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“Self-Inflicted Wounds” Haunt Golden Knights In Game 5

If you replay that game, nine times out of ten you probably win. -Pete DeBoer

Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, the one out of ten was last night, and now they have to go back to Minnesota to take a second crack at ending the Wild’s season.

Vegas won every measurable stat in Game 5 aside from the only one that counts, goals. They outshot the Wild 39-14, out-chanced them 37-16, and racked up 77% of the game’s high danger chances at 17-5.

It was the 1st period that did the Golden Knights in. Marc-Andre Fleury, who came in having allowed just four goals on 116 shots, allowed three on seven shots in the 1st. Meanwhile, Vegas generated very little on the other end, scoring once on a familiar-looking neutral zone chip in, but were limited to just two of their 17 high-danger chances.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

1st period woes are becoming a bit of a trend as the Golden Knights now trail 5-2 in the opening frame while outscoring Minnesota 12-3 following the first intermission.

There have been some good 1st periods, some bad ones, and then there was Game 5’s, which was somewhere in between. Vegas didn’t play poorly but succumbed to what head coach Pete DeBoer called “an opportunistic” Wild team. Alternate captain, Reilly Smith, saw it a bit differently.

I think we just have to be a little smarter and have a little bit more urgency with the puck in the 1st period. I really don’t think it’s anything they did, it’s self-inflicted wounds. -Reilly Smith

Smith’s right about the last part, self-inflicted wounds. The Golden Knights made critical mistakes on all three of the Wild’s 1st period goals.

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Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: The Golden Knights needed one win to clinch their first-round series with the Wild and their first on home ice. Vegas captain Mark Stone opened the scoring with his fourth of the postseason. Minnesota would answer right back scoring three unanswered goals. After the opening 20 minutes the Wild led 3-1.

The Golden Knights took control of the 2nd period outshooting the Wild 22 to 1. Near the midway point of the period Vegas’ power play finally came through to make it a one-score game. Defenseman Alec Martinez one-timed a second a pass into the Wild’s net for the only goal of the period.

Trailing 3-2, Vegas tried to keep the pressure on but Minnesota battled back and held their one-goal lead. The Golden Knights had several quality chances in front of the Wild’s net but couldn’t tie the game. Minnesota would add an empty-net goal to finish off the game 4-2. 

After their loss the Golden Knights now lead the seven-game series 3-2. Game 6 is scheduled for Wednesday night in Minnesota. Puck drop is TBD. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights weren’t quite on top of their game as a group in the 1st and a few opportunities were pounced on by the Wild. Then, Vegas completely took over the rest of the game, but couldn’t quite get over the hump. Tough one to lose, reminds me a bit of the other closeout game VGK had on home ice, hopefully the rest of the series has a much different outcome. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Minnesota Wild Game 5 at T-Mobile Arena

  • “Self-inflicted wounds” in the 1st period

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Zach Whitecloud
* Mark Stone

How VGK’s Play In The Neutral Zone Has Unlocked Their Offense

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Remember when the storyline surrounding the Golden Knights was a scoring drought spanning over three series in two postseasons? Well, that appears to be over, or at least on hold, as Vegas has exploded for 12 goals in the last 8 periods and won three straight with a chance to close it out tonight.

A huge reason for the turnaround offensively has been the way the Golden Knights have played in the neutral zone. Since Pete DeBoer took over in Vegas, the ability for the Golden Knights to shut down teams through the center of the ice has been excellent. When they are scoring at a high rate, much of the offense comes from play in the center third of the rink.

In Game 4, Vegas utilized two plays where they used their speed and offensive-minded decision-making in the neutral zone to score goals and eventually help them win the game.

Here are the two plays.

The first one, keep an eye on Keegan Kolesar (VGK #55). He glides through the neutral zone constantly presenting his stick. Nic Roy’s (VGK #10) ability to hold onto the puck forces Zach Parise (MIN #11) to challenge which leaves Kolesar open. Kolesar’s decision to chip in, and then the perfect execution of it, turns what is a 2-on-3 rush into a breakaway chance.

