to their reputation every night. Vegas is not one of the most skilled teams in the league, nor are they anywhere close to being one of the fastest. To win, they must be dominant in front of their own net defensively, and wear teams down physically in the offensive end.

Listen, this is what you’re known as so if you want to continue to be known as that then that’s the ask every night. -Cassidy

With four games left in the regular season, timing is running out on getting their game in order. Step one to doing it is living up to the reputation that made them Stanley Cup champions. It hasn’t been there recently, it needs to be starting tomorrow.


Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to Edmonton for a late-season Pacific Division battle against the Oilers. Vegas goaltender Adin Hill started in net for the first time since late March and was tested early. Midway through the period the Oilers took the opening lead and carried it into the first intermission.

Edmonton’s offense continued to produce in the second frame. The Oilers scored two goals in a short span, taking a 3-0 advantage into the break.

The Oilers took a 4-0 lead 6:50 into the final frame but Vegas got it back :60 seconds later. Keegan Kolesar snapped the Oilers shutout with his seventh goal of the season on the penalty kill. Edmonton added another to finish off Vegas 5-1.

The Golden Knights record drops to 42-28-8 falling to the Oilers 5-1 in Edmonton. Next up, Vegas will host the Minnesota Wild on Friday night. Puck drop against the Wild is scheduled for 7 PM.  (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights lacked just about every necessary element it takes to beat the Edmonton Oilers, even without McDavid. They did not have much of a forecheck, they did not control the puck in the offensive zone, and they relied on transition when the Oilers were committed to taking it away. The biggest concern for VGK that comes from this game is the fact that they aren’t dominating the Oilers at 5-on-5 anymore. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.

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Pacific Leading Team Losing Confidence As Regular Season Wraps Up

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Less than a month ago, the Golden Knights were deemed a postseason bubble team. Panic set in, the losses were piling up and SinBin’s postgame Periscopes were getting longer. Today, the reigning Stanley Cup champions are three points from earning home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Ignoring last night’s 7-4 blunder in Arizona, the Golden Knights have been performing at their best since opening the season with an 11-0-1 record.

There were about three or four plays, you’ve got to go through people, we weren’t going through people. In this game — and that’s a good wall team — they’re a team that holds on to pucks, so you have to go through people. We were caught in between. There were like four plays where if you go through the player, they probably don’t get the odd-man rush. I don’t know why they weren’t ready to play. -Rick Tocchet, VAN coach

After Vegas lopsided 6-3 victory over the Pacific division leader, the Canucks were noticeably shaken. The comments from Canucks players and coach Rick Tocchet had a hint of deep realization. It’s possible Vancouver internally acknowledged the Golden Knights are deeper and are better shaped for the playoffs.

The players know it and so does Tocchet.

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Vegas Beats Good Teams While Edmonton Feasts On The Weak

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As each day passes the playoff picture is coming into focus clearer and clearer. There’s still time for it to change, but the overwhelmingly likely scenario sees a rematch with the Edmonton Oilers in the first round, this time with Vegas probably starting on the road.

After a terrible 3-9-1 start to the season, the Oilers charged up the standings and have looked unbeatable at times. However, a graphic that appeared on Sportsnet’s broadcast of the game shows some cracks in the foundation of the team with the best record in the league since mid-November.

As Sportsnet highlighted, here are Edmonton’s records this season against each group of teams.

vs Top 5 teams: 4-7-1
vs teams 6-10: 3-3-2
vs teams 11-15: 7-6-1
vs teams 16-27: 21-6-1
vs Bottom 5 teams: 10-2-0

That is a major case of what we at SinBin like to call, BumSlaying.

The Oilers are winless against Vanvouver, Colorado, Tampa Bay, and Florida, and have just one win against Dallas, St. Louis, Minnesota, and the Golden Knights.

Vegas’ breakdown looks much better than Edmonton’s.

