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VGK PK Came Alive In Games 5-7, But They Weren’t Without Help

Call it a mulligan. Call it an extra life. Call it whatever you’d like, the Golden Knights got it in Game 7.

After having a season defined by a 5-minute major penalty in which they allowed four goals, the Golden Knights faced the same beast a year later when Ryan Reaves was assessed a match penalty for a hit to the head.

The stakes were actually even higher this time around. Rather than having a cushion, the game was tied with three and a half minutes left in the 2nd. If Vegas faltered again trying to kill off five minutes, their season would be over and the stigma would live with them forever.

Instead, Vegas got to try the “level” again, and this time they passed with it flawlessly, albeit with a lot of help from their opponent.

In the five minutes against the Canucks, the Golden Knights allowed just one shot on goal, foiled seven Canuck entry attempts, blocked multiple shots, and played just  1:36 inside of their own zone.

All in all, on the 11 minutes of power plays for the Canucks in Game 7, they got just two shots on goal, had a measly five scoring chances, had seven shots blocked, miss the net on five more, went 10 for 25 on entry attempts and allowed three shots on goal to the shorthanded Golden Knights.

Vancouver’s power play was without answers. Nothing illustrated that more than the image of Quinn Hughes on an empty bench during the 2nd intermission staring at an iPad searching for a solution.

In the series, the Golden Knights killed 23 of the 26 Canuck power plays including each of the final 14. Vegas was on the kill for 44 minutes in the series and allowed just 30 shots on goal. They consistently stood the Canucks up at the blue line and they took away cross-ice passes with ease. Literally the only place in which Vancouver has success was in the faceoff circle.

Prior to Game 6, after the Golden Knights had killed off three straight penalties in Game 5 and six overall, I asked Pete DeBoer if his penalty kill system was completely where he wanted it to be after taking over mid-season and implenting changes. I was a bit surprised when the answer wasn’t a resounding yes.

Getting close. Definitely more seamless. I think the concepts, the responsibilites are definitely getting better. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly where we want it to be, but much improved from where it was prior to the pause and we’ve got to keep building on that because it’s a critical piece. -DeBoer

Since then, Vegas killed eight penalties consecutively including the five-minute one in Game 7.

I think it’s purely execution. We’re given an outline of what we have to do and a part of that is getting in front of pucks and limiting entries as much as possible and just doing our job when we get into our zone. You’re given a plan and as long as you go out and execute it you’ll be heading in the right direction most nights. -Zach Whitecloud

I went back and watched all 19 minutes of Vancouver power play time in Games 6 and 7. While the Golden Knights played without making a mistake, a lot of the credit for the Vegas PK success belongs to the team with the man advantage. Simply put, Vancouver was terrible. They were terrible when Vegas wasn’t pressuring them and they were especially terrible when Vegas was.

To Whitecloud’s point, if the Golden Knights follow the plan, it will take something special to beat them on the power play. Vancouver couldn’t deliver that, and Vegas now heads into the Western Conference Final looking like a PK juggernaut.

But, with DeBoer still not of full belief that the system is a perfectly oiled machine, it’s something to keep an eye on with Dallas as the next opponent. Their power play shredded Colorado but struggled against Calgary.

At the very least though, Vegas will enter with confidence, and no longer with that 5-minute major monkey on their back.

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21 Comments

  1. vegas fan in minny

    bring on dallas vgk in 6 demko was spetacular

  2. Brian L.

    I don’t think enough credit is given to the team and the coaches for the PK success. If you’re going to go the “Vancouver helped them out with their terrible play” route, it would be nice to see some examples of that. Otherwise, it seems like the point of the article is to just deflect credit away from VGK.

    • Inside of the 11 minutes of PP in Game 7, Vancouver shot the puck out of their own zone 3 times. They also shot into clear blocks 2 more times. They used the same entry system most of the time too until they changed it in the 3rd… And it worked.

      They constantly tried to skate through three guys.

      I’d cut the clips, but it’s not exactly what VGK fans care about. If you don’t believe me, go watch it. Trust me on this one, I’m not wrong (and DeBoer agreed)

      • Brian L.

        Thanks for elaborating. I guess I’m in the minority of people who like the extra details. Clearly you know your audience. Didn’t mean to call you out. I just felt like you left the points out that backed up your argument. I appreciate the follow up.

