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Tag: Jonathan Marchessault Page 1 of 13

New Power Play Setup Paying Dividends For Golden Knights’ Top Unit

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

21.7%. That’s the Golden Knights’ power play percentage this season, the 13th best rate in the NHL. It’s just 0.3% off the franchise high-water mark which was set in the 71-game 2019-20 season.

We may not quite be at the point to say the Vegas power play has completely turned it around, but there’s no question it can be scratched off the weaknesses tab, where it has been atop the list for quite some time.

The Golden Knights have scored at least one power play goal in seven of the last ten games, including three in a row, and they have outscored their opponents on special teams in six of the last ten.

I think there’s some chemistry developing. In the middle of the power play they are able to adjust better to what the other team is doing than they were last year, or more willing. More willing to move around and play different positions on the power play but still maintaining the structure of the 1-3-1. -Bruce Cassidy

Movement has been something missing for an awfully long tme and it appears the new setup the Golden Knights rolled out during the Eastern road swing has seemed to unlock it.

With Chandler Stephenson out of the lineup for two games to start off that trip, the Golden Knights were forced to bump William Karlsson up to the first unit. In doing so, they opted to shift Mark Stone to the bumper role and swap sides of the ice with Jonathan Marchessault and Jack Eichel.

So, rather than…


The Golden Knights are now using…


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What It’ll Take To Break The Recent Scoring Slump

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Scoring droughts are the worst. It’s the most frustrating thing a player or a team can go through and the Golden Knights are mired in a pretty difficult one right now. Vegas has been shutout in three of the last six games and have scored more than two goals in just three of the last nine games.

It’s especially challenging for this version of the Golden Knights for multiple reasons. First, because they know they just went through nearly a full 82-game stretch from the All Star break to the first month of this season where they never struggled to score for more than a game or two. But second, and more importantly, the scoring chances have been there and they simply haven’t put them in the net.

We showed a lot of the scoring chances on our road trip. We had five road games and we probably had 30 scoring chances, most of those were Grade A’s and we only scored one. Are we going to get down because we’re not scoring or are we going to get excited because we are getting the opportunities and eventually we will score? -Bruce Cassidy

On the practice day before heading off for the three-game road trip starting tonight in Calgary, the Golden Knights focused on skills work rather than their normal system-oriented drills. The idea is that the team needs to work on finishing plays rather than generating them and a few extra touches in practice could be what they need to get their confidence back.

That being said, it’s not just as easy as finishing the chances they get, and the Golden Knights know it. Cassidy has a few theories on what has been going wrong, and one is regarding the start of games.

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“We’re A Second-Effort Team”

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s not surprising that the defending Stanley Cup champs have a clear identity of how they look when they are at their best. On Opening Night, it took a little while for that style of play to show up, but once it did, the Golden Knights did what they seem to always do against the Seattle Kraken, win by multiple goals.

After the game, Bruce Cassidy used a term that perfectly describes the VGK style that has been so successful.

If it doesn’t work the first time, we’re a second-effort team. That’s what I loved about our team last year. We can be a second-effort team in the O-zone yet we still make plays like Stephenson’s goal off the rush. -Cassidy

Second effort team. What he means by that is the Golden Knights are constantly working to get themselves into a position to keep putting pressure on the opposition, especially in Vegas’ attacking zone.

Work above the puck, work to the puck, support if someone else is going to the puck, put pressure on the puck all over the ice. Your routes to get there should be heading back your way after you lose it. You can’t cheat, so to speak, and get caught behind the net all the time. When everyone’s doing it, it allows our D to stay up in the play and that’s when we’re at our best. -Cassidy

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2023-24 Fantasy Rankings: Where Do Vegas’ Stars Land?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Yesterday, many Americans were glued to their TV sets or streaming devices watching the first Sunday of the NFL season. For some, professional football is a religion. They wake up, turn on the pregame show, grill up some brats, and most importantly set their fantasy lineups. The NHL is not known for being a mass fantasy sport but it’s widely popular among diehard puckheads. This week the best 2023-24 fantasy player rankings came out and several Golden Knights made the experts’ draft list.

Let’s start with the most desired.

#32 – Jack Eichel

While the championship center is ranked the highest on the Golden Knights he’s far behind some of his contemporaries. Obviously, Connor McDavid is ranked first overall but fourteen other centers were ranked ahead of Eichel. It’s not a knock on the World Champion but a compliment to the structure of the Stanley Cup Golden Knights.