Vs Top 5 teams: 8-4-0
Vs teams 6-10: 6-4-1
Vs teams 11-15: 5-4-2
Vs teams 16-27: 15-9-4
Vs Bottom 5 teams: 8-4-1

Amazingly, the Golden Knights have a better record against the Top 5 teams in the league than the Bottom 5. The same can be said about VGK’s record against the current playoff teams compared to those on the outside looking in.

The Golden Knights have a win over every single team in the Western Conference and have multiple wins over four of the seven other playoff teams (with a chance to make it six of seven with wins over Colorado and Edmonton).

There’s no question this has been a bumpier than expected season for the reigning champions, but when push has come to shove, they’ve gotten the job done. Plus, they’re getting hot at the right time, something Edmonton is not doing either.

Latest Round Of Power Rankings Ignoring VGK’s Past Success

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If last night’s 6-3 win over the Pacific-leading Vancouver Canucks was any indication of how the Golden Knights will perform in the playoffs, the league better take notice. The reigning champions are back to form and are looking like a club prepared to repeat. However, outside of the 702 there are skeptics in every corner of the NHL map.

Going into last season’s playoff the Golden Knights were on the shortlist of favorites to win the Stanley Cup. This year, the 2023 champions are being overlooked by many who cover the league. In the latest release of numerous NHL power rankings, most critics buried Vegas as if they were some substandard Wild Card beneficiary.

Western Conference Playoff Polling Averages

  1. COL – (1.5)
  2. DAL – (2.3)
  3. EDM – (3.0)
  4. VAN – (3.5)
  5. NAS – (4.7)
  6. WPG – (6.2)
  7. LAK – (6.7)
  8. VGK – (7.3)

We compiled data from ten different power rankings and calculated the average for each contending Western Conference team. Those references include: CBS Sports, Daily Faceoff, ESPN, Hockey News, MoneyPuck,, Seattle Times, Sportsnet, TSN, and USA Today.

In the Western Conference ,among contenders, the Golden Knights were at the bottom or close to it in most power rankings. LA and Winnipeg were the two closest in the eyes of various judges.

USA Today: 1. COL, 2. CAR, 3. NYR, 4. FLA, 5. EDM, 6. DAL, 7. NAS, 8. BOS, 9. VGK, 10. TB, 11. VAN, 12. TOR, 13. PHI, 14. LAK, 15. WPG, 16. WAS

Only USA Today’s rankings had Vegas higher than the seventh-best club in the conference.

TSN: 1. COL, 2. CAR, 3. VAN, 4. EDM, 5. NAS, 6. NYR, 7. DAL, 8. FLA, 9. LAK, 10. TOR, 11. WPG, 12. BOS, 13. TB, 14. VGK, 15. MIN, 16. NJD

On the flip side, the folks up north at TSN aren’t expecting a Golden Knights championship repeat. Maybe they’ll reconsider after they pushed around Canada’s most successful team. TSN analysts are fair but tough. They boldly excluded two Eastern Conference playoff teams from their Top 20. The Sports Network did note that facing the Golden Knights would be a rotten reward for any division champion.

That said, earning a first-round playoff matchup against a wild-card team won’t be the win it’s been in previous years. The two teams occupying those spots right now are the Nashville Predators, 15-0-2 in their past 17 games, and the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights. -TSN

Sportsnet: 1. NYR, 2. COL, 3. DAL, 4. VAN, 5. CAR, 6. BOS, 7. NAS, 8. FLA, 9. TB, 10. EDM, 11. LAK, 12. TOR, 13. WPG, 14. WAS, 15. STL, 16. VGK

Canada’s second major hockey network wasn’t much kinder on Vegas. They had to remind fans about the Golden Knights mediocrity since Christmastime. Maybe their recent play will gain higher marks in Sportsnet’s next power rankings.

