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Vegas Needs Consistency To Manage Challenging Schedule

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Overall, it wasn’t a great weekend for the Golden Knights. They were unable to secure more than three points on their three-game road trip. The Kings, Predators, and Stars all won games as well. Time is running out. So, after an unrewarding weekend the Golden Knights need to quickly find consistency in their game and will need a little luck along the way as well.

Let’s start off positive. The Golden Knights play the 26-42-7 New Jersey Devils tonight at home. NHL computer models predict Vegas will defeat New Jersey fairly easily, so tack on two points to their total. That places them with 89 points, one point behind LA, and two behind Dallas and Nashville. With five games left that keeps Vegas in the hunt. At this late stage of the season that’s all you can really ask for.

We knew we weren’t going to run the table. We talked about that two weeks ago. We were going to drop some points along the way. We’re still right in the thick of things. -Pete DeBoer

After tonight’s game against the Devils, the Golden Knights schedule becomes more demanding. On paper, Vegas has the lineup to win out. Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty’s legs and lungs are building back to form. Thinking optimistically, if they contribute in all remaining games the Golden Knights can win most, if not all.

We’ve got to find a way to score goals in these tough games. In tight, especially. Teams are going to really tighten up in the D-zone here moving forward so we’ve got to find a way to bear down up front. -Alex Pietrangelo

When you break down the rest of Vegas’ schedule there are games they should win and games they could win. It’s fair to give the Golden Knights the edge against the Devils, Sharks, and Blackhawks. Potentially, Vegas will have to worry about a motivated San Jose team who would love to play the spoiler role. Then again, the Sharks have a lifetime record of 4-15-3 versus the Golden Knights.

VGK’s Record vs. Remaining Non-Playoff Opponents

Blackhawks: 2 Points 1-1-0
Devils: 2 Points 1-0-0
Sharks: 4 Points 2-0-0

There’s a debate as to who’s the favorite in Vegas’ other three matchups. What will be the Washington Capitals approach to a late season, non-conference road game having clinched a playoff berth already? The game is relatively meaningless for Washington and only care about staying healthy for their projected first round matchup with the Florida Panthers. It’s possible Washington has a soft spot for T-Mobile Arena and decides to play like a Stanley Cup champion on Wednesday night. It’s also possible they take advantage of a trip to Las Vegas and hockey is secondary for a night.

There’s no question Vegas’ game in Dallas will be a challenge. It’ll be like a sixty minute playoff series and might be the most entertaining game of the season. That leaves St. Louis. The Blues have qualified for the postseason and it’s their final regular season game as well. St. Louis GM tipped his hat on what type of effort his team will give.

You see a hard charging Vegas team. If they get in, that doesn’t seem like a great reward for finishing first or second to play Vegas in the first round. -Doug Armstrong, Blues GM

Now it’s time to come back to earth. To win all six remaining games Vegas will have to be flawless. Coach Pete DeBoer will need his team to execute the best hockey they’ve played since the 2021 second round series against Colorado. That’s a steep climb.

In order to get successful results the Golden Knights will not only need consistent high-level performances but they’ll need the Kings to drop a few. In LA, they’re quite aware of their situation and they feel the Vegas nipping at their heels.

We’re not a high-scoring team. We’re comfortable in one-score games, tight games. It felt like we were playing the type of game we needed to play. -Todd McLellan, Kings coach

Most likely it’ll come down to the two paths Vegas and LA are on. Each have a back-to-back remaining on their schedules and it may come down to which handles it better. Will Robin Lehner be healthy enough to play in one or will Logan Thompson start both? Those decisions could be the difference between one point in, or one point out.

There’s no doubting it’s stressful but even VGK fans will have to admit it’s been exciting watching meaningful hockey this late in the season. As long as there’s meaningful hockey in May.

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78 Comments

  1. Jeffrey

    The Predators schedule is BRUTAL. Our best chance is if they only win another 3 and we run the table.