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Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Assosciates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: The Golden Knights were forced to kill a penalty a minute into the game which helped them build early momentum. Vegas’ Nic Roy scored his first of the series driving the length of the ice and flipping one past Minnesota goaltender Cam Talbot. Coach Pete DeBoer used his challenge for the second time in the series and successfully won a second reversal. After the opening 20 minutes the Golden Knights held a 1-0 edge. 

Alex Tuch left the game in the 1st period with an apparent injury but returned and gave Vegas a 2-0 lead in the middle frame. Captain Mark Stone added an important Shorthanded goal to stretch Vegas’ lead to 3-0 after 40 minutes. 

Vegas clamped down in the final period forcing Minnesota to take low-quality shots. Roy would put the game away with a late empty-net goal. Marc-Andre Fleury continued to frustrate the Wild’s top scorers and preserved his first shutout of the playoffs. 

With their 4-0 victory Vegas now leads the first-round set with Minnesota 3-1. Vegas will have a chance to close out the series on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena. Game 5 is scheduled for 730P PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Like they did in the second half of Game 3, the Golden Knights settled into the game using their forecheck and puck management. They put constant pressure on the Wild which forced them into turnovers all over the ice. The Golden Knights took advantage of some more of the opportunities and took a stranglehold of the series. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Minnesota Wild Game 4 at Xcel Energy Center

  • Carp’s Sunday column

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Mark Stone
* Nic Roy

Film Breakdown: Details Of Dominant 2nd Period Of Game 3

The Golden Knights needed one heck of a response to get into Game 3 and boy did they deliver it in the 2nd period. From down 2-0 (could have been 3-0), the Golden Knights stormed back to score three 2nd period goals and five unanswered.

The keys to the turning of the tide was in the details, which I point out in this episode of film breakdown.

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Wild Continue To Give Life To Opportunistic Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Most Golden Knights fans were ready to turn off their TVs after the opening 20 minutes of Game 3. For a second straight game, the Minnesota Wild outshot and outworked Vegas earning a 2-0 1st period lead. However, a two-goal lead wasn’t enough to put the Golden Knights away.

The final results came down to open opportunities and Vegas’ ability to jump on them.

They came out to a quick start. They were faster than us to a lot of loose pucks. I think that’s what gave them so many opportunities. We have to try and turn that around as quickly as possible because we don’t have a chance. We’re a fast team but if we’re not playing fast we’re just waiting for them to score. -Reilly Smith during 1st Intermission of Game 3

It’s obvious when the tide turned last night. When it looked like the Wild would take a commanding 3-0 lead, coach Pete DeBoer made a wise challenge that paid off instantly. Not only did Minnesota have a goal taken away but it gave Vegas a sudden moment of hope. That’s when the visiting team realized they weren’t down and out despite trailing 2-0. The challenge was the first opportunity and it woke up Vegas. Holding the Wild to only two in the first period changed the direction for the Golden Knights.

The 2nd period was filled with more opportunities for Vegas.

Vegas’ turning point was our penalties. It took us out of rhythm, it took us out of the hockey game. -Dean Evason, MIN coach

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Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Assosciates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: For the second straight game Minnesota came out to another strong start. The Wild scored quickly into Game 3 and doubled their lead later in the 1st period. Vegas coach Pete DeBoer challenged what would be Minnesota’s third goal for being offsides and his decision paid off. After the opening 20 minutes Vegas trailed 2-0. 

The Golden Knights took control of the game in the 2nd period. Vegas captain Mark Stone got things going with his first goal of the series 8:39 into the middle frame. Patrick Brown dressed for his first playoff game and tied the game seven minutes later. Reilly Smith completed the comeback giving Vegas the 3-2 lead with his first of the postseason.

Vegas held off several Minnesota attacks allowing only four shots on net in the final period. William Karlsson doubled up Vegas’ lead to 4-2, and Stone added an empty-net goal to close out Game 3.

