When the Predators visited T-Mobile Arena back in January they laid 48 hits on the Golden Knights, the most any team has delivered Vegas this season. Despite not getting the outcome they preferred in that game, Nashville came back with the same game plan last night and this time it worked.
The 40 hits absorbed by the Golden Knights are the third most of the season and it really impacted Vegas in all three zones.
That’s their game. If you’re not on your toes moving the puck and supporting it well then you are going to take some hits and they’re going to recover some pucks. That’s what happened early on. It took us a while to get going against it. Credit to them, they stuck with it, that’s how they play. -Bruce Cassidy
Vegas struggled in two areas against the heavy Nashville game. First, the Golden Knights turned the puck over along the walls on numerous occasions. The Predators’ active defensemen took away VGK’s preferred exit route and it led to extended time in the defensive zone. Second, Nashville players were camped out in front of Adin Hill’s net most of the night.
They took advantage of our slow start and I think it had a lot to do with them gaining momentum throughout the game. -Cassidy
High hit totals against have been troublesome at times for VGK this year. Of the 13 times a team has delivered at least 30 hits to Vegas, the Golden Knights are 6-5-2 including multi-goal losses to Nashville, Seattle, Buffalo, and Florida twice. Even if the Golden Knights know it’s coming, sometimes it has caught them off guard.
This time of the year every game is going to be physical. That’s a team that lost big last week so you knew they were going to come out. They’re fighting for a playoff spot, and so are we, so we needed a little bit more. I know it’s a back-to-back but we needed more. -Alex Pietrangelo
Four of the next seven games are against teams in the Top 10 in hits this season. The Golden Knights are capable of running teams that play a physical brand of hockey out of the building, they just have to be playing at the top of their game to do so. Right now, they aren’t, but there’s no better time than now to pick it back up.