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The Anatomy Of The First Shutout Of The Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It wasn’t just the fact that the Golden Knights recorded their first shutout of the season last night that should have Vegas fans excited about the performance, it’s the way they went about doing it.

Playing against one of the more potent offenses in the NHL, a Capitals team that had not been shutout all season prior to last night’s game, the Golden Knights put in a defensive effort reminiscent to the style of play that led them to last year’s Jennings Trophy.

We talked when we looked at this road trip, the message was very clear, if we weren’t prepared to defend and defend hard we weren’t going to give ourselves a chance to win in any of these four buildings. -Pete DeBoer

The Golden Knights entered the first game of this difficult road trip without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith, Jack Eichel, Alec Martinez, and Zach Whitecloud, so they knew they would have to play a detailed game to keep up with the Caps.

Not only did they keep up, they put in their best defensive game of the 2021-22 season holding a team that averages 3.2 goals a game scoreless. The main principal behind the Golden Knights’ game was simplicity.

They played a simple game with possession which led to a simpler game without it.

The Golden Knights were happy to dump the puck into the Washington zone and get in on the forecheck. They were not afraid to loft the puck out of the defensive zone rather than trying to start a break, and they had a commitment to backchecking that has been missing at times this season.

One of the best stats to indicate this from last night’s game was the giveaway/takeaway battle where the Golden Knights recorded 13 takeaways while giving away the puck just five times. It’s the most takeaways the Golden Knights have recorded in a road game this season and just two more takeaways that they’ve conceded in any game this year.

We got great contributions from just about everybody tonight. -DeBoer

The only real downfall in the game defensively was how often Vegas took penalties. They were called five times included twice within three seconds leading to massive amounts of time of the power play. That’s where the last aspect of the defense came into play, the goaltender.

Robin Lehner was excellent all night, but he was elite on the penalty kill. Lehner was called on multiple times during the nearly two minute 5-on-3 and he even ate an Alex Ovechkin shot that broke his mask.

Lehner ended the game stopping an impressive 3.82 goals above average with 1.44 of that coming in the 16 minutes when the game was played at anything other than even-strength.

All in all, this game was exactly what has been missing from the Golden Knights repertoire this season. Now, it’s time to replicate it.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 0 (25-15-2 52 PTS)

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CAROLINA HURRICANES 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (25-15-3 53 PTS) – OT

14 Comments

  1. THE hockey GOD

    someone got the message, this coach is keen to see
    the holes in the team and try to address them

    quote of the day

    ” Evil comes when the righteous path is so hidden, it just looks like there’s only one way out.”

    • THE hockey GOD

      And my Clark Gilles game worn jock strap came today…makes me feel all tingly in it…and the smell!

  2. Daryl

    How many teams do not have a shutout???

    • Pistol Pete

      Probably not many. I assume what you’re driving at is that VGK was one of the few and a SO was due. Forget the SO. What mattered here was the overall defensive effort including elite goaltending when it mattered.

      • Daryl

        I’m not “getting at” anything. Yes uts about time VGK had a shutout. And if you look at my posts in several of the previous articles I have stated that I thought VGK and RL works soon have a great game and a shutout. I was just wondering if any other team was still waiting for their shutout

  3. Tim

    Good start to the road trip can we make it 2 in a row? With our lineup it looks insurmountable but stranger things have happened.

  4. LVsc

    Diligent backchecking by Rondberg, Amadio, and Janmark was very noticeable. Amadio made a brilliant backchecking steal of the puck while a Caps player was shooting from high danger in the slot. and of course he scored the only goal on the night, too.

    Amadio should definitely be kept around, he has stickhandling ability as well. and he’s a versatile forward.

  5. Pistol Pete

    For the last 10 games VGK (5-3-2) has given up 2.5 goals per game, the Canes (7-2-1) have given up 3 goals per game.

    • Daryl

      They are also 7-2-1, as you mentioned. But more importantly, those numbers are a little skewed which is one of the reasons you can’t just go by stats. Canes only had 2 bad games in which they gave up 7 to NJD and 6 to CBJ. There is a difference between averaging GA over a period an GA over a small amount with 2 bad games.

      And let’s not forget n me of those bad games was with a goalie with his first ever NHL start

  6. So, let me just say that Robin Lehner played the best game that I have seen since he’s been a Golden Knight!

    Does this mean that he’s won me over?

    No

    But it is a good start.

    • Alex

      Getting hit in his bloated body by the puck due to incompetent shooting by the caps means dick…

      They kept the wrong goalie

  7. knights fan in minny

    tough one tonight see what the boys are made of

    • TS

      I like it when you call them boy…Im coming around to your hate filled ways towards blacks

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