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Advanced Stats Say Dallas Dominated The Golden Knights, So How Did VGK Stay Afloat?

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas

One goal short.

In the seven game series between the Golden Knights and Stars, each team scored exactly the same number of goals, 16, but in the end, Dallas got one more when it mattered most and ended VGK’s bid to defend their crown as Stanley Cup champions.

Stats from the series do not indicate that it was as close as the final tally shows though. Over seven games, Dallas posted 65 more scoring chances, 36 more at high-danger, and amassed seven more expected goals.

Based on those numbers, the Golden Knights were fortunate to have even made it to Game 7. However, Game 3, despite going to overtime, was dominated by the Stars, so much so that it skewed the numbers on the series.

Game 3
Score: 3-2 DAL
Expected Goals: 5.41-1.42 DAL
Scoring Chances: 50-23 DAL
High-Danger Chances: 27-4 DAL

So, what do the numbers look like without Game 3?

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0 Shots, 5 Minutes

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas

The clock at American Airlines Center said 5:00 left in the 3rd period. Already down in the series the home team found themselves down a goal in Game 2 as well. They had to score and quickly.

The Golden Knights had other ideas.

Despite holding controlling the puck for a majority of the last five minutes and pulling their goalie for the extra attacker, the Stars did not manage to get a single shot on net the rest of the game.

We’re trusting each other. That’s huge. You have to trust the four other guys on the ice with you to do their job and I think we’ve been doing that really well. -Noah Hanifin

The goaltender, who was crucial in keeping the game tied in the 2nd period, used the same word, trust.

I’m used to it by now. I completely trust my forward group and D group in front of me. You know the team is clicking when they are getting in front of every puck. We battle for each other. -Logan Thompson

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A Look Back On Ken’s 50 23-24 Predictions + 10 New Predictions

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before the season began I published a list of 50 predictions for this season. With 13 games to go, let’s see how I’m doing. Then, because you’ll clearly be able to see my ability to predict the future, I’ll make 10 new predictions for the rest of the year.

  • TRENDING CORRECT – Jack Eichel will score more than one point per game
    • Eichel has 53 points in 50 games.
  • INCORRECT – Mark Stone will play at least 60 games
    • Stone will finish the regular season with 56.
  • CORRECT – Marchessault will score more than 30 goals
    • Marchessault has 38 goals.
  • INCORRECT – VGK will sweep at least three Pacific Division teams
    • San Jose are the only team VGK have/can sweep.
  • TRENDING INCORRECT – VGK will not win the division but will advance further in the playoffs than the team that does
    • VGK will likely not win the division.
  • INCORRECT – Mark Stone will score more than 20 goals but never record a hat trick
    • Stone scored 16 and had one hat trick.
  • CORRECT – VGK will win 7 of their first 10 games
    • VGK won 9 of their first 10.
  • TRENDING INCORRECT – Ivan Barbashev will score fewer than 40 points
    • Barbashev has 38 points in 69 games.
  • CORRECT – The projected starting six defensemen will player fewer than 20 games together the entire regular season
    • They played 8 together and will likely not play another one with Hanifin now on the roster.

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“The Biggest Part Of Team Defense” Has Been Stepping Up Recently

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have picked it up defensively over the last few games. After allowing four or more goals in seven of eight games, Vegas has been dinged for four or more goals in just one of the last eight games.

One of the key reasons for that is Logan Thompson.

I always look at it more as team defense but the biggest part of team defense is usually your goaltender. The other five guys have to do their job. I think when we are at our best it’s a combination of both. But, we certainly don’t win without him making stops. He’s the biggest part of team defense. -Bruce Cassidy

In his last four starts, Thompson has allowed just seven goals against while posting a .943 save percentage.

Starting to feel like myself again. Since the Winter Classic game, I’ve felt good in the crease and I’m just trying to keep that going. -Logan Thompson

Early in the season, Thompson and Adin Hill shared starts and it went quite well for both of them. Then, injuries struck, and the rhythm was thrown off.

Hill was injured for the first time on November 30th, which forced Thompson into the goal more often than originally expected. The results were there at the start as he won five of his first seven starts as the undisputed starter in Hill’s absence. On December 19th though, Thompson picked up an injury that kept him out for the next week. When he returned, it was a struggle for a few games. Now, he seems to have found his mojo again.

