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Tag: Thatcher Demko

Vegas Holds The Edge No Matter Who Vancouver Starts In Net

The Golden Knights were expected to smell blood on Tuesday night after the Canucks announced backup goaltender Thatcher Demko as the starter for Game 5. If anything, the reverse happened. Demko became the shark and snacked on a quantity of Vegas shots.

We are aware this photo has nothing to do with this article. But it’s great, so here it is. *Sorry Zach* (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Playoff “Photographer” @BadSportsArt)

Since his performance was so strong and starter Jacob Markstrom was designated as “unfit to play”, Vancouver may select Demko to start tonight’s Game 6. So, who benefits more if they do?

First postseason start or not, Demko’s performance was superb and may be tough to match. In his young career, he’s limited opponents to one goal six times. That’s over a span of 36 starts. He’s a fine goaltender that could frustrate the Golden Knights again, but odds say he’ll allow more than one goal tonight. Which might be all Vegas needs to clinch the seven-game series.

Especially if this is the Golden Knights mindset coming into Game 6.

We’re going to come into tomorrow’s game just to try to step on their necks and end this. -Reilly Smith

Smith also mentioned that Vegas needed to stick with their gameplan no matter what the outcome was after Game 5. The Golden Knights play best when they attack with numbers, using all three forwards to force their way into the Canucks’ zone by using their patented aggressive forecheck. If they play like that, it wouldn’t matter who is tending Vancouver’s net. The top seed in the West hasn’t lost its confidence after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss, they believe they were merely unfortunate. Vegas knows they’re the better club, and if they were to take 43 shots like they did in Game 5, they will go on to advance to the conference finals.

Plus, Vegas got tipped off how Vancouver successfully outlasted them in Game 5.

We’re just trying to play fast and get the puck in their zone. They clog the middle pretty well so we can’t really skate through it. The longer we wait to pass then their forwards are stuck at the far blue line. So if we pass it to them then they have no speed. For us we were just trying to get it out of our hands quickly so they can get on the forecheck with speed. It’s the defenseman’s responsibility to get up and gap up and try and support the forecheck. -Quinn Hughes, VAN defenseman

Leaked strategy or not, it shouldn’t matter for a good team like Vegas. Coach Pete DeBoer and his players will/should adapt from last game’s miscues.

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High Shot Count Hasn’t Always Translated To Wins For The Golden Knights

Because of the Pause, it feels like ages ago, but one of the Golden Knights’ final games of the regular season was a 4-1 loss to the LA Kings. In that game, the Golden Knights outshot the Kings by a margin of 43-17, and at even strength it was 40-8. Vegas created 10 more high-danger chances, they owned 75% of the game’s shot attempts, and the expected goals pointed to a nearly three-goal victory.

Instead, the Golden Knights lost the game 4-1 and never led. That night, Cal Petersen stopped 42 shots and ended Vegas’ eight game winning streak. The only Golden Knights goal was scored on an individual effort by Shea Theodore.

Sounding a bit familiar?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Playoff “Photographer” @BadSportsArt)

Last night the Golden Knights peppered the exact same number of shots, 42, at playoff debutant Thatcher Demko. They led in shots by 26, they created 24 more scoring chances, and finished the game with a Corsi of 67.5%. The only goal was a magical individual effort by Shea Theodore.

It’s easy to sit back and say, “well, they ran into a hot goalie” and if this was a rare occurrence, it would probably be a fair statement. But with this version of the Golden Knights, it’s not, even if the previous instances happened eight to ten months ago.

If you rank every game by even-strength shot share, that Kings game is atop the regular season and last night’s Canucks Game 5 leads the playoffs. Both losses for the Golden Knights.

Go a little further and you’ll see that games ranked 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 are all losses for Vegas as well. Thus, the 10 best games for the Golden Knights in regards to outshooting their opposition, six of them are losses. In the playoffs, it’s games ranked first, second, and fifth of the 13.

This can’t be simply attributed to the Golden Knights falling behind and the other team sitting back trying to hold the lead.

Last night, after the 2nd period, Vegas led the shot chart 28-10. The game was tied for all but 24 seconds of those 40 minutes. In the Chicago game, Vegas trailed for a majority of it, but only for more than a single goal for just 18 seconds (another game in which the only goal was scored by Theodore).

This is an issue that has plagued the Golden Knights all season long. I can specifically remember sitting in the bowels of the Staples Center (those were the days) asking myself, how can this team constantly dominate on the stat sheet but keep losing hockey games.

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Alex Tuch Was Once Ranked 12th In The World At Video Game NHL

Hopefully one day he’ll be 12th in the world in the actual NHL too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This may be hard to believe, but there was a time not too long ago when Alex Tuch was a better virtual hockey player than he was a real one. It was a time when Tuch was leading the Boston College Eagles to the Frozen Four having been drafted 18th overall two years prior.

The time was 2016, when Alex Tuch, along with two fellow NHL prospects, ranked among the best players at EA Sports NHL 16.

Me and a few buddies in college, we were 12th in the world in online play. -Alex Tuch

Those buddies are Thatcher Demko, 36th overall pick in 2016 by Vancouver and starting goalie for the Utica Comets, and Austin Cangelosi, undrafted free agent currently in the New Jersey Devils system. They were two of the six top scorers and the starting goalie for one of the best NCAA hockey teams in the country, and they were even better on XBox.

Either one of us played or two of us played together. We worked our rank up and had about 400 games played. We would play when we had down time or didn’t have games. -Tuch

He doesn’t, however, attribute much of his video game success to his success on the real ice saying the video game doesn’t really teach much about the actual game. That being said, he did take at least one thing away from the hundreds of hours dominating nerds through the TV.

I had a breakaway in the game that I actually used last year. Backhand, forehand, backhand, it always worked in NHL (the video game) so I used it in a game. -Tuch

It’s what college kids do, play hockey, go to class, and play video games. -Tuch

And if you are Alex Tuch, you kick ass at all three. Well, at least two. I have no idea how he did in class, but frankly, who really cares when he’s putting up 30 points in his rookie season… in the real NHL.

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