23 teams — including the frequently-maligned New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins — have a better points percentage than Vegas’ .488 mark since Dec. 15. Good thing the Knights had built a huge buffer by posting the third-best mark (.726) to that point. –Ryan Dixon on 1. NYR, 2. COL, 3. VAN, 4. DAL, 5. FLA, 6. BOS, 7. CAR, 8. NAS, 9. WPG, 10. EDM, 11. LAK, 12. TOR, 13. TB, 14. VGK, 15. WAS, 16. PHI

Last week we begrudgingly pointed out the Golden Knights horrendous 3rd period meltdowns. The NHL’s Dan Rosen emphasized that shortcoming in his latest power ranking. On a positive note the Golden Knights have only allowed one third period goal to start April.

The Golden Knights must, must, must be better in the third period. This isn’t just because they 4-1 lead after two periods against the Predators on Tuesday only to lose 5-4 in overtime. It’s not a recency bias. It’s longer than that. They are minus-12 in third-period goal differential in March, 26-14. They gave up the three in the third to the Predators on top of allowing three to the Lightning in a 5-3 loss, four to the Calgary Flames in a 4-1 loss, three to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-3 loss and four to the Buffalo Sabres in a 7-2 loss all this month. They’re winning a lot of games going into the third period and then they give it away. – Dan Rosen on

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Which Potential Playoff Matchup Is Best For The Golden Knights?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This surely won’t come back to bite me in the butt in a few weeks. But, enough of you are asking so, we’re doing it.

With eight games to play and about two weeks left in the regular season, the Golden Knights are in excellent position to make the playoffs for the 6th time in seven seasons. The way the standings shake out there are reasonably four teams Vegas could face in the opening round. They are the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, and Edmonton Oilers.

Which team presents the best matchup for the Golden Knights, and which is the worst? Here’s how I see it.

(In order of hardest to easiest matchup)

Colorado Avalanche
Record: 47-21-6 (100 points, .676 points percentage)
Goals For/Against Per Game: 3.77 / 2.99
vs. VGK: 1-1-0

The Avalanche of old are back this season and will be a major problem for whoever has to play them in the first round. This year’s team is much deeper than last year’s or even the year VGK beat them in six games. Nathan MacKinnon is having the best season of his career, which is pretty amazing considering how great his career has been, and the defensive unit might be the best in the league. My main concern with this matchup is the style of game a team must play to beat the Avs in the playoffs. It’s a heavy forecheck and strong backchecking game that frustrates the top players and forces them to make mistakes. The best version of VGK can pull it off but we haven’t seen that version much this season and there are a lot of new pieces in the lineup. So, doing it four times out of seven is a tall order. The weakness remains in goal which is something Vegas could certainly exploit. Alexander Georgiev has posted just a .901 save percentage this year and his history in the playoffs is limited and not overly impressive.

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Teams Bidding To Beef Up For Future Postseason Matchup With Vegas

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL trade deadline is five days away and like the Golden Knights, teams are eager to improve their rosters before the postseason begins. Certain names have been front and center but as of now, Vegas, nor their adversaries have acquired any impact players with the exception of the Dallas Stars. The Central Division leader traded for in-demand defenseman Chris Tanev late last month. The swap is significant since Tanev is a right-handed defenseman and we all know there’s nothing that’ll catch a coach’s attention more than an available right-handed defenseman.

It’s a huge luxury. When you get a lefty and lefty (on defense), you lose about a third of your ice when you play your off hand. Just offensively, you lose a third of the ice. You get some good looks when you jump into holes because you’re on your off hand. Having two lefties, passing for your partner is a little different spot than when you have a lefty-righty. There is an adjustment for everybody who does that. It is a luxury these days. -Barry Trotz in 2019

Two teams that Vegas defeated in February, Edmonton and Toronto, are now open buyers for a RHD. Right off the break, the Golden Knights ended the Oilers historic 16-game winning streak. In that game, Edmonton dressed three LHD and three RHD. Four of the six were -1 or worse, including their two righties. After that matchup, the Oilers are feverishly targeting an upgraded right-handed defenseman. On Tuesday in Toronto, the Maple Leafs were forced to dress six left-handed defensemen. The Golden Knights forecheck exposed Toronto’s unbalanced blue line pressuring the entire left-handed defensive unit.

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