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Golden Knights Dominance In Tie Games Skewing Expected Goals Numbers

(Photo Credit: 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‘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: 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,

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
Points Percentage.867.500
Goals For5741
Goals Against3446
Power Play Percentage23.920.0
Penalty Kill Percentage73.574.4
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
*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: 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: 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)

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*)

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)

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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Comparing the Remaining Schedules Of The West Division’s Two Top Dogs

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The stretch run is officially here.

The Golden Knights have just 10 games left in the regular season and despite their position atop the division in points, Vegas is still technically looking up at Colorado due to points percentage. The Avalanche missed a week due to COVID Protocols but they are back in action now and have a pair of games in hand on the Golden Knights.

Winning the West Division comes with a pretty hefty prize. Not only does it earn the winner home-ice advantage in the first two rounds, but it also means a matchup in the first round against a losing team as opposed to a decent Minnesota Wild team.

The simplest way the division will be determined is by either Vegas or Colorado sweeping the two games left between the top teams. Those games are both to be played at T-Mobile Arena with the first taking place this Wednesday and the second rescheduled to Monday, May 10th. If either team takes home all four points (especially if they don’t give up any in OT), that team will almost certainly win the division. But if they split, which the two teams have over the first six games, the rest of the schedule becomes interesting.

The Golden Knights have 10 games left while the Avalanche have 12. Both teams have just four home games left which means Colorado play eight on the road compared to Vegas’ six. (See full schedules below)

The biggest advantage for the Golden Knights is rest. Not only are they getting it in the near future with three consecutive off-days coming up after tonight’s game, but they also have just two back-to-backs compared to Colorado’s three.

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Regular Season Team Stats Compared After Year 3

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With the return to play format set and the league moving straight into the playoffs, the Golden Knights have now completed three NHL regular seasons. Here’s a statistical look at each season in relation to each other.

**Of course, because this season was 11 games short, stats are listed “per game” if necessary**

Points Percentage

2019-20: .606 (8th)
2018-19: .567 (16th)
2017-18: .665 (5th)

Goals For

2019-20: 3.12 (13th)
2018-19: 2.98 (13th)
2017-18: 3.23 (5th)

Goals Against

2019-20: 2.91 (13th)
2018-19: 2.76 (10th)
2017-18: 2.71 (8th)

Shots For

2019-20: 34.1 (1st)
2018-19: 34.1 (2nd)
2017-18: 32.3 (11th)

Shots Against

2019-20: 29.0 (2nd)
2018-19: 29.0 (5th)
2017-18: 30.4 (7th)

Power Play

2019-20: 21.99% (9th)
2018-19: 16.81% (25th)
2017-18: 21.37 (11th)

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Golden Knights Continuing To Step Up For Community

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It seems like every day either the organization or a player is announcing a new program or donation to support the Vegas community during these trying times. So much so that it’s hard to keep up.

So we wanted to take a moment to highlight each and every one of them and we’ll make sure to keep this article updated with any new initiatives or donations that are made in the future.

$1,000,000 to the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force

The Creator and Vegas Golden Knights Foundation have donated $1 million to the task force set up by Governor Sisolak and headed by former MGM CEO Jim Murren.

The money will be used to purchase necessary supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including surgical masks, N95-equivalent CDC-approved respirator masks, medical gloves, and medical gowns.

Support VGK part-time employees for all games missed

Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK players, and The Creator have committed a minimum of $500,000 to pay T-Mobile Arena employees for any games that are canceled.

This includes third-party vendors, service providers, food and beverage employees, retail associates, medical staff, event personnel, production and cleaning operations. Also the entire VGK Cast and Crew – including in-arena hosts, PA announcer, Vegas Vivas!, Golden Belles, Knights Guard, Knight Line, the dj, The Golden Knight, music director, camera operators, control room crew, Battle Wagon driver, Villain and Watchman – and the drivers of the ice resurfacers. Vegas Golden Knights interns who work game days across all the VGK business teams will also be assisted by these efforts. Also the 51/49 raffle staff.