He’s been real good lately, very consistent. I’ve liked his game. The workload is a good opportunity for him and I think he wants to be leaned on more and he’s producing. -Bruce Cassidy

The timing couldn’t be better for the Golden Knights either. With the injuries stacking up, they need to keep the scores lower to win. Thus, Thompson has to be at his absolute best. Fortunately for the nearly 27-year-old, this isn’t the first time he’s been put in this situation.

I’m not going to put any more pressure (on myself). I’ve been in this spot before. It takes me back to my first year coming up, we had a lot of bodies out. It’s the same thing except I think everybody has a lot more experience now. -Thompson

It appears Adin Hill’s return could be coming soon and it would be much welcome with a pair of back-to-backs coming up on the road before the All Star break. However, as long as Thompson continues to play the way he has for the last week or so, the Golden Knights will be just fine with him shouldering the load.

Why The Golden Knights Have Selected A Starting Goalie Instead Of Going 50/50

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the Golden Knights entered Training Camp most viewed it as a 1A/1B situation in the goal. Adin Hill returned with a new $10 million contract after posting a Conn Smythe-worthy performance in his 13 playoff games while Logan Thompson was back healthy for the first time since January looking to build off his All Star start to last season.

Both goalies have shown to be more than capable and the expectation was they’d work as a tandem at something close to a 50/50 split.

That’s not how it has played out through four games as both the words and actions of the coaching staff have declared Hill the starter and Thompson the backup.

You go into a new year and you are starting fresh but you can’t forget what happened. So there’s a little bit of tilt towards Hill if he came out of training camp the way he was playing and he has. We still want to give Logan his starts, and he’ll get them, just not as many as Adin right now. -Cassidy

Hill was given the start on Opening Night and then followed it up by playing the third and fourth games of the season. Thompson started the lone game in between and is likely to step back in tonight in Winnipeg. Hill would then be expected to take the reins on Saturday in Chicago and then there’s just one game before next weekend’s back-to-back.

If Hill gets the game on Tuesday the 24th, which he likely will, that would mean seven starts out of the first 10 games for Hill while Thompson gets just three.

Some of it is Hill has played a lot more recently even though it’s been months. Logan hasn’t played since the end of January. We want to make sure Hill gets his starts because he earned it at the end of last year. -Cassidy

The Golden Knights used a similar rotation last year to open the season, just vice versa with the man getting the bulk of the starts. Thompson started eight of the first 12 games and eventually saw the net in 35 of the first 51 games prior to the All Star break.

Health and performance will obviously dictate what happens over the course of the entire season, but as it stands right now, the Golden Knights have a preferred starter, and his name is Adin Hill.

50 Predictions For The Golden Knights 2023-24 Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Everyone loves a good prediction. So, how about 50 of them?

Let’s go!

  • Jack Eichel will score more than one point per game
  • Mark Stone will play at least 60 games
  • Marchessault will score more than 30 goals
  • VGK will sweep at least three Pacific Division teams
  • VGK will not win the division but will advance further in the playoffs than the team that does
  • Mark Stone will score more than 20 goals but never record a hat trick
  • VGK will win 7 of their first 10 games
  • Ivan Barbashev will score fewer than 40 points
  • The projected starting six defensemen will player fewer than 20 games together the entire regular
    season

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Logan Thompson Feels First Preseason Appearance Was A Step In The Right Direction

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Preseason is tough on everybody. From younger players fighting to prove their worth to veteran players who are in many ways just trying to make it through healthy, it seems like the motivation for every player on the ice is slightly different, which often leads to messy hockey games.

Goalies may have it the toughest though as game-action hockey for the guys between the pipes is much harder to replicate than it is for skaters.

Traffic around the net, rebound control, little tips and screens, you don’t get a lot of that when you are working in the offseason, so that’s why they need to play. That’s why you see some goals that may go through some holes during the preseason that may not otherwise. They have to get used to things happening in a hurry. -Bruce Cassidy

Logan Thompson stepped into the net last night for the first time since March and only the third time since January. Understandably, he looked a bit unsettled early.

It got better as the game went on. I felt more comfortable there in the 2nd period. Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a game but it felt good and it’s a step in the right direction. -Logan Thompson

Thompson mentioned another aspect that often gets overlooked as well.

Getting your lungs back and getting the cardio up. We can go as hard as we want in practice but it’s just not that game atmosphere. -Thompson

In other words, give the goalies a break during the preseason. There may be some soft goals along the way, but in the end, all that matters is being ready for October 10th.

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