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Golden Knights Saw Remarkable Scoring Increase From Regular Season To Playoffs

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

The last two postseasons before the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup they experienced a similar issue that derailed each season. A team that rarely struggled to score suddenly couldn’t find the back of the net against teams like Vancouver, Dallas, and Montreal.

Then, in 2023, that issue disappeared. On their 22-game run to the Cup the Golden Knights scored at will against four vastly different styles of team. Vegas averaged four goals per game, leading all teams this postseason. 4.00 is nearly half a goal better than any other VGK team has ever posted in the playoffs and 1.2 goals per game better than the last time the Golden Knights were there.

Playoff Scoring Per Game
2022-23: 4.00
2020-21: 2.79
2019-20: 2.85
2018-19: 3.57
2017-18: 2.85

The main catalyst for this was scoring from forwards. 10 Golden Knights forwards saw their scoring pace increase in the playoffs compared to the regular season. The leader among them was Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Marchessault who went from 0.75 points per game in the regular season to a whopping 1.14 per game in the playoffs.

Michael Amadio, Brett Howden, and Mark Stone all saw increases of at least 0.2 points per game and Jack Eichel added 0.19 per game in the playoffs.

William Karlsson led the pack in goal-scoring difference from the regular season to playoffs. Karlsson scored just 0.17 goals per game, or less than one every five games, to scoring 0.50 per game in the playoffs, or one every other game. Both Chandler Stephenson and Marchessault also added at least 0.22 extra goals per game in the playoffs which means just taking those three players alone, the Golden Knights were getting an extra goal per game compared to the regular season.

Here’s the full chart to show the delta (DIFF) between each players’ goal (G/GP) and point (P/GP) scoring in the regular season (RS) and the playoffs (P).

**Use landscape mode if viewing on a mobile device.**

Jonathan Marchessault0.370.590.220.751.140.39
Michael Amadio0.240.310.070.400.630.23
Brett Howden0.
Mark Stone0.400.500.100.881.090.21
Jack Eichel0.400.27-0.130.991.180.19
Zach Whitecloud0.
Alec Martinez0.
William Karlsson0.170.500.330.650.770.12
Ivan Barbashev0.260.320.060.700.820.12
Chandler Stephenson0.200.450.260.800.910.11
Nicolas Hague0.
Phil Kessel0.170.00-0.170.440.500.06
Nicolas Roy0.220.14-0.080.460.500.04
Teddy Blueger0.
Keegan Kolesar0.110.09-
Brayden McNabb0.010.00-
Reilly Smith0.330.18-0.150.720.64-0.08
William Carrier0.290.11-0.170.450.33-0.12
Shea Theodore0.150.05-0.100.750.62-0.13
Brayden Pachal0.
Ben Hutton0.100.00-
Alex Pietrangelo0.150.05-0.100.740.48-0.26

No Golden Knight averaged more than 0.4 goals per game in the regular season while four did in the playoffs (Marchessault, Stone, Karlsson, Stephenson). Also, not a single Golden Knight reached a point per game in the regular season while three did in the playoffs (Eichel, Marchessault, Stone).

Because the Golden Knights were so proficient at scoring, it allowed two of their most important offensive weapons to focus more on their primary jobs. Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore saw both of their goals per game and points per game decrease in the postseason. Between the two, Vegas received 0.3 goals per game and 1.5 points per game in the regular season. Those numbers dipped to 0.1 goals and 1.1 points per game in the playoffs. It seems like a lot, but the 0.1 goals per game was made up by Mark Stone alone.

Add it all up, and offense was never a problem for Vegas during this playoff run, and it’s ultimately the main reason they all have their names engraved on the Cup.

VGK May Break Season Scoring Record, But Scoring In The Playoffs Remains A Major Concern

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Yesterday I published a piece looking at all of the records the Golden Knights could potentially break this season. From blocks to faceoffs to road points percentage, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see how many records may fall this year.

However, there was one that did catch me a bit off guard and it made me question one of the strongest beliefs I’ve had about this team for the past few seasons.