These funds are expected to be paid when the NHL officially announces that games have been canceled as opposed to postponed.

7,500 meals to doctors, nurses and employees at local hospitals

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14 Best Regular Season Games In Vegas Golden Knights History

The Golden Knights made franchise history Saturday overcoming a three-goal deficit to come back and win for the first time. They did it against the defending Stanley Cup Champions and a team Vegas had lost four straight to, the St. Louis Blues.

It was certainly one of the most memorable regular season games in Golden Knights history, so we put a poll on Twitter to see how many would rank it atop the list.

Of course, posting it 20 minutes after the game ends leads to a bit of recency bias, so I decided to go back through the record books and look for the best regular season games the Golden Knights have ever won. Here are the 14 I came up with.

14 – December 8th, 2017 – at Nashville

The first half of the first-ever Dad’s Trip started out well for the Golden Knights as they took a 2 goal lead. With Malcolm Subban in net against his big brother PK, Vegas surrendered three straight sending them into the final minute down a goal. With the goalie pulled, Erik Haula netted the game-tying goal to send the game to OT and eventually shootout. Subban stopped six shootout attempts to help seal one of the most impressive road victories in franchise history.

13 – January 2nd, 2020 – vs Philadelphia

Things got off to a poor start as Philadelphia spent a majority of the first 10 minutes in the Vegas zone, scoring once, but the tide turned in a hurry quickly after. The Golden Knights scored four 1st period goals to head to intermission at 4-2. Fleury stopped a penalty shot, Jon Merrill scored while playing forward, and Pacioretty scored twice. The game got really interesting at the end as a pair of penalties forced the Golden Knights to kill off a 5-on-3 in the dying seconds of the game. Brayden McNabb played penalty kill hero and the Golden Knights sealed their 3rd straight win of the homestand.

12 – December 14th, 2017 – vs Pittsburgh

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

At the time, it wasn’t a guarantee that Marc-Andre Fleury would even be available for the first time his new team would face his old one. He was able to return from injury one game before and made the emotional start against the Penguins. The crowd was fairly close to 50/50 but everyone was cheering for the Golden Knights goalie. A late Jon Merrill goal won the game for Vegas and Fleury allowed just one goal to beat the Penguins.

11 – October 21st, 2017 – vs St. Louis

The Golden Knights were rolling on the team’s first homestand despite losing Fleury a few games earlier. This was a tight game throughout and Vegas used two power play goals to take a 2-1 lead. Then, Malcolm Subban injured his knee and Oscar Dansk was forced to come in and make his NHL debut. One of the first shots he saw tied the game and it appeared it was only a matter of time that St. Louis would put another by him and win the game. But in OT, William Karlsson’s first goal of the year won it for the Golden Knights and the magical run to start the inaugural season continued.

10 – February 28th, 2019 – vs Florida

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In terms of entertainment, it doesn’t get much better than a game with 10 goals and is decided in shootout. Vegas fell behind 3-1 after allowing two power play goals to Mike Hoffman. The next three goals went to the Golden Knights to give Vegas a 4-3 lead. Florida took a 5-4 lead late into the 3rd but former Panther Reilly Smith tied it up with a shot that fluttered past the goalie and into the net. The shootout was a goalie battle as Fleury stopped all three and Theodore tallied the game winner. It was also Mark Stone’s second game as a Golden Knight

9 – October 2nd, 2019 – vs San Jose

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If the Golden Knight fan base ever needed a regular season victory, it was this one. After the nightmare that was Game 7 ending the previous season, the pent up anger from the summer all came out on Opening Night. Like seemingly every Sharks/Golden Knights game, Vegas scored in the first five minutes, and then again in the first 10 but it wasn’t a cakewalk as San Jose cut the 2-0 to 2-1 in the 1st. It was Cody Glass’ first career goal in his first career game that gave Vegas the cushion they needed. The only thing this game was missing was an Evander Kane ejection, but that’s only because that happened a few nights earlier when the two teams met in the preseason leading to Kane being suspended for the first three games of the year.

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