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Golden Knights Are Excellent In Bounce-back Games

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We rarely see a dud of a game from the Golden Knights. Tuesday night in Carolina was the first time Vegas had trailed by more than three goals at any point in a game and it was the only game this season where the outcome had pretty much already been decided by the first minute of the final period.

Inside of a game, the Golden Knights are one of the league’s best at keeping games close. They are even better from game to game though, especially after a terrible game.

This year, Vegas has lost a game by at least three goals on five occasions with the most recent game being the fifth. The Golden Knights went on to win the next game on the schedule all four times this year.

Loss vs LAK 4-1 -> Win vs SJS 5-0
Loss at WSH 3-0 -> Win at MTL 6-5
Loss at PIT 3-0 -> Win at DAL 2-1 (OT)
Loss at BUF 5-2 -> Win vs OTT 6-3
Loss at CAR 6-3 -> ??? at TBL

This isn’t a new phenomenon for VGK either. They were blown out in three playoff games last year and went on to win the next game all three times.

Loss in Game 1 vs WPG 5-1 -> Win in Game 2 vs WPG 5-2
Loss in Game 2 vs EDM 5-1 -> Win in Game 3 at EDM 5-1
Loss in Game 4 at EDM 4-1 -> Win in Game 5 vs EDM 4-3

Vegas lost 11 times last year by at least three goals. They went on to win the next game six times and picked up points in nine. Thus, in the last 18 times the Golden Knights lost a game by at least three goals, they have won the next game 13 times and picked up at least one point in 16.

Not too shabby.

Golden Knights Dominance In Tie Games Skewing Expected Goals Numbers

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with the difference between the Golden Knights’ expected goals rate and the results they are achieving in spite of it. The longer it goes on this way, the more I think about it and the more I dig and dig trying to figure out what I’m missing.

If you aren’t aware of what I’m talking about, the Golden Knights are 12-3-2 in their last 17 games and they’ve outscored their opponents 57-46 in that span, yet NaturalStatTrick.com‘s expected goals stats have them trailing 48.7-60.9 over the same timeframe. That’s a difference of eight goals for and 15 goals against, or a 23 goal delta in just the last 17 games.

Over a small sample, we see numbers like this pop up all the time, but 17 games is pushing those boundaries. Vegas has been outscored in expected goals in 14 of the last 17, yet has come out on the right side of the real scoreboard in 10 of them. At some point, it can’t be a coincidence.

The latest data set I’ve turned to is trying to understand game state’s impact on the overall numbers. One of the constants in VGK’s recent run of success has been their ability to score first. They’ve done so in 13 of the 17 and they’ve won each of the last 10 in which they have. That’s led to Vegas being ahead on the scoreboard a lot. In fact, since February 19th, the Golden Knights have led for 477 of the 1041 minutes they’ve played. That’s 28 minutes per game or nearly half of every game.

Of course, that will have an impact on the expected goals numbers. When a team is ahead, especially a Bruce Cassidy-coached team, they are expected to play a little more conservatively while the other team pushes to tie the game back up. And, while ahead, the numbers do bear that out.

When leading, VGK have been outscored 23.1-32.3 in expected goals over the last 17 games. What’s weird though is that the actual goal total mimics those numbers almost perfectly. Vegas has scored exactly 23 times when leading and they’ve conceded 30. Thus, just 2.4 goals of the 23-goal difference in expected goals come when Vegas is ahead… which is more than 45% of the game!

When they are trailing, the numbers match up as well. In 211 minutes while behind, Vegas has been outscored 10-7 in real goals and 10.9-7.9 in expected goals. As the great Mike Goldberg used to say, virtually identical.

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Nine Minutes To Win It

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the Golden Knights head East, fans back in Las Vegas need to maneuver their days to be ready for hockey hours earlier than they are used to. It was especially important to be on time to watch them play on this recent road trip because it did not take long to get the action started.

In the final game of the road trip the Golden Knights scored the game’s first goal 8:34 into the 1st period, and that was the longest it took them in any of the previous four games. They went ahead in St. Louis at the 8:05 mark, struck quickly against Carolina at 4:03, and wasted absolutely no time getting on the board in Tampa, scoring just 27 seconds into the game.

