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Tag: Special Teams

Golden Knights Find Themselves In First And Last In Important Connected Statistical Categories

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Any time a team leads the entire NHL in a specific category this deep into the season it tells a story. For the Golden Knights, they currently have the lead in one category and find themselves in dead last in a connected one.

After 54 games, no team in the NHL has taken fewer penalties than the Golden Knights. They’ve taken just 154 for an average of 6:38 of penalty time per game. No other team in the league is under seven minutes and just five others are under eight. They’ve taken just 140 minor penalties for an average of fewer than three penalties per 60 minutes.

On the flip side, as great as it is for the Golden Knights to never take penalties, they don’t draw them either. Vegas sits in 32nd place in penalties drawn with 169. Of course, that’s 15 fewer than they’ve taken, which is a nice plus, but it’s just over 3 per game where the league leader is at 4.67.

The Golden Knights aren’t alone though. In 2nd place behind them in both categories is the St. Louis Blues. That pretty clearly indicates the numbers are at least loosely connected, even if the referees aren’t outwardly doing it on purpose.

Referees may subconsciously say, ‘gee, I’ve only put them in the box once,’ but I think there are a lot of infractions that don’t go our way. I think it is correlated but not to the point where we’re going to make it an issue. -Bruce Cassidy

Not drawing penalties has been an issue for years for the Golden Knights too. Last year the Golden Knights came in last place as well, drawing just 262 over the 82 game season. Since Vegas entered the league, only two teams have drawn fewer per 60, Toronto and Columbus.

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Who Plays When On Special Teams?

The Golden Knights power play king. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights continue to be one of the most disciplined teams in the NHL. Vegas is one of the least penalized teams allowing 7.5 penalty minutes per game (PIM). Players have committed the fourth least PIMs in the league, and opponents have only 82 Power Play opportunities against (PPOA) the Golden Knights. For comparison sake, Nashville has allowed 114 PPOA.

When it comes to shorthanded (SH) situations, Gerard Gallant relies heavily on six players. Four out of the top five penalty killers are defensemen. Deryk Engelland clearly leads the group with 71:15 total SHTOI. Forwards Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Reilly Smith, Cody Eakin and William Karlsson are also called upon to kill penalties for Gallant.

Deryk Engelland71:152:51
Luca Sbisa59:133:07
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare57:382:13
Brayden McNabb55:582:26
Nate Schmidt54:102:05
Reilly Smith52:522:02
Cody Eakin47:401:50
William Karlsson47:141:49
Tomas Nosek26:001:05
Oscar Lindberg25:001:00
Colin Miller13:260:31
Erik Haula9:100:25
Shea Theodore6:000:30

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Power Play Not A Concern For Golden Knights Players And Coach

The only power play goal in VGK history. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Finally, we can all stop holding our breath. The Golden Knights scored their first Power Play goal in franchise history.

It’s really no reason to celebrate due to the 13 straight failures, but getting one on the board is positive reinforcement for the players. Despite the low numbers (1-14 PP, 7.14 PP %) the Golden Knights have played well on man advantage situations. Remember, both Nate Schmidt‘s game-tying goal in Arizona and James Neal‘s first in Dallas were in 6-on-5 situations.

I think we’ve improved definitely. I think our execution can be much better. We lose pucks that we shouldn’t right now, and that prevents you from having more zone time. There’s always puck luck, but we need to create our own luck. –David Perron

Perron is the perfect example. He leads the team in power play time on ice (4:25 per game), plus he’s tied for the most shots (11) and assists (2) on the team as well. However, the Perronster (yeah, we’re going with it) hasn’t lit the lamp yet. But it’s not from a lack of trying.

I do think when you shoot the puck, it loosens things up and breaks them down a little more. I want to score goals, I want to shoot the puck. I do feel like I’ve shot a lot, I got to keep doing that because they’ll go in eventually. -Perron

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