    • John W

      Nashville going even 3-3 could be tough. 5 of their 6 games are tough!

      2 against Calgary
      1 against Tampa Bay
      1 against Colorado
      1 against Minnesota.

      Watch them closely

      • the hockey god

        yes i posted on this a couple of weeks ago, smashville is a dirty team and has toughest schedule of those in contention. Next to VGK. LAK has one of easiest.

  2. Henderson One

    Nothing like counting your chickens before they are hatched. VGK has not shown consistency in beating the bottom dwellers. Season should not have come down to a few regular season ending games. Interesting to see that Gallant has the Rangers in the playoffs.

    • Barbara Maxwell

      Let’s give DeBoer the Rangers team and give Gallant the Knights for this season and see who has the most success. I’m betting on PDB without the plethora of major injuries

      • Blitz

        It’s the second time in not too many years Gallant has taken a losing team and built it into a winning team. PDB is exactly the opposite and has a track record of riding teams to their death. Injuries my ass, where the f is the power play and even regular scoring gone, not just this year, but every year since he *stole* this juggernaut from Gallant.

        • the hockey God

          @ Blitz, Rangers were in a re build and expected to be a lot better this year despite who they hired as coach.

          • Daryl

            Did he or did he not improve that team… More excuses!!!

      • Daryl

        That’s a great what-if that NEVER could be proven. And basically it’s nothing more than your opinion with no factual basis behind it

  3. Daryl

    I read in bleacher report that Smith will be available at some point in the playoffs if VGK makes it…. Well no sh!t considering they don’t have Cao room before the playoffs. That tells me he would be available first game of playoffs. I haven’t looked up the numbers but if Dadanov trade went thru, I’m willing to bet Smith would be playing today.

    This just shows that VGK was trying to use the current system to stack the team for the playoffs. I’m not blaming them, it’s a the fault of the NHL for having that loophole, but UT does show what they are doing or trying to do

    • I agree with your comments. But we were lucky the trade didn’t go through we would probably have 4 less points right now.

    • Mike StG

      Daryl, you’ve got it backwards. If Vegas was “trying to stack the team for the playoffs” they would NOT have tried to trade Dadonov away. The only move that put them over the cap was the Eichel trade very early in the season.

      That wasn’t done to stack the team, it was done because he became available from Buffalo after the season began. And it’s a long term decision, to bring in an elite center that they surely would never get in the foreseeable future via the entry draft (given they’re not a lottery team).

      • Daryl

        I’m not saying VGK made this attempt from the start… I think it just turned into it. And again, I don’t blame them. Trading Dadanov was the only way they could get Stone back. And uts a little odd that after that fell thru, 3 players at the exact right amount went on LTIR in order for Stone to play. There are no other moves that could e made att his point to get any other player available. And when pressed about Smith, PDB said if VGK makes the playoffs Smith would be ready

  4. Tim

    Watching the Edmonton game when you think about it 60 minutes of hockey two 20 minute breaks and to end up with zero points. Believe me Vegas is used to a little more action then that.

  5. the hockey god

    what position does consistency play ? Goalie or defense ?

  6. the hockey god

    VGK will win again once no. 81 cuts his long girly boy hair.

    that is fact, you can take it to the bank.

  7. Mike StG

    I usually lean optimistic, but they are done. The loss to EDM combined with LAK, DAL and NSH wins over the weekend put the final nail in the coffin.

    LA faces no playoff teams in their final 5, Vegas faces 3, and NSH has 5 but are up 4 pts and have the tiebreaker. Also, can’t see Avs really trying that hard to knock NSH out in the Preds’ Game 81 just to help Vegas get in as their WC#2 opponent. DAL has 2 games against playoff teams remaining (not including Vegas) and are up 4 pts plus have a game in hand. VGK’s realistic chances (not betting odds) are probably less than 10% and you’d have to be a complete Homer to imagine or believe they’ll make it.