These early goals helped the Golden Knights to run off a four-game stretch in which they did not trail for a single second of any game. They did, on multiple occasions, give up the early lead they had built, but were able to strike back in all four games.

Scoring early has been an important trend for the Golden Knights this season. They’ve notched a goal in the first nine minutes of 24 different games this season. In those games, they are 20-3-1. That means they are just 22-17-5 when they don’t.

On eight different occasions, Vegas has scored twice in the opening half of the 1st period. They are 8-0-0 in those games including wins over Boston, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Winnipeg, and Pittsburgh.

Early goals help to keep the Golden Knights from heading into the locker room at the end of 20 behind on the scoreboard. When VGK enter the 2nd period with a lead, they are 23-4-0 this year, when they are behind, they are 5-10-2.

The .294 points percentage when trailing after the 1st period ranks Vegas 14th in the league. All but one of the 13 teams ahead of the Golden Knights are currently in playoff position, while just three of the 18 behind Vegas are set to play beyond April 15th. On the flip side, VGK’s .852 points percentage when leading after the 1st is good for 5th best in the league, behind just Tampa, Boston, Seattle, and Minnesota.

Scoring early matters, a lot, for the Golden Knights. When they do it, they typically win, when they don’t, things get much more difficult.

First 15 vs. Last 15

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

The Golden Knights came out of the starting gates firing this season about as well as any team ever has. They were the first team to hit double-digits in wins en route to a 13-2-0 start, the best in franchise history.

Along the way, they were dominating games often scoring early and holding the lead the entire way. They averaged 3.8 goals per game while allowing just 2.3 and had the strongest goalie tandem in the league through the first month of the year.

All was looking great, until the next 15 games when the wagon started to hit a bumpy road.

In the last 15, the Golden Knights have won just seven and have dropped six games at T-Mobile Arena. The offense has dried up, especially at home, and they are allowing nearly a goal per game more than the first 15.

Here’s a look at all of the stats from the first 15 to the second.

First 15 GamesLast 15 Games
Record13-2-07-7-1
Points Percentage.867.500
Goals For5741
Goals Against3446
Power Play Percentage23.920.0
Penalty Kill Percentage73.574.4
Corsi*48.948.6
Shot Share52.549.8
Expected Goals For51.843.2
Expected Goals Against39.343.3
Expected Goals Share56.949.9
High Danger Chances For221179
High Danger Chances Against165168
Low Danger Chances For311367
Low Danger Chances Against411367
Shooting Percentage11.48.3
Save Percentage.925.903
PDO*103.999.0
*5-on-5 only

Unsurprisingly, almost every number across the board is down. From goals to shot share to expected goals to scoring chances, it’s clear the Golden Knights aren’t playing as well now as they were to begin the year.

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Best Road Trip Ever

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tonight in Buffalo the Golden Knights will put their eight-game winning streak on the line, trying to push one win closer to the franchise record of 10.

They’ll also attempt to do something they’ve never done before, sweep a 5+ game road trip.

The Golden Knights have taken six road trips of at least five games in their history. They’ve walked away with records ranging from an excellent 4-1-0 to a miserable 0-5-0. What they’ve never done is win all of the games, or even get points in all five of a road trip. Even on the longer trips, they’ve never had a five-game point streak inside of the six, seven, or eight-game trips they’ve taken.

Way back in early 2018, during the Golden Knights’ inaugural season, Vegas headed to New Jersey, Columbus, Detroit, Buffalo, and Philadelphia for a five-game span toward the end of the season. It started with a win against the Devils but was followed up by a poor 4-1 loss to the Blue Jackets. VGK went on to win the next three games bringing home eight points from the trip.

As of right now, only because the Golden Knights haven’t stepped foot on the ice tonight, that road trip still stands as the best in team history. Tonight, Vegas will at worst match it, and with a win or an OT loss, they can sweep a five-game trip for the first time ever.

There have been two instances in which the Golden Knights have swept four-game trips. Last year they went to Boston, New Jersey, and the two New Yorks and ripped through the four Eastern Conference teams. In the shortened season, Vegas took a quick trip down to Southern California where they beat the Kings and Ducks twice each.

