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Uncharacteristic Defensive Lapses Haunting VGK To Start Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Pick a stat, any stat really, and it’ll paint an ugly picture of how poor the Golden Knights have been defensively through three games. It’s something that’s been out of the norm for the Golden Knights as a franchise and even more so since Pete DeBoer took over 21 months ago.

Many will point to the guy standing between the pipe simply because the name on his back does not roughly translate to Flower, but the reality is the Golden Knights have gotten above average, bordering on great, goaltending through three games.

The problems lie with the skaters in front of Robin Lehner. It’s not just the six playing defense though, it’s the entire group of 18, albeit a different group so far in each of the first three games.

We gave up probably 10 Grade A chances in the 1st period which should be the number for the entire game. We’re not going to win games playing like that. -Reilly Smith

It’s a small sample size of just three games, but the Golden Knights lead the league on a per-game basis in shots against, scoring chances allowed, and high danger chances allowed. They are second in shot attempts conceded and expected goals against, and they are in the top 10 in literally every other negative category NHL stats keep.

It’s essentially the same group that led the league in goals against last year so I know we can defend and I know we can defend better than we have, it’s just getting to it… This isn’t a symptom that this group has been dragging around for three or four years. We’ve been a real tight defensive team and we’ll get back to it. -Pete DeBoer

DeBoer did express some level of concern especially considering the fact they know they’ll be without their two top-scorers for the foreseeable future.

The issues have been all over the map to this point. The opener was a scrambly-type game, which was expected playing against an expansion team in their first-ever game. The Kings game in LA was a simple case of being slow on pucks. It led to constant breakdowns which saw the Kings pile up chances. Last night the effort and speed of play were much better but a myriad of problems led to St. Louis scoring chances.

I thought early in the game some of our coverages were a little loose around the net. Then the rest of the game it was essentially turnovers. -DeBoer

In the 1st period, the Golden Knights allowed eight high-danger chances according to NaturalStatTrick.com. When I re-watched the game, I counted 10 separate instances where the Golden Knights experienced a breakdown that led to a dangerous scoring chance for St. Louis.

Of those 10, there were nine different Golden Knights at fault with the issues ranging from puck-watching to physical mistakes to overly aggressive play to poor skating.

It’s a little bit that time of year. If you look around the league there’s a lot of sloppy hockey being played. -DeBoer

While DeBoer certainly has a point to see players like Smith, Karlsson, Theodore, and McNabb making mistakes is alarming.

After it became clear they’d be without Pacioretty and Stone, the Golden Knights basically to a man admitted they needed to ramp up their game in the defensive zone. One game in, they were far from successful.

This team deserves the benefit of the doubt because as DeBoer said, they did win the Jennings Trophy last year. So, it’s not time to panic, but there’s been plenty of evidence to give cause for concern. It must improve and quickly, otherwise, the Golden Knights are going to start digging themselves into a hole even they may not be able to get out of.

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51 Comments

  1. Walt23

    The coaches’ style of play of the Vgk d corps is a big problem right now.

    They said they want them to do MORE on offense with the top forwards injured, both in DeBoer’s comments the other day, and echoed by Spott in the pregame interview on radio with D’uva. —– but that just leads to more turnovers and breakaways like last night.

    No, especially when you have your top forwards out, you need to tighten up DEFENSIVELY.

    after all, they are called DEFENSEmen, not OFFENSEmen, eh DeBoer?

    the current mantra to the dmen, and the team as a whole, should be no pinches, no gambles, no breakaways, no 2-on-1’s, no odd man rushes against, no neutral zone cross ice passes.

    Make the opponents shoot everything from the perimeter under close checking pressure, and then clear the rebounds. Trying to win every night 1-0 would be the proper mindset. Turn it into Demko type hockey. Use what works against you, for you instead.

    the Vgk were the top team last season in fewest goals allowed. They need to get back to THAT style of play to succeed. Quit trying to make McNabb etc into Bobby Orr.

  2. Michaela

    I’m very eager to see how PDB is going to coach the way out of this!!

  3. Herby

    2nd, 3rd and 4th line have no chemistry yet. Very scary. Without Pacioretty and Stone VGK basically plays with 1 line that can score. I would bring Baertschi and Miromanov up. Miromanov is red hot and Bartschi can score. He had a top 6 role in Vancouver before his concussions.

  4. Richard Santomauro

    Wow Ken. Just crack open this can of worms and spill it out all over the clean carpet why don’t ya!!!!

    It’s a complete cluster phuck because Pete DeBoering has near zero ability to adjust to conditions. Sure, he can rack and stack a roster but beyond that we’ve seen zero improvement, zero team chemistry with the bottom 6, and no thought given to the fact that the team has to play more defensively with the top line in tatters.