The 2022-23 Golden Knights are 41 goals from breaking the franchise record for most goals scored in a season. With 12 games to go, they’ll need to score 3.4 per game to set the new high water mark. Considering this year’s team is averaging 3.24 per game this year, it absolutely could happen, or at the very least could come down to a goal or two difference.

Yet here I sit here with the core belief that the Golden Knights are lacking the proper level of offense necessary to win the Stanley Cup. And after doing some digging into the numbers, I still believe it.

So how can a team on pace to score well over three goals per game and possibly break the scoring record set by the legendary team that won 13 playoff games still be short offensively?

The first reason is that this year’s team is more boom or bust than the 2017-18 team.

In 82 games, the 17-18 Golden Knights failed to score three goals 26 times, or 32%. This year’s team has done it 28 times in 70 games, for 40% of the schedule. Meanwhile, this year’s team has posted at least five goals 19 times, or 27%, while the first year team also did it 19 times, but in all 82, or 23%.

That means this year’s team scores less than two or more than four in 67%, two-thirds, of games while the 17-18 team had a boom-or-bust rate a little over half of the games at 55%.

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VGK’s Path To The Playoffs Is Wide Open Despite Tricky Schedule

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Lights out, away we go. The All Star break is over and the race to the playoffs is officially on.

As of right now, the Golden Knights sit in a fairly comfortable place among the jumbled group of Western Conference competitors.

VGK’s 62 points in 51 games have them just a point behind both Seattle and Los Angeles, while two clear of Edmonton and five past Calgary. In points percentage, the Golden Knights’ .608 is good for 2nd in the Pacific, 4th in the West, and 10th in the league.

Vegas’ schedule is certainly tougher the rest of the way than it has been to this point. With 31 games to go, Vegas will face 16 teams currently in playoff position and nine teams among the Top 10 in the league. The combined points percentage of the teams left on VGK’s schedule is .560, the toughest of the 10 teams chasing the eight playoff spots.

Remaining Strength of Schedule by Points Percentage

Vegas – .560
Nashville – .554
Winnipeg – .553
Minnesota – .546
Edmonton – .545
Colorado – .538
Calgary – .534
Seattle – .533
Los Angeles – .532
Dallas – .526

.560 equates to 92 points per game, or essentially a team right on the playoff cut line. This is much tougher than the 86 point pace average Dallas will face.

However, there’s a different way to look at it that appears much better for the Golden Knights. VGK’s .608 points percentage is better than 22 of the 31 teams remaining on the schedule. Of the 10 contending teams, that’s tied for the fourth most games against teams with inferior points percentages.

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First To 10 Wins: What Does It Mean For The Rest Of The Season?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In their 12th game of the season, the Golden Knights reached a plateau that took them 17 games to get to last year and a whopping 23 games to reach back in 2018-19.

Along with the Boston Bruins, Vegas became the first team in the NHL to reach the double-digit win plateau. It’s the first time in Golden Knights history they’ve been the first in the conference to reach 10 wins. It’s not Bruce Cassidy’s first time in this place though, as his Bruins did it two years ago in the shortened season.

The question is, how significant is it to be the first team to reach 10 wins?

The answer is… not much.

Over the course of the last nine years, no team to be the first to reach 10 wins has reached the Cup Final, while three failed to make the playoffs altogether.

The last sentence said nine years because exactly 10 seasons ago, in 2012-13, the Chicago Blackhawks were the first team to reach 10 wins in the lockout-shortened season. They went on to steamroll the entire league on their way to their second of three Cups last decade. However, that team wasn’t like all the rest of the teams to reach 10 wins. First, they are one of just two teams to do it without a regulation loss (last year’s Florida) and they didn’t exactly stop at 10. That Blackhawks team started the season on a 24-game point streak with an insane 21-0-3 record. They finished the year 36-7-5 (the equivalent of 132 points in an 82-game season) before going 16-7 on their way to winning the Cup.