Eichel had his lowest average time on ice in his career last season, as Vegas likes to roll four lines in a balanced attack. Given that, and the fact Eichel has missed substantial time in all but two of his NHL seasons, it’s tough to count on him for more than 70 games and 70 points. –Michael Amato on

#92 – Mark Stone

Let’s be fair, dozens of teams would select Stone before the 92nd pick but in fantasy sports, points are the only figure that matters. The Golden Knights captain can do a little bit of everything, and much better than anyone else. However, he isn’t a scoring winger like David Pastrnak, Matthew Tkachuk, or Mikko Rantanen. Not to mention Stone’s past injury absences will likely scare fantasy GMs from drafting him any higher. If picking pockets were a statistic in fantasy hockey then that’s a different story. In that case, Stone would be selected much higher than 92.

The only thing holding Stone back in fantasy is health. His numbers are always solid but he just misses so much time due to injuries, and the odds of that improving as he’s now 31 seem slim. Don’t reach too high for him. –Amato on

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Jonathan Marchessault On The Trade Block? No Way

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was certainly a shock for Golden Knights fans when Vegas’ front office announced in July that they had traded original misfit Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Clearly, the decision was necessary since Vegas needed to lock up Ivan Barbashev to a lengthy deal. The bottom line was the Golden Knights couldn’t financially fit both wingers (and Adin Hill) on their roster, so Smith was sacrificed. As much as it was a bummer for fans in Las Vegas, it was easier to take with every sip of suds out of their new 2023 Stanley Cup Champions pint glass. With Smith removed, the Golden Knights are likely done trading away the remaining Original Misfits. Or are they?

There are no negotiations that have been done. I know that sometimes the Golden Knights like to take their time with that. We will see what it will give. –Jonathan Marchessault to TVA Sports

For some reason, Jonathan Marchessault’s comment earlier this month created mass panic inside the walls of several NHL outlets. The current Conn Smyth keeper expressed his feelings with TVA Sports on his relationship with coach Bruce Cassidy and the lack of contract extension talks with Vegas’ FO. However, Marchessault stated it himself: ” the Golden Knights like to take their time with that.” That doesn’t sound like a winger preparing to list his house on the market next summer.

We’re talking about Jonathan Marchessault, if there were real problems, we would’ve known. He’s always been honest, emotional, and expressive. This isn’t a shot at the rest of the Golden Knights but #81 has more personality in his compact frame than half of the locker room combined. That’s why he’s an overwhelming fan favorite. Marchessault’s comments were a response to a question about his expiring contract, of course, he’s going to be forthcoming. An extension is obviously on his and his agent’s mind, but the Stanley Cup champ never suggested it was a concern. Just business.

We have built something exceptional. But the life of a hockey player is never safe. That’s what keeps us humble. –Marchessault to TVA Sports

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Conn Smythe In Tow, Marchessault Primed For Massive Season

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

Seven games into the postseason, Jonathan Marchessault was goalless. He had just two points and the questions were certainly starting to fly both internally in his own head and externally from people like me.

Then, the light switched on, and off he went. Marchessault potted 13 goals in the next 13 games and ended the playoffs with 25 points. He scored three game-winning goals, posted a natural hat trick in the crucial Game 6 in Edmonton, and was held off the scoresheet just twice in VGK’s final 15 playoff games.

For all this, he was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy becoming the first undrafted player to win the honor of playoff MVP since Wayne Gretzky.

Now, we look forward. With his name engraved in the most legendary individual trophy in hockey (and finding somewhere to put it), Marchessault will enter 2023-24 with some massive expectations on his shoulders. Every single night he’ll be referenced as Conn Smythe-winner by the opposing broadcast and he’ll have to live up to it.

Former Conn Smythe winners typically see a bit of dropoff from their magical playoff run the next regular season, but the numbers are not stark. (See each individual’s stats at the end of the story.)

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VGK’s Top 6 Stanley Cup Playoff Moments

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

After eliminating four opponents and recording 16 Stanley Cup Playoff wins, the Golden Knights racked up dozens of special moments to choose from. We cut them down to the Top 6 of the playoffs but the list is truly incomplete. We could do a Top 6 Fan Moments list or a Top 6 Jonathan Marchessault Moments list. The options are endless. Sticking with the formula, here are the VGK’s Top 6 Stanley Cup Playoff Moments.