    And please, Ken, please let’s not use terms like “great goal tending”. Last night the Walrus did a fantastic job throughout. Was it great? No, Binnington was great. The Walrus was Very Good given that the team in front of him played horribly.

    For me, I want to see more out of Nolan Patrick, Dadanov and Howden. These three were supposed to provide that missing spark. Well, that spark has been a complete dud thus far.

    It’s too early to start looking at a rebuild, but so far I have seen little promise and no improvement whatsoever. And let’s not blame it on injuries to our top line. The goal was to bring more depth, more forward scoring threat. That goal remains 100% unrealized.

    • THE hockey GOD

      another one jumping off band wagon, three games into season.

      • THE hockey GOD

        “Binnington was great” was that PDB and FO fault , too ?

        • Richard Santomauro

          Of course not, mentioning Binnington being great was just to compare his play against the Walrus overall, not just in this game but overall.

        • Daryl

          We all know when it comes to you it’s NEVER the FO’s fault nor PDB’s fault…

      • Richard Santomauro

        ThG –

        Sure, it’s just 3 games. But, we’ve seen absolutely nothing positive at this point and the power play remains dead (0-7).

        Additionally, whoever said I was on the “bandwagon”? I am a VGK fan, that’s true. But I have never been on the VGK McCrimmon, DeBoering, Walrus wagon and won’t be unless they take us as deep or deeper into the playoffs (Cup!). Everyone keeps saying all of these moves are about one thing and one thing only, BRINGING A CUP TO VEGAS. Well then, that’s exactly where the bar is set.

        • THE hockey GOD

          game one was positive
          game three was winnable (until no. 7 threw it away, and they hit three posts and missed several open nets)
          only game two was bad, very bad.

          • Daryl

            They didn’t look good in game 1 and were lucky to win. STL missed just as many opportunities as VGK did so that isn’t excuse. The only positive I saw was RL in game 3

            And sorry, hitting to post isn’t even a shot in goal, might as well of shit the puck over the glass

  5. Walt23

    VGK motto should be —— “there is nothing de-boring about 1-0 victories every night”

  6. 3 on zero breakaway is unbelievable – that’s goal # 2 for blues – talk about defensive laspes and Spott apparently hasn’t resolved tha PP with or without Stone and Patch. Maybe this team is incapable of playing g Deboer style of hockey as they are constantly out of position – seems to be something that should be considered- old dogs new tricks maybe just doesn’t work here.

  7. THE hockey GOD

    completely ignores the rebound in play from Kings game, two goal posts and one cross bar hit.

    bunch of jumpers here posting today.

    • Richard Santomauro

      Hitting the post is nothing new to VGK. They’ve been hitting 2 or 3 per game now for the past year. When you do, it’s not even counted as a shot on goal. It’s a meaningless stat. Might as well have missed the goal by 10 feet.

      It’s meaningless.

    • Thg – no jumpers just realists – they haven’t figured out yet the season has started. Just one excuse after another gets pretty old.

    • Daryl

      Completely ignore the multiple of open net shots that STL took which completely missed the net. Have you ever though that if the pucks being shot by VGK were a couple inches inside of the posts that the goalie would have made the saves??? Of course not!!!

      • THE hockey GOD

        nope, VGK missed too and VGK rushed the blues players causing them to miss

        so that comment is really not valid.

        • Daryl

          How delusional are you… So STL missed shots because of VGK pressure, but STL had no pressure on VGK shooters? That makes VGK look even worse Remember, hitting the post isn’t even a shot in goal. I guess you missed Perrom mishandling the pass to the right of RL as he was out of position leaving a wide open net?

          Talk about Comments being invalid, that is about every one of your Comments

  8. THE hockey GOD

    Jesse Granger
    @JesseGranger_
    ·
    1h
    The Golden Knights have recalled Daniil Miromanov from the AHL.

    • Richard Santomauro

      Now we’re talking. This is the ONLY new player in preseason who seemed to have a complete game to bring the NHL. The others all have gaps in development.

      This will be interesting against an Oiler team that is undefeated.

      • THE hockey GOD

        they have three or is it four more Russians in the system, and all of them have been looking good. Including the ones in Russian, I forget if they have one or two playing in Russia now. The center in Russia is picking it up and wants to get over to Vegas.

    • Tim

      Miromanov being called up must mean Martinez is out the question is will they start Miromanov or Coghlan probably Coghlan which diminishes the reason to bring up Miromanov so he’ll have to wait until someone else gets hurt. I still say nothing to lose bringing up Pavel Dorofeyev and you may be surprised at least he knows where the net is we have to many players who couldn’t hit an open net and first name that pops in my head is Kolesar.