A win would also push the Golden Knights to within one win of the team record for the longest road winning streak. With the win in San Jose before this trip, the streak currently sits at five. It’s one of just four times the Golden Knights have won five straight on the road. They’ve won six in a row twice and pushed one out to seven. That streak also came last year.

No matter what goes down tonight in Buffalo, this trip has been a massive success. But, if they win it, it’ll become an historic one.

Adidas Designer And Icethetics Share Abandoned Team Name, Logo, Jersey Concepts

As the Vegas Falcons prepare for their 6th season in the…

Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

As the Vegas Desert Knights prepare for….

Nope, still feels a bit off.

Six years ago now, a real discussion somewhat similar to this was being held in the conference rooms of the Fidelity National Investments building just off Summerlin Parkway. While the permanent home of the NHL’s 31st franchise was still under construction a team of designers from Adidas headed up by Jeff Eagles met and presented various team names, logos, fonts, colors, jerseys, and more with The Creator, George McPhee, and a few others representing what would eventually become the Vegas Golden Knights.

In a recent YouTube video from jersey fanatics, Icethetics, Jeff Eagles, the Adidas Design Director at the time, shared some of the early team names, logos, and jersey designs for the team that were eventually tweaked or abandoned completely.

The final three names that were presented to the team were Falcons, Desert Knights, and Golden Knights (Silver Knights was also considered as the NHL team name for a time).

Obviously, The Creator was stuck pretty strongly on Knights, so the majority of the logo create centered around Golden or Desert Knights.

Interestingly, a secondary logo seemed to have made it fairly far into the process and was consistently used in the late jersey mockups. It utilized the phrase found on  the Nevada state flag “Battle Born.”

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Vegas Golden Knights Offseason Primer

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Unfortunately, as the Stanley Cup Final rolls on, the Golden Knights have officially begun the offseason. With the 2021 season running into July due to the late start, this is as jam-packed an offseason as we’ve ever seen in the NHL. Here’s a primer of what’s coming up, when, and where the Golden Knights stand.

Free Agency

Typically on July 1st, free agency opens this summer on July 28th at 9 AM Pacific Time.

The Golden Knights currently have 42 players under contract with 18 of them on the NHL roster. Here is a list of those players with the number of years left on their contract in parentheses.

*Restricted free agent upon expiry (VGK remain rights)

Forwards
NHL: Mark Stone (6), Max Pacioretty (2), William Karlsson (6), Jonathan Marchessault (3), Reilly Smith (1), Alex Tuch (5), Chandler Stephenson (3), Ryan Reaves (1), William Carrier (3), Nic Roy (1*), Keegan Kolesar (1*)
Minors: Jack Dugan (1*), Pavel Dorofeyev (2*), Cody Glass (1*), Peyton Krebs (3*), Mason Primeau (3*), Maxim Marushev (2*), Jonas Rondbjerg (1*), Marcus Kallionkieli (3*), Jake Leschyshyn (1*), Lucas Elvenes (1*), Ben Jones (1*), Paul Cotter (2*)

Defensemen
NHL: Alex Pietrangelo (6), Shea Theodore (4), Brayden McNabb (1), Nick Holden (1), Nic Hague (1*), Zach Whitecloud (1*)
Minors: Layton Ahac (3*), Peter Diliberatore (2*), Daniil Miromanov (1*), Connor Corcoran (2*), Lukas Cormier (3*), Zack Hayes (2*), Kaedan Korczak (3*), Brayden Pachal (1*), Jake Bischoff (1)

Goalies
NHL: Marc-Andre Fleury (1), Robin Lehner (4)
Minors: Jiri Patera (2*), Logan Thompson (1*), Dylan Ferguson (1*)

The Golden Knights have just one restricted free agent. That is Dylan Coghlan. Coghlan played 29 NHL games this past season which means he is not eligible for a larger qualifying offer. The Golden Knights may extend him a one-year, two-way offer worth $750,000. Coghlan does not have arbitration rights this year.

This leaves seven players who played NHL games for the Golden Knights as unrestricted free agents this summer. They are Tomas Nosek, Mattias Janmark, Dylan Sikura, Patrick Brown, Tomas Jurco, Alec Martinez, and Oscar Dansk. The Golden Knights hold each of these players’ rights until July 28th at which point they become free to sign with any team.

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