With their 5-2 victory the Golden Knights lead the first-round series with Minnesota 2-1. The series continues Saturday in Minnesota. Game 4 is scheduled 5:00 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A tale of two games in Game 3 ended with the Golden Knights figuring everything out and sticking it to the Wild in the most impressive way. Who in the hell knows what was going on it the 1st period, but in the 2nd the best version of VGK showed up and played one of the most impressive periods in franchise history. They followed it up with a 3rd that was exactly the M.O. of this year’s team, shutting the door by suppressing shots and capitalizing on frustration. An absolutely massive win that now had the Golden Knights in great position in a series that looked like it was long gone after 20 minutes. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Minnesota Wild Game 3 at Xcel Energy Center

  • Film study on the best period in VGK history.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nick Holden
** Reilly Smith
* Mark Stone

Mattias Janmark Doesn’t See Similarities In How Wild And Stars Defend The Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Anyone else feeling a bit of deja vu from the last playoff run?

The Golden Knights seem to be able to generate chances but the puck just will not go in the back of the net. Through two games Vegas has attempted 144 shots with 70 of them making it to Cam Talbot. He’s stopped all but three despite consistent pressure from the Vegas offense.

To most, including myself, it reminds me of the Dallas series, and the back-end of the Vancouver series before it. But to Mattias Janmark, who was on the Stars team that ended Vegas’ season last year, he doesn’t see the parallels. When asked if the Wild are defending the Golden Knights in a similar way, he took a moment to think about it and then said “not really.” He went on…

It’s hard because I was on the other side. I don’t think (Minnesota) plays too much of the same style as we played in Dallas. I don’t see too many similarities but I think in the playoffs all the series are similar in some ways. It’s always hard to score in the playoffs. -Janmark

One place in which Minnesota is very different from Dallas is in their commitment to block shots. In 123 minutes of hockey, the Wild have stepped in front of 40 Vegas shots. Meanwhile, in 5 games, or 304 minutes, the Stars blocked just 60 Golden Knights shots.

Another difference is where the shots are coming from for the Golden Knights. The first heat map is from this series while the second is against Dallas.

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Twitter Space Golden Knights and Wild Head To Minnesota – May 19th, 2021

In this Twitter Space broadcast, Ken chats about the series heading to Minnesota and the challenges this presents the Golden Knights. Plus, some talk about Cody Glass’ addition to the roster, and the future of the Golden Knights after this postseason.

Mark Stone And Kirill Kaprizov Eerily Quiet Through Two Games

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Two games, zero goals, and just one point which came in the final minute of Game 2 on a secondary assist. Those are the combined series numbers of superstars Mark Stone and Kirill Kaprizov.

Stone has been bottled up, almost looking frustrated on the ice, while Kaprizov has shown flashes of brilliance but for the most part has been kept to the outside and under heavy pressure.

Each has had one individual highlight moment, one in which Stone stickhandled through three Wild players drawing a penalty and nearly scoring, and the other where Kaprizov got in close and was robbed by a ridiculous save from Marc-Andre Fleury, but otherwise, the two main events in the series have been quiet.

Slowing down the two stars starts with defensive matchups. The Golden Knights have leaned heavily on Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb when Kaprizov is on the ice. More than half of the time Kaprizov has been out there, he’s skating into that pair. On the other side, the Wild have gone a bit more by committee against Stone. All six of their defensemen have shared the ice with Stone for at least eight minutes with Jared Spurgeon leading the way last night and Jonas Brodin taking the most minutes in Game 1.

As far as line matching, they’ve seen a lot of each other. Stone’s first line has skated against Kaprizov, Hartman, and Zuccarello for nine minutes in Game 1. That number decreased to just six in Game 2, with Stone seeing more of Joel Eriksson Ek.

Where each of the stars has started is important as well. Both Stone and Kaprizov have seen greater than 60% of their shifts start in the offensive zone. Both coaches are willing to abandon the matchup if it means an extra offensive zone start for their best player.

As the series shifts to Minnesota, the power to match lines and pairs now resides in Dean Evason’s hands, not Pete DeBoer’s. Does he look to find more favorable matchups for Kaprizov and Co. or is he comfortable with the fact that his best has been able to neutralize Vegas’?

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