  9. Alex

    They stink and now tix can be had for 35 bucks….FO and giving away heart and soul of the club has ruined them

  10. Blitz

    I am not that disappointed in the game last night. I expected a bad game from a decimated team that hasn’t looked even average this season, but I was actually surprised and it was a close game until late. For me its about entertainment and I was still hopeful for a win until almost the very end. I appreciated the energy. I thought they worked hard all game. I am an anti-panda fan, but I thought he was great and kept this team in the game. He was the reason it wasn’t over in the first. Credit where credit is due.

    Sucks we didn’t get the win. To be that close. We need some luck to get some points out of this stretch. I was hoping for at least a OT point. Next up the red hot oilers…ugh.

    The bad: scheme scheme scheme. Whatever changes done in the off season schematically were a bad idea. Vets can’t even get the gist of it. Not sure why we expect the kids and new players to jump in and get the gist. Deboer hockey has worn thin on me. They didn’t fix the scoring, the scoring chances, the power play, or even give illusion that there is some form of offense outside of dmen rushing forward, but they did give up the one thing that made this team great, the defense.

    79 games left.

    • THE hockey GOD

      you and pete had the most positive posts.
      Pete said we had 1 -4 start in season two, does any one remember?

      I said “the north remembers”

      • Blitz

        Whenever I am accused of the most positive post I know everyone else is out of touch. LOL I do have to say I think this is the year vgk becomes average maybe even bad. Turk was in a minor struggle and got fired. Deboer has now turned this team into the sharks, the later years.

  11. Tim

    Ken off topic kind of but a thought. Were down 2-1 with a little over 2 minutes to go we pull our goalie why. We haven’t made a PP forever but magically pulling the goalie gives us a chance. I’d rather be 2-1 with 2 minutes to go and leave our goalie in net and play 5 on 5 possibility to score possibility of getting a penalty but pulling goalie a pretty good chance of giving up an empty net goal. Ken your a stat man i’d like to know last year in the NHL how many goals were scored for the team that pulled there goalie I’ll bet not many. Just because everyone else does it why do we I don’t really see the advantage. In any sport you need to be creative don’t be a follower just because they say that’s the best way. Again check the stats and it will tell if I’m rights or conventional thinking is right. I’ve played and coached baseball all my life and I was always innovative every game every situation is different and if you don’t adjust your just another has been and won’t be around long.

    • THE hockey GOD

      @tim they pulled the goalie in wrong situation, before a face off. You normally pull a goal when you have clear possession of the puck. Plus they pulled goalie way too soon. This seems to be going trend in league, but its just plain stupid. If you are puck control team, I don’t have an issue with it. But VGK are NOT a puck control team. 81, 51, 2, 14, 3, give up the puck, and 7, more often than not. Only line with some semblance of puck control is misfit line. The rest are dump and chase.

  12. Pete Turner

    Despite having unfamiliar names in our lineup i.e. Leschysyn, Dadanov, Howden, Patrick and even Krebs, I thought the team did decently against a Blues team that just 2 days ago put 7 goals past the Coyotes. That being said, yes defense is a problem. Theodore and McNabb were sub-par and had a bad game, injuries not withstanding. That made Martinez and Petro pick up the slack.

    Everyone who criticized Martinez for that tripping penalty don’t know who Brandon Saad is. That man child is a 2 time Stanley cup first liner for the Blackhawks who also happened to have equalized the game for STL and if Martinez didn’t stop him, we would have conceded another goal. That was a good penalty to take. Petro on the other hand had a total meltdown when his pass got intercepted for that 3 on nobody turnover that resulted in the Tarasenko goal. Did you not see what happened after that? Petro went after Tarasenko after the russian mocked him for a “great pass”.

    As a fan, and the only way to be a true fan of VGK at this time IMHO, is to go to every game without expectations. Forget about comparing the team to the same VGK team last 5 seasons. This is a new roster, we have a new starting goalie, PDB will have to adjust his scheme or “process” or whatever he calls it, because whatever it is right now, isn’t working. Going thru’ the taxi cab squad at this point is basically doing pre-season experimentation again. Auditions are over. We either have a roster or we don’t. I’m not blaming the players. They did as they were coached. Losing 3-1 to a team like STL despite 5 days off is a bad beat but like everyone is saying. It’s just the 3rd game of the season. Better coaching next time.

    Remember to watch the Edmonton game with no expectations of winning. It would be nice if we did but let’s be realistic about our chances. That’s the only way to enjoy the game.

  13. Daryl

    RL played a great game last night… I was impressed. I know he can play like that, we just don’t see it often. Before that game, he was only average. He couldn’t control rebounds which led to goals. Last night he made a great save and kicked the puck almost out to the blueline. He needs to be able to do that more often.

    Anyway, I don’t put the blame on him for the loss. Our defense (as a unit) was horrible. Even though we didn’t give up a PP goal, our PK team let them skate in unobstructed almost every time. STL either made a stupid pass or simply missed the net when they shot the puck.

