Golden Knights captain Mark Stone has been as advertised against the Minnesota Wild. He leads the team in goals, points, average minutes by a forward and has shown his true leadership this postseason. However, it’s still not enough.
In order for the Golden Knights to advance past Minnesota, Stone will need to continue supplying Vegas with offense. With his linemate Max Pacioretty out it adds stress on the 29-year-old captain to come through night in and night out in the playoffs. And unfortunately when Stone can’t produce offense the team doesn’t fare well.
Starting with Stone’s first postseason as a Golden Knight in 2018, the winger has tallied 34 points in 32 playoff games. His average points per game is 1.06, up from 0.77 before the 2021 postseason began. However, the bulk of Stone’s postseason points come in Game’s 1-4. His production drops 50% in the last three contests of a seven-game series.
Stone Postseason Points Per Game w/ VGK
Games 1-4: 20 Games, 24 Points = 1.20 PPG
Games 5-7: 9 Games, 5 Points = 0.60 PPG
Vegas’ leader shouldn’t have to take on all of the responsibility but when he doesn’t score in one of the last three games the Golden Knights record is 1-6. That’s a problem.
This trend goes back to the regular season. Vegas heavily relied upon Pacioretty and Stone’s nightly offense to scoop up two points. When the two top liners came up dry, often so did their team. That can’t happen tonight or going forward in the playoffs.
In Game 5, Stone registered a goal in a losing effort. Even when he’s producing a point per game his club has come out on the losing end. Ultimately, most of the pressure falls on Stone to create more offense when Pacioretty is unavailable and Alex Pietrangelo continues to underachieve. Against Minnesota, the captain has made up for the absence of other’s production.
My guess is Stone will be active tonight and hard to keep off the scoresheet.