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The Second Line That Saved Christmas

It took a little while to get going, but Alex Tuch, Max Pacioretty, and Cody Eakin are on fire now. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the holiday season began, Vegas Golden Knights fans didn’t have much to be thankful for, or so it seemed.

On Halloween, things were starting to get scary. Vegas was 5-6-1, with only 11 points and five spots out of the playoffs. Early season trends were beginning to look like the worst could come true. Remember the panic on November 1st?

NHL teams four or more points out of a playoff spot by 11/01, have roughly an 18% chance of making the postseason. Since 2005-06, 47 of 58 teams that were 4+ points out of the postseason spot by November 1st, missed the playoffs. That’s a whopping 82% of teams that their fate was determined by the beginning of November. –SinBin.vegas article on 11/05/18

And then came the East Coast trip that brutalized the Golden Knights. Vegas lost three of four on the road and came back home in seventh place in the division. Ken was losing his mind, many fans were on board with him, and legitimate concern was starting to creep in that maybe this team just isn’t that good.

Things looked bleak. Up until the second line began to warm up.

November 14: Vegas 5-0 vs Anaheim

  • Second line w/ 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists)
  • Eakin: Even-strength goal, Shorthanded goal
  • Tuch scores 1st Period Game-winning PP goal
  • Pacioretty assists Tuch’s GWG

November 18: Vegas 6-3 at Edmonton

  • Second line w/ 3 points (2 goals, 1 Assist)
  • Eakin scored shorthanded goal
  • Pacioretty with second period Go-ahead goal
  • Tuch assists Pacioretty’s Go-ahead goal

November 19: Vegas 3-2 @ Arizona

  • Second line w/ 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists)
  • Pacioretty scored 2nd Period Go-ahead goal, and OT winner
  • Tuch and Eakin assist Pacioretty’s Go-ahead goal

November 23: Vegas 2-0 vs. Calgary

  • Second line w/ 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists)
  • Tuch scored 1st Period Game-wining goal
  • Eakin and Pacioretty assist on Tuch’s GWG

November 24: Vegas 6-0 vs San Jose

  • Second line w/ 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist)
  • Pacioretty scored two goals(Even, PP)
  • Tuch scored even goal

November 27: Vegas 8-3 at Chicago

  • Second line w/ 7 points(3 goals, 4 assists)
  • Eakin scores two goals
  • Pacioretty assists on both Eakin goals
  • Tuch scores unassisted 1st Period goal

November 29: Vegas 4-3 at Vancouver

  • Second line w/ 4 points(2 goals, 2 assists)
  • Pacioretty scored two goals
  • Eakin and Tuch assist on Pacioretty’s 2nd Period goal

In Vegas’ past seven victories, the sizzling second line has combined for 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists), averaging two goals per game and four points per game. Plus, since they were put together, they’ve been on the ice for 10 goals for and just five against.

Finally, Golden Knights fans were able to enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey, and leave room for shark fin soup.

During this holiday winning stretch, Pacioretty raised his goal total from two to ten. Tuch has gone from nine to nineteen points, and Eakin continues his hot pace with a combined 17 points. Pacioretty is aiming for 30 goals, and the other two second-liners are on pace to set career highs.

But most importantly, since the second line’s consistency over the past 15 days, Vegas went from being a basement dwellar to a team tied for second place in the Pacific Division. Mostly because of their dominance over said Pacific Division.

As November comes to an end, Vegas fans can enjoy the holiday season and stop panicking about their once floundering hockey club. The season is officially back on track.

And kids, if for some reason Santa Claus can’t score that gift you really want, don’t worry, Cody, Alex and Max will deliver.

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2 Comments

  1. Vgk4life

    2nd line has been successful because they’re much bigger stronger guys than our first line. The same forecheck that shuts down Smith Marchessault and wild Bill doesn’t quite work w Tuch and Patches pushing. Eakin is a Swiss army knife player and adapts to the play regardless. Glad to see some chemistry coming forward.

    • Vgk4life

      With that being said, it’s the same reason why our 4th line has been so effective. They don’t get hung up with the stick checks and bodies thrown at them.

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