    STL’s offense basically looked like VGK from the past two season… they shot the puck directly into the chest of RL. They made a couple cross ice passes which were great set-ups, but STL players just couldn’t handle the passes to shoot them otherwise the game could have been much worse

  14. let's go McCrimmon

    Bill Foley once said that he reads the comments here on SinBin.

    Hey Bill, how about the least you could do is fire Spott for starters. He is responsible for the PP, and it has been a disaster for a couple years that cost the Knights dearly in the playoffs, and cost you lots of money for more playoff games not played due to losing because of the horrible PP.

    where does the buck stop? if a player was costing the Vgk games every night, he would be sent down, but Spott gets special treatment? he is above accountability? what gives, Bill?

    Time to start cleaning out PDB’s Shark buddies. Time for some accountability.

  15. vgk21

    here’s my comment from 4 days ago. I’m glad they are listening 🙂

    vgk21
    Miromanov should be called up. Not only can he score, but he also can play either D or wing, and he can play on special teams too, so he would be invaluable with all the guys out injured.

    OCTOBER 17, 2021

  16. Pistol Pete

    Does anyone recall season 2, the 1-4 start including losing the home opener and not getting above 500 for good until around game 26?

    I know, Schmidt was served a 20 game suspension, but still.

  17. THE hockey GOD

    golden knights twitter feed

    Movie camera Miromanov on Dadonov: He’s a legend back home from the KHL. Everybody knows him and it’s an honor to be on the same team as him.

    Gordie Howe was a legend when he played for the Whalers.
    Bobby Orr was a legend when he played for Black Hawks.
    Wayne Gretzki (btw he is doing a bang up job on TNT as analyst
    in between periods, almost as good as Barry Melrose) was a legend
    when he played for the NY Rangers.

    The team is down three of it’s best players, and three more players coming
    off IR. Had four new players in the line up. And the wheels all of sudden come
    flying off the band wagon.
    It is the end of the world as we know it.
    The seas are rising due to global cooling, I mean warming,opps. I mean climate change. Opps local “temperature aberrations ” .
    Everyone is chanting let’s go Brandon.
    The sky is falling.
    Chickens are growing three feet.
    You don’t tug on superman’s cape
    you don’t spit in to the wind
    and you don’t mess around with Jim.
    Calm down people. Stop hyperventilating.

  18. DC

    Apparently the Force is not strong with those chrome dome helmets. But Phasma would be proud.

  19. Vic

    Random things….
    *Pitt has numerous injuries and their record is 2-0-2.
    *TB lost their top scorer 2-2-0.
    *Montreal has no Price and defense looks horrible 0-5-0.
    *Avs a bit screwed up with early injuries and no Grubauer 1-3-0.
    What does all of that mean…..who cares?
    *Tuch injury was the back breaker, and if Doctor Vinny Boombatz doesn’t operate on #67, #61 or #23 we should be ok.
    *Tonight for the first time since the arrival in Las Vegas of the VGK, there was hockey on Cox channels 49 and 50 (stations now called Bally something or other). 49 had the Panthers game and 50 had the Ducks. Was it a one night mistake or does this have something to do with ESPN replacing NBC?

    • THE hockey GOD

      i think it has a lot to do with ESPN family, TNT also showed the games.

  20. Vlad

    Mcrimmonn has torn the heart out of this team, cut its legs off and pulled off its arms…. Other than that he’s got it dialed right in

    De bore needs to play kerbs 30 minutes a game. With all the shots and goals he gets ….oops! I mean all those giveaways, turn overs and lack of shots…. But like de bore says. “It’s the process that matters not the wins”

  21. Vlad

    Stone and pac injuries have saved the coaches and gm’s ass. They will ride that horse till it drops

    Ever since mcrimmon started dismantling what worked things have been unravelling like a ball of yarn rolling downhill.

    But what do you expect from a junior whl coach turned nhl gm…. Laughable

    • Richard Santomauro

      I will be in my STH seats this evening as the Oilers come in licking their chops for another 2 points. Out team is on its heels and licking its wounds right now.

      It’s telling that we lose two players and this lack of talented forward depth is showing just how bad this FO is.

      Prove me wrong McIdiot, prove me wrong DeBoering. You have a big opportunity tonight for the wonder boys picked up in the off season for the sacrifice of Fleury and others to show up and put up a big crooked number.

      I will be cheering them on because I am a fan of this team, but I want more than just the outstanding pre-game show! This team has been gutted and remade into something else. What that something else is remains to be seen.

      Tonight, one way or the other, will be another step in clarifying both the direction and the decisions made.

    • THE hockey GOD

      @vlad, HELLO Stone and PATCHES are their best players. WAKE UP, negative nelly.

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