    Hope the boys have a nice summer to think about next year’s possibilities and come back with a renewed commitment.

  8. You really believe this team has a chance to win anything??? There are 3 things that will keep them from ever winning now and 1 thing that will keep them winning The Stanley Cup forever…

    Now:

    GM
    Head Coach
    Robin Let her

    Forever:

    THE CURSE OF THE F’ED OVER SEASON 1 SEASON TICKET HOLDERS!

    This team and organization has everything to be great… ORGANIZATIONAL GREED AND ARROGANCE ALONG WITH GM PISS POOR DECISIONS HAS DESTROYED THIS TEAM FOR THE DISTANT FUTURE!

    WHEN YOU BACKSTAB YOUR FANS AND YOUR PLAYERS… YOU LOSE THEM UNTIL CHANGES ARE MADE… EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS CONTROLLING AND GREEDY ORGANIZATION IS DISGUSTING.

    • Blitz

      Not really a curse kind of guy, but I must say VGK has thrown a lot of dirt at its players and fans and don’t really seem to care about entertainment value any more. I can only speak for myself and say my obsession with the team has deteriorated big time in the last year. I still watch the games (missed 2 this year), but the give a shit level is down and fanatic-ness is gone. I don’t look forward to talking about the PP again next year and excuses after excuses while being in cap hell.

    • Galdom

      They played the second most playoff games since entering the league in 2017-18. I think there are 30 other fan bases that would love to be backstabbed

    • the hockey God

      @ cruse
      wins the loser post of the day

  9. Wish it wasn’t so, but I think I hear the fat lady singing and I am hard of hearing

  10. Galdom

    Tonight’s lines

    Marchessault—Eichel—Stone
    Pacioretty—Stephenson—Dadonov
    Janmark—Karlsson—Amadio
    Leschyshyn—Roy—Kolesar

    Hutton—Pietrangelo
    McNabb—Theodore
    Martinez—Whitecloud

    • Pistol Pete

      Nice to see Stone with Eichel. Running the table here we come lol

  11. Pistol Pete

    Quiz:

    Did VGK lose to MTL due to the DeBoer system per se and if not what was the cause?

    Clue:

    The loss was not caused by the DeBoer system contrary to what Howard would likely claim.

  12. Pistol Pete

    Lehner OMG lol. Anyone think he would have outperformed Thompson vs. EDM? Possibly. Seems unlikely vs. CGY. Who starts vs. WSH?

  13. BadVlad

    Should have put Fleury in the cage…. Oops forgot mccriminal kicked him to the curb

    Hear that?? It’s Gerard Gallant in NY with 104 points tied for first laughing his ass off

  14. Watching the Golden Knights this entire season has SUCKED. Playing from behind in just about every game. Even with all the stars healthy they allowed a mediocre NJD team to skate circles around them. Didn’t get to the puck first at all. No jump, passing sucked, turnovers, and poor goaltending. The Stephenson, Stone and Pacioretty line was shut out for nearly 12 straight periods. Eichel had 1 shot on goal tonight. So, with almost all the stars on the ice and healthy – WHO IS TO BLAME?

    Ask Howard, he knows.

  15. RR = no reason to go there – they spent way too much on too little and my hearing even got worse after the game tonight, but the singing is louder than ever. I hope your still on the pain meds you certainly could use them tonight. Along with a scotch or two.

  16. Pistol Pete

    Have I seen a worse moment for the VGK, a lower point?

    Folks we have a new starting goalie.

    • Mike StG

      Pete, a new starting goalie, but only for 5 more games.

    • Tyler Durden

      Yeah, when all the vegas fans left in game 5 early and didn’t bother to see the greatest trophy in sports be awarded. That’s when I knew vegas fans were stupid

  17. Galdom

    I posted recently on the arrogance of this organization and how they think they are better than they really are and it was on full display here tonight. They completely disrespected the New Jersey Devils and got what they deserved. It’s actually more infuriating that they showed how they could dominate as they only do it when they want to. It’s like they want to do as little as possible to achieve a win.