6. Hill Bag Punches the Panthers in SCF Game 4

Cup-winning goaltender Adin Hill took plenty of liberties in the playoffs, especially in the Final. Hill wasn’t having any of Matthew Tkachuk or Sam Bennett’s antics, so he used his blocker, glove, and fists to stand his ground. In Game 4, the Golden Knights goalie lost his cool and went into full Mike Tyson mode. After Bennett ripped Hill’s helmet off, the Panthers forward likely wished he hadn’t. With the help of William Karlsson, Bennett was savagely beaten to the ice with bare knuckles. It was a sight to see and VGK fans loved every minute of it.

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VGK’s Top 6 Stanley Cup Playoff Assists

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

Yesterday, we went through the Golden Knights Top 6 goals of the postseason, today it’s time to pick some apples. We took a different approach when selecting six elite playoff assists. Many were picked because of their pure beauty not their impact. Others were a blended mix of spotlight skill and the game situation. So, let’s start dishing.

6. Stephenson and Howden Assist Stone’s Second Goal of Game 2 vs. Winnipeg

After a disappointing Game 1 loss to open the postseason, Vegas’ captain knew he needed to steer the ship. Mark Stone did just that in Game 2 of the opening round vs. Winnipeg. In the final period, Stone assisted on Chandler Stephenson’s tiebreaker and wrapped the game up with two goals. Brett Howden started the rush from the defensive zone and flipped it over to Stephenson on the wing, who found Stone for a perfect tap-in down low. Each forward touched the puck and it resulted in a point for the home team. Even though it’s a different sport, coach Norman Dale would’ve been proud.

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Starting The Misfits

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The opening shift of a Stanley Cup Final game is not typically a time to get sentimental with decision-making. The Golden Knights still needed to win one more game to reach the mountaintop, and they knew they were facing a team that had been in a 3-1 hole before and dug themselves out.

For Bruce Cassidy though, he knew the time was right.

To start Game 5, Cassidy went off script of both his forward lines and standard operating procedure and chose to tug on some heartstrings instead.

The starting lineup he selected was Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, and Brayden McNabb. Five of the six original players from the inaugural season that began Vegas’ love affair with the Golden Knights.

I apologized to Will Carrier, I told him, I’m sorry, I can only start one left winger. -Bruce Cassidy

Cassidy reunited the greatest line in Vegas history and used McNabb and Theodore to start a game for the first time during the entire postseason. It was a risk, but he knew it was one worth taking.

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It Can’t Be This Easy For The Golden Knights, Can it?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With a victory tonight, the Golden Knights will be one win closer to claiming the franchise’s first Stanley Cup trophy. Through two games Vegas is scorching Florida in the offensive zone while allowing just three goals in six periods. For all intents and purposes, the 2023 Stanley Cup Final has been a one-sided mismatch.

We’ve approached every game in the playoffs the same way. We try to take it, everyone says, one at a time, but we’ve got our backs against the wall, obviously. We’re down by two, but we’re coming home. Love our team, love our resiliency. We’re going to go out and give our best effort, play our best game tomorrow and go from there. -Marc Staal, FLA defenseman

While the right things are being said from the Panthers’ locker room, they understand tying the series over the next two games is a tall order. Sure, they recovered after falling behind in their opening round. However, the Golden Knights are not playing like an opening round team. No, Vegas is competing like one of the all-time great Stanley Cup teams. The statistics and outcomes highlight VGK’s dominance.

Highest Scoring Stanley Cup Teams In Stanley Cup Final:

  • 2023 Vegas Golden Knights – 6.0 Goals Per Game (2 Games)
  • 1980 New York Islanders – 5.2 GPG (5 Games)
  • 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins – 4.6 GPG (6 Games)
  • 1981 New York Islanders – 4.3 GPG (6 Games)
  • 2010 Chicago Blackhawks – 4.2 GPG (6 Games)

Last season, the Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche scored 20 total goals in six contests. The Golden Knights are eight goals away from matching the Avalanche’s total in only six periods. If their pace continues, Vegas will rank among the best offenses in Stanley Cup Final history.

Most pundits expect the Panthers to snap out of their two-game funk and threaten the Golden Knights series lead. Considering the flow Vegas is on right now, it wouldn’t be wise to count them out in South Florida. Especially, considering how VGK have feasted on the road.

I love the road, to be honest, where all the guys are together, having team dinners, playing cards all together, hanging out. We have such good team chemistry this year that we have a lot of fun. There’s no dull moment with that group of guys. -Jonathan Marchessault

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