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VGK’s Shot Blockers Back To Frustrating Playoff Opponents

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In case you needed one, the Golden Knights reminded us on Monday night that they really enjoy blocking shots. They finished 3rd in the NHL this season with 1,506 blocks and got right back to it in Game 1. 

Game 1 game-winning goal scorer Brayden McNabb nearly set a record for the most blocks by a Golden Knight in a playoff game with 8 (Alec Martinez had 9 in Game 6 vs COL). William Karlsson and Nic Roy lead all forwards with two blocks a piece and eight different Golden Knights registered at least one blocked shot.

Blocked Shots In Playoffs Since 2018

  1. Vegas: 1,637 (89 Games)
  2. Tampa: 1,600 (99 Games)
  3. Dallas: 1,192 (67 Games)
  4. Boston: 1,189 (76 Games)
  5. Colorado: 1,138 (71 Games)

Since the 2018 postseason, the Golden Knights lead all franchises in blocked shots and blocked shots per game. Reserve defenseman Alec Martinez is second in the NHL in playoff blocked shots (194) since the 2018 postseason. McNabb is just behind him (192) and will likely pass Martinez tonight in Game 2. Fellow blueliners Alex Pietrangelo is fifth (173) and rounding out the Top 15 is Shea Theodore (129) and Zach Whitecloud (124) since the 2018 playoffs. All have raised the Stanley Cup, multiple times for some.

Vegas even added to their historical team average in Monday’s 4-3 Game 1 victory.

Blocked Shots Per Playoff Game Since 2018

  1. Vegas: 17.76
  2. NYI: 17.58
  3. NAS: 17.26
  4. DAL: 17.02
  5. NYR: 16.48

Even though they know it’s coming, the Stars will likely struggle finding shooting lanes tonight. Plus, once frustration sets in, Pete DeBoer’s team won’t be able to stop themselves. Dallas will take inaccurate, ill advised shots down the wing and from the point allowing Vegas to simply absorb the puck and quickly exit the zone. This isn’t the first time we’ve followed a Pete DeBoer coached team.

When shots can’t make it through to the net, the more annoying it can get for an offensively gifted team that relies on creating havoc in front of the goal like the Stars.

Of course, blocking shots can lead to injuries, obstructed goaltenders, or unlucky bounces so there’s no guarantee it’ll go as swimmingly for VGK in Game 2 ad it did Game 1 (and most of last year’s WCF). But, that’s not going to stop the Golden Knights. It was a large part of the championship success last season and continues to be in 2024. After all, Stanley Cup winning Golden Knights declared last summer ‘It Hurts To Win.” We’re still waiting for the new slogan, but the old one isn’t going away any time soon.

Stone Hopes To Jumpstart VGK After Monday’s Offensive Explosion

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The last time Golden Knights fans saw Mark Stone explode offensively was the series-clinching Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. The captain tied a bow on Vegas’ first-ever championship with three goals and two assists in a 9-3 blowout. Monday’s game was not nearly as important but Stone broke out again, solving Vegas’ scoring woes for one night.

I was just fortunate enough to be in shooting spots tonight. I’d be a fool to pass up the ones that I got. Those just come some days and other days they don’t, but we just need to keep finding ways to play those 60-minute games as a good team. -Mark Stone

Stone completed the three goal challenge for the 3rd time in a Golden Knights uniform, two coming in the postseason.

Mark Stone Hat Trick Highlights

  • 04/14/19 – 1st Round Game 3 vs SJ: 3 Goals, 2 Assists, 4 Shots on Goal, 18:24 Time On Ice, VGK wins 6-3
  • 06/13/23 – SCF Game 5 vs FLA: 3 Goals, 1 Shorthanded Goal, 3 Shots on Goal, 16:54 Time On Ice, VGK wins 9-3
  • 01/15/24 – Game 44 vs NAS: 3 Goals, 5 Shots On Net, 18:48 Time On Ice, VGK wins 4-1

Going into Monday’s matinee, the reigning Stanley Cup champions were averaging an insufficient 2.5 goals per game in the last 14 games. Without the laundry list of injured Golden Knights, healthy players must step up and score enough to win. It was no surprise that VGK’s leader was the one to break out for three of Vegas’ four goals. Hopefully, his performance solved the Golden Knights’ lack of offense going forward.

We have to be a better version of ourselves for longer if we expect to get points. We’ve even talked about that. We might even be doing that and still not get points because teams will just be playing better. We’ve witnessed some of that lately. -Bruce Cassidy

Several times this season after a slow night offensively, Stone aided his team to success by scoring in the next game. In early November, Vegas began the month with a paltry three goals in nine periods. In Vegas’ next match, the captain scored a game-winner late in the final frame. He also added two power play assists, giving the Golden Knights offense a much-needed shot in the arm.

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STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!

The greatest hockey team in the world belongs to Las Vegas. 