    I was sceptical on Logan Thompson being anything other than an AHL goalie considering that he was never a prospect and his age but when forced into action he came through and never deserved to lose the net. If they have absolutely no trust in Thompson then why did they even sign him to a 2 year extension. Maybe the Vancouver Canucks deserve the final playoff spot. I’m supposed to get up at 4:30 AM eastern time, 3 1/2 hours away. I can’t even sleep.

    Here’s my crazy prediction. Vancouver keeps winning which makes their last game of the season against the Kings meaningful. Vancouver will destroy the Kings on that night. The kings will go 3-2 in their final five games. Vegas will go 5-0 in their final 5 games. They will run the table and get into the playoffs.

    But……. This will be the worst thing for this franchise. The short-term gratification will be more harmful to the long-term picture. They need to fall flat on their faces and lose that arrogance. It used to be confidence but now it is arrogance.

    • Galdom – the probability of Vegas running the table regardless of what any other team does is remote – while I would like to believe your right I am very skeptical. Consistency isn’t one of their strong suits. They are capable of beating most teams IF they could duplicate the win against Calgary but we all know what happened in Edmonton. I have said all along that loosing may not be the worse thing in fact it might even be considered a plus if they learn something.

  18. It’s the Curse of the Flower. Somewhere, Gallant, Flower, Stasny, Reaves, Schmidt, Eakin, Haula, Nosek and others are nodding their heads and toasting the Devils.

  19. BigBadVlad

    Ba ha ha ha ha

    We need Krebs

    We need Krebs

    Ba ha ha ha ha

  20. LoveIt

    LMAO… Gerard Gallant.. NY 104 pts… tied for first

  21. Let’s start off positive. The Golden Knights play the 26-42-7 New Jersey Devils tonight at home. NHL computer models predict Vegas will defeat New Jersey fairly easily, so tack on two points to their total. That places them with 89 points, one point behind LA, and two behind Dallas and Nashville…………..

    Except, the computer models don’t play the game. Our Super Star Healthy Guys do and they just got spanked by a mediocre Devils team.

    Who is to blame?
    Howard knows.

  22. Galdom

    Here is something I can’t understand and it’s very very simple at least I think it is. If you’re in a do or die situation like a game seven of the playoffs you play the hotter goalie. Tenure means nothing in a do or die situation. If the Tampa Bay Lightning are in game seven and Brian Elliott is playing better than Vasilevskiy then you play Brian Elliott. If you’re an MLB team and you are in a wild card single game elimination you use the starting pitcher who is pitching well at the moment. For anybody that has been reading my comments I’ve been saying this for quite some time. This isn’t hindsight.

    • I am still fairly convinced that Lehner is playing hurt. I don’t know that for sure, but you don’t come back from knee and labrum injuries that quickly. By the way Galdom, we don’t agree too often, but I agree. I called it over for Lehner back in mid-January and today he proved to me that I was spot on in my analysis of his weaknesses. Inconsistent glove gave up the rebound on the 2nd goal. On the 3rd, well Petro got beat but Lehner was AWOL, completely clueless.

      That’s about it. I am pretty exhausted. This edition of the VGK has worn me the fuck out. $12,000 on Season Tickets. It’s one thing if you have a team that is rebuilding, but that is not what this Front Office intended. They intended to go for the Cup and they certainly built a paper tiger that coulda shoulda woulda delivered.

      This roster isn’t built to play within the DeBoering System.

      If some significant changes aren’t made in the Front Office and at the Head Coaching position next year isn’t going to be any better.

      • Daryl

        You talking physically or mentally? I’m not making fun of his mental health it’s just that there are times where he just isn’t I the game and I’m wondering what the hell he’s doing.