So, in the last 10 years, one team to be the first to reach 10 wins won the Cup.

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Assessing The Playoff Picture For The Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s getting down to crunch time and for the first time all season the Golden Knights’ name is included in a playoff-clinching scenario. If the Golden Knights lose to Vancouver tonight, the Avalanche will clinch a postseason berth.

Of course, VGK are never going to catch Colorado, but we’re close enough for clinching scenarios so we’re definitely close enough to be keeping an eye on the rest of the landscape of the playoff picture.

Here are the current Points To Elimination for the Golden Knights. Remember, VGK must either “eliminate” five teams from the Pacific or eight teams from the Western Conference to qualify for the playoffs.

Seattle – E
Anaheim – 13
San Jose – 15
Vancouver – 20
Los Angeles – 29
Edmonton – 30
Calgary – 38

Arizona – E
Chicago – 5
Winnipeg – 21
Nashville – 31
Dallas – 32
St. Louis – 35
Minnesota – 40
Colorado – 51

The Golden Knights have 12 games left on the schedule meaning there are 24 points to be controlled by Vegas. Because there are only four Pacific teams and three Central teams under 24, the Golden Knights do NOT control their own destiny. If Vegas wins out, there is a scenario in which Vegas still does not make the playoffs. They will need some help, but not much at all.

Flipping things over, here are the “tragic numbers” for Vegas against each other team. This is the number of points that would guarantee the Golden Knights cannot catch each team. In parentheses is the total number of available points between the two teams to reach that number.

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Dissecting The Numbers Behind VGK’s Playoff Chances

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As we head down the stretch, the Golden Knights still clearly control their own destiny. If they win all 15 of the remaining games they’ll finish the season with 104 points and will be in the playoffs with ease.

However, that’s about as realistic as the entire roster being healthy tomorrow, which it obviously won’t be. So, Vegas may need some help from others to punch their ticket to the postseason.

The Golden Knights currently boast a .552 points percentage. If they were to play that out to the end, they would end up with either 90 or 91 points. Simply put, that will not be enough to reach the postseason. However, if they were to play a bit better, and wind up with somewhere between 93 and 97 points, they still have a realistic shot to be there.

For Vegas to reach 93 points, they would need to play .663 hockey the rest of the way. They could do it a variety of ways, but it requires at least eight wins in the last 15 games. That would mean there were at least three overtime losses involved, which considering Vegas has just four this season, seems unrealistic. So, it’s more likely that Vegas needs a minimum of nine wins to reach 93 points.

Normally, 93 points would be enough for a team to reach the playoffs. But this year, it may not. Here are the points percentages each team must reach to attain 93, 95, or 97 points.

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Polls, Odds, And Probabilities: Are The Golden Knights Going To Make The Playoffs?

Look, I even used the same picture from that article! (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A little more than two years ago the Golden Knights were in a similar position to where they are right now in the standings. 52 games into the schedule that year we published a story with the same title as this one.

We included polls from social media, gambling odds, computer projections, and statistical probabilities to paint a picture of how much brighter the outlook of the season actually was than how it felt at that moment.

This year, we’re going back to the exact same sources, but this time, the picture it paints is actually pretty grim.

We’ll start with the fans.

Currently on a four-game slide and riding a 4-9-1 record since February 9th, Golden Knights fans are unsurprisingly a bit down on their team. We asked the simplest of questions, and more than half of the fan base took the pessimistic option.

Next we head to the sportsbook, sponsor the William Hill Sportsbook, of course.

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Golden Knights In Unfamiliar Position On The Outside Looking In

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was exactly 1,944 days since Las Vegas was awarded an NHL franchise. They’ve been named the Vegas Golden Knights for 1,824 of them. The team played their first game 1,473 days ago and they’ve been actively competing inside of a regular season for 652 days.

Today stands as just the 95th day in which the Golden Knights have been on the outside of the playoff picture. These past few days have represented just the 27th, 28th, and 29th days in which VGK have ever sat in 7th place, and if the Flames win in Anaheim tonight it’ll be just the 3rd day in 1,944 days of existence that the Golden Knights will be in dead last in the division.