The Vegas Golden Knights have won the Stanley Cup!!!!!!!!!!!!! #ProphecyFulfilled 

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 9 FLORIDA PANTHERS 3 (VGK Win Stanley Cup 4-1)

Recap: The Golden Knights came into Game 5 looking to raise the Stanley Cup on home ice. Captain Mark Stone came up with the opening goal 11:52 into the first period and Nic Hague doubled their lead 2-0 minutes later. After the opening 20 minutes, the Golden were two periods away from raising the Stanley Cup trophy. 

The Panthers scored to get within one but the Golden Knights came storming back. Alec Martinez, Reilly Smith, Stone and Michael Amadio all recorded 2nd period to take a commanding 6-1 advantage. 

Ivan Barbashev joined the scoring, giving the Golden Knights an astounding 7-1 lead. Florida scored a pair but Stone stepped in and took a long-distance shot giving himself a clinching game hat trick. Vegas ended Game 5 and the Stanley Cup Finals with an 9-3 over the Panthers. 

In their sixth NHL season your Golden Knights are the 2023 Stanley Cup Champions! (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Yet another masterclass from the best team in hockey. The Golden Knights have won the Stanley Cup! (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Florida Panthers Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena.

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Golden Knights Spent Season Practicing For The Postseason, Results Showing Practice Makes Perfect

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The 2022-23 Golden Knights entered the season with a chip on their shoulder. After missing the playoffs last year they knew they wanted to prove to the world, and to themselves, that it was a fluke.

They also entered the year with a new head coach, which meant new systems and a new style of play. That manifested itself in new lines and pairs, different focuses in the offensive and defensive zones, and a lot of room for error.

The team started the season red hot winning 13 of 15 but the process was not as pretty as the results. As the season wore on, that process caught up to the Golden Knights and they eventually went on a run of just 36 points in 36 games before the All Star Break.

There were all sorts of different issues ranging from puck management to ineffectiveness in the offensive zone to defensive lapses to special teams woes. If there’s a specific aspect of the game a team can struggle with, the Golden Knights probably did it over the course of this regular season.

At the time, most viewed it as an indictment on the overall strength of the team. They were inconsistent. There were recurring issues from years past as well as new ones from the change in system. And despite the status atop the division, there was reasonable cause for doubt.

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VGK Fans Eyeing Home Ice Gentlemen’s Sweep

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

After four Stanley Cup Finals games, the current situation couldn’t have set up any better for Vegas Golden Knights fans. Their favorite hockey team is 60 minutes away from hoisting the city’s first Stanley Cup trophy. Along with the Las Vegas Aces, the Golden Knights have a chance on Tuesday to deliver the second professional sports championship in city and state history.

Funny enough, Stanley Cup champions tend to end a series on the road. The Golden Knights can buck that trend a win in Game 5. Since 2000, 10 teams were presented the 124-year-old trophy on home ice, and only three over the past 10 seasons. That rare occurrence can happen for a fourth time in front of passionate home fans on Tuesday.

SCF Winning Team – Home/Road Clinching Game Since 2013

  • 2022: COL – Road
  • 2021: TB – Home
  • 2020: TB – Neutral
  • 2019: STL – Road
  • 2018: WAS – Road
  • 2017: PIT – Road
  • 2016: PIT – Road
  • 2015: CHI – Home
  • 2014: LA – Home
  • 2013: CHI – Road

Tampa Bay snapped the five-year road stretch in 2021 when they defeated the visiting Montreal Canadiens in five games. The Golden Knights could match the Lightning’s approach tomorrow night from T-Mobile Arena.

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Middle Frame Dominance Propelling Vegas To Brink Of The Promise Land

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

30 to 10.

That’s the score of Golden Knights playoff games in the 2nd period this postseason.

30 to 10, in 21 games.

The 30 goals are unsurprisingly the most by any team in the postseason. The other side is pretty wild though. 10 goals allowed in the 2nd period this playoffs is the 7th fewest of all 16 teams that participated. 10 goals allowed is the same number as Winnipeg allowed in five games, fewer than Minnesota allowed in six games, and 11 goals fewer than New Jersey allowed in 12 games. And the Golden Knights just completed their 21st game!

There was a time earlier this season when one of the biggest challenges for the Golden Knights was surviving 2nd periods. They struggled to tilt games in their favor in 2nd periods and it often led to long spells of the game where they were forced to defend. It’s actually been an issue in the Cassidy system as far back as his first season in Boston.

The Golden Knights finished the season with a +3 goal differential in the 2nd period and they were -6 in home games. Yet here we are, at the most important time of the year, and nightly in Western Conference and Stanley Cup Final games they are utilizing the 2nd period to run away with hockey games.

When you have four lines rolling like that in a 2nd period, we’re the best team in the league. -Adin Hill

In Game 4 the Golden Knights absolutely obliterated the Panthers in the middle frame. They outscored Florida just 2-1, but they outshot them 11-7, out-chanced them 18-4, and generated six high-danger scoring chances compared to the Panthers’ single one.

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