    • Daryl

      I said something very similar not too long ago and I was called an idiot and told you don’t sit your $5m starter if he’s healthy

  23. What, no post game “analysis” from Ken tonight? He probably broke his keyboard.

  24. Oh, and I was right about Lehner all along……just had to throw that in.

    • Galdom

      That can’t be disputed.

      Ken probably wrote a column and just as he was about to post it decided to reconsider the foul things he was going to say

      • LOL – you’re probably right. It’s one thing for us expert armchair coaches to spew profanity, but Ken has to be able to talk to the team!

  25. Ladies and gentlemen meet our new starting goalie:

    Logan Thompson 2.55 .922

    Can’t say I blame the coach for being reluctant to bench his $5m starter.

    It;’s been an amazing five years but Lehner what a disaster. The FO decision I regret the most. Give them a mulligan I guess.

    • Ummmm, I am not going to say I told you so, so ignore that if you think this post is saying that I told you so.

      • Galdom

        That’s okay. I think you just did tell me that you told me so. I still stand by my defence of Robin Lehner in regards to what he has done over his career including his performance for this team in the playoffs two years ago. And I still think the biggest contributor to the teams failure this year has been their power-play and ability to score at key moments. But in the most important game of the season he was the biggest factor in them losing tonight. So ultimately I cannot make any argument other than conceding that you were right.

        I am equally annoyed that the coach didn’t start Logan Thompson tonight.

      • No problem R-R I think we’ve all been on the Thompson bandwagon for a while. All I always maintained is that they figured MAF was in his twilight so they made a move. Unfortunately Lehner carried too much baggage which they must have known but they took the risk anyways. It did not work out. Now I don’t know what they do to get rid of him. Thompson is their only choice. Picking up a twenty something starter grade goaltender is always like near impossible and baggage ridden Lehner was about the only choice at the time probably. Anyways water under the bridge.

        Fleury that 3rd game gaffe. Man that WAS brutal. It was like you can do that with no warning and there’s no way we win a Cup with you in the net.

    • Boy Pete P – I feel terrible for you – the world is entirely different looking when the rose-colored glasses come off. Your right it has been an amazing five year, only problem being it has gone in the wrong direction despite squandering millions. Mr. Foley has some serious thinking to do which based on his previous experience and success should not be too difficult to make the right decisions

  26. Galdom

    Interesting quote from DeBoer usual he defends his players at any cost……

    “This time of year you are looking for your guy to be better than the guy at the other end, and tonight that wasn’t the case.” -DeBoer on goalies

  27. Breaking News……

    Foley fires McCrimmon and DeBoer. McPhee to take over operations as GM and Manny will finish the season behind the bench.

  28. Pistol Pete

    So just out of curiosity has anyone come up with the answer as to why the loss to MTL? Was it the DeBoer system, you know the burnout the injuries the extra back checking for the forwards the worthless cycling away from the net and so forth, or was it specifically something else?

    • Daryl

      My answer is all of the above… If VGK scores on just 1 PP they win that series. For me, that is why they lost.

      • Daryl

        A d because MTL scored more goals than VGK

      • Tyler Durden

        Everybody knows vegas can’t score when it matters. 50 million of wasted money

      • Pistol Pete

        That’s right Daryl it was going 0-15 on the PP and not the DeBoer system per se! Another piece was the gaffe of the great MAF in game 3.

        P. S. I stumped you by posting the same quiz on the previous thread—you gave up so I gave you the answer. Surprised nobody else stepped as obvious as it was!

        • Daryl

          I still completely disagree with you on the MAF error. As I said before, if VGK loses the next game I would agree 100% but the fact they won the next game actually debunks that theory.

          An error on the goalie really isn’t different than giving up a soft goal. So if you want to blame MAF for that series then you have to blame RL for the season before. He played fairly well, but he let in a few very soft goals and that can take the wind out of your team

  29. Contact Tracer

    Fun fact … Suddenly, Vancouver is a threat. 1 pt behind Vegas with a game in the bank.

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