  3. Daryl

    Come on now Ken, you know anytime you ask a coach if any aspect of their team is where he wants it to be the answer is always no. The PK has looked good this series and I won’t take that away from them, but it’s against VAN, a team we should have beat in 5 games. VAN attempted the same entry every PP and they could never get it past the blueline. Once they set up they looked OK but again they kept trying to make cross ice paths that never worked. And NO VGK has not learned how to block shots yet. They still haven’t learned what shooting lanes are. The PK still worries me a lot, especially with how many penalties we take. I’m glad we are playing Dallas over Colorado, but it will still be very difficult. Our defenseman couldn’t move the smaller VAN players from in front of the net I can only imagine how hard it will be against the bigger DAL team. If we can stop them at the blue line we have a very good shot. If they can set up, our guys will scramble and be out of position.

    As for our offense, they need to continue what they finished last game by getting bodies in front of the net. We can take 80 shots from the post with no screen and expect to score. I think our defenseman did a lot better last game not getting caught too far up in the offensive zone thus allowing the other team to get behind them. They need to continue that. We have enough offensive power we don’t need them jumping up too far too often

  4. DOC aPositiveFan

    I’m in such a good mood today, I won’t disagree with anything. BUT If we play like we did 5 of the 7 games, especially the last 3, we WILL beat the starts. Demko was just historically amazing. Unbelievable really. Now, we might run into a hot goalie in a game … but we’re not going to see that for 3 freakin games in-a-row again! The stars and us are very similar in size, etc… but I don’t think they can stop us offensively.

  5. THE hockey GOD

    Canucks deliberately , and repeatedly, went after VGK key players. Mainly no. 2. Throughout the series.

    No. 2 is clearly beat up now.

    As well No. 3 got nicked up pretty bad. Hit in face/throat with puck, Then later hit in head with puck.

    Several key star players are out , including their Walrus goalie, but that has brought this team closer together.

    The basher teams are in the EASTERN CONFERENCE. We’ll see who wins- high energy or bashers.

    Islanders and Barry Trotz should take game 7. But will Isle young stars handle the pressure. Miss the Islander fans chants in playoffs. Best in world.

    Reaves is a goon and doesn’t belong on the team.

    PS BLM sucks and is a domestic terrorist organization. Get politics out of sports, obey the law. Comply and don’t be a stupid dead man.

    • THE hockey GOD

      Several key star players are out>>DALLAS STAR that is

    • Joe

      PPSS: Spoken like a true white Trumper.

      #FlushTheTurdNovemberThird

    • Daryl

      While they do have a few key players out, they did beat COL… They are a good team and is actually the first good team VGK will play this far. Not saying VAN isn’t a good team but they aren’t in the same level has the other teams, even though it took VGK 7 games to beat them

      • It was only by luck vegas beat those young kids . It could have gone either way and fortunately vegas won. That in no means suggests the best team lost that certainly was not the case however they gave vegas a run for their money. Hopefully a wake up call that Vegas can’t take anything for granted. I am still waiting o. Ken to answer a very simple question – if Lehner is the be all that ends all and the apparent #1goalie now for vegas why did the other clubs he played for get him go????. Come on Ken l am sure you have an opinion on that and the I side scoop.

        • Daryl

          I’d like to know the answer to that as well

          • HD and Daryl: Your guess is as good as mine.

          • Well Daryl when Ken doesn’t know the answer or venture an opinion one can only assume they want MAF gone for some reason or another and Lehner is the less of two evils ( at least that is what mgt thinks). Not sure the logic of a decision like that but like l have said all along there is more to the goalie drama that we are aware of and probably have no right to know. I guess the way they handled the Galant deal should be a clue. There is o obviously something with Lehner that the o th her clubs saw and were happy to get rid of. Rather disappointed I. KEN’s response as he inormally digs deeper into such matters.

  6. Well Daryl when Ken doesn’t know the answer or venture an opinion one can only assume they want MAF gone for some reason or another and Lehner is the less of two evils ( at least that is what mgt thinks). Not sure the logic of a decision like that but like l have said all along there is more to the goalie drama thanwe are aware of and probably have no right to know. I guess the way they handled the Galant deal should be a clue. There is o obviously something with Lehner that the other clubs saw and were happy to get rid of. Rather disappointed in KEN’s response as he normally digs deeper into such matters.

    • HD: Today is Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. We’ve got plenty of time to figure this out. But it’s also an incredibly sensitive area. Let’s see how things play out and we will see what else we can find when the time is right.

      • Mike StG

        Ken, well put. It will be addressed at the appropriate time. At least none of the media is asking who will be in goal any more (as far as I can tell from PDB’s pregame zoom). Of course if a situation develops that brings that into question it will no doubt return. It seems almost impossible that Fleury will be with Vegas next year. I just hope he ends up somewhere he and his family can be happy. The vast majority of fans here will always have a fondness and appreciation for what he did for the team & community.

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