The numbers are quite astounding when you considered the historic success, or really, failures, of previous NHL expansion teams. Not only have the Golden Knights reached the playoffs every season, they’ve been on the correct side of the playoff cut line for 85.5% of their days in the NHL.

Maybe even more impressive, the Golden Knights have held down the #1 spot in the Pacific or West division for 36% of the 657 regular season days. No other spot accounts for more than 20% and 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th places combine for just 14.4% of the days.

Yes, that’s right, that means the Golden Knights have been in 1st place more than twice the amount of time they’ve been anywhere in the bottom half of the division.

The latest the Golden Knights have ever been out of the postseason picture was on January 17th, 2020, one day after firing Gerard Gallant (they were in 1st place 11 days earlier).

And Friday was the first day of the first 178 regular season days coached by Pete DeBoer.

The Golden Knights aren’t back in action until Wednesday, which means they’ll have to suffer through at least two more days in an unfamiliar position.

VGK’s Best Postseason Players All Had One Important Thing In Common

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If there’s one thing the Golden Knights were not short on as they headed into their fourth Stanley Cup playoff journey, it was experience. Before the 19 games they each played on their path to the Semifinals, the Golden Knights entered the playoffs with 1,086 games of postseason experience on the roster.

On top of that, they also boasted four prominent players that have won Stanley Cups. Between Marc-Andre Fleury, Alex Pietrangelo, Alec Martinez, and Chandler Stephenson, this version of the Golden Knights had players who had won seven of the last 13 Stanley Cups.

When you hear people talk about players like Fleury, Pietrangelo, Martinez, and Stephenson you’ll often hear them mention that accolade. In Martinez’s case, when he was acquired it was literally the only thing anyone wanted to reference when describing him as a player. And, after this season concluded, Martinez himself went right to it when talking about Pietrangelo.

He’s got that championship pedigree. He’s been through a lot of playoff runs. We actually went head-to-head quite a few times. -Alec Martinez on Pietrangelo

Personally, I’m usually a little skeptical when it comes to pedigree making a difference, but this year has made me re-think it a bit seeing the performances of the Cup-winners on the Golden Knights’ roster.

Think about it. Who were Vegas’ best three players on this postseason run?

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Despite Empty Season End Feeling, These Golden Knights Are Climbing

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When history looks back on the 2021 Golden Knights, it will show that they came up short. Again.

Technically, you can split hairs and say they were one win closer this season than last, but in the end, the round was the same, and the way they went out was almost identical to the year prior.

For four years running the most successful expansion franchise in North American history has been able to call itself a contender. Since the world realized how good this team can be sometime in December of 2017, it’s been fair and accurate to consider them among the most likely options to win the Stanley Cup each and every year.

But each year, it hasn’t happened and every time we’re left with the same feeling of emptiness. A feeling of “what could have been.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past four postseason failures though, is that while the bleak feeling will always exist, it feels different each time.

This one doesn’t feel like the first season. It certainly doesn’t feel like the second year that ended with an apology from the NHL. And while it should feel a lot like the third one, it doesn’t.

It’s because this team showed improvement from the last.

I thought we took a step from a year ago when we got to this point. I thought we were better during the regular season, better the playoffs against two really tough teams in Minnesota and Colorado. But we still fell off at the wrong time. There’s another door we’ve got to find a way to barge through at this time of year. -Pete DeBoer

Of course, the regular season wasn’t what it usually is, and the West Division was even more of a joke than the Pacific has been since the Golden Knights arrived, but there’s always something to take away from 56 games. What Vegas took from them was consistency. Any lapses in the Golden Knights’ play rarely lasted longer than a period, let alone a game, or a week.

Then, when the playoffs came around, they were faced with a similar obstacle to the one that tripped them up in the bubble. Dallas and Minnesota play a similar brand of defense and for a portion of the beginning of that series, it was working against the Golden Knights.

That was the first step.

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