The Golden Knights are Stanley Cup champions. I probably don’t need to keep telling you that, but, I’m going to anyway.
A few days ago I was having a conversation with a friend about how incredible the run to the Cup was. How great they played, how healthy they stayed, and how they wound up proving they were unequivocally the best team in the world this season.
During said conversation, because I am quite the nerd and get obsessed with things, I found myself pulling up a whole bunch of even-strength specific stats from the 22 games and found myself in awe of so many of them. So much so that I decided to turn it into this article.
Without further ado, here are a bunch of crazy stats and facts on just how insanely good the Golden Knights were at even strength on route to winning the Stanley Cup.
The Golden Knights outscored their opponents in the playoffs at even-strength 71-38. That means 65% of the goals scored at even strength in VGK games were by the Golden Knights. The Boston Bruins, who went 65-12-5 en route to the best regular season in the history of the NHL managed to boast 64% of even-strength goals, 1% less than the Golden Knights in the playoffs.
Vegas scored 66 goals at 5-on-5 in the playoffs. That’s the most by any team since the NHL began recording goals by strength in 2010. The next closest to VGK’s 66 is Los Angeles with 60, and they needed 26 games to do so, Vegas played just 22.
The Golden Knights finished the playoffs with an even-strength shooting percentage of 12.86%. That was the best in the NHL this season by nearly three percentage points and also the best since this stat has been recorded.
Even more insane was VGK’s high-danger shooting percentage. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Golden Knights’ high-danger shooting percentage was 27.98%, or basically 28%. To put that in perspective, the Edmonton Oilers’ record-breaking power play operated with a high-danger shooting percentage of just 26%. And that’s with an extra player on the ice!
Here’s a simple one. In 1,135 minutes of even-strength play, the Golden Knights scored 71 goals, that’s good for 3.75 goals per 60 or a goal about every 15 minutes of play.
Part of what made the Golden Knights so darn good at even-strength was their ability to score when they got a good chance. Vegas generated 306 scoring chances at even-strength, or about 26.7 per 60 minutes. That number is actually not all that impressive as it ranked the Golden Knights 13th out of the 16 playoff teams. However, Vegas scored 65 goals on those chances, or about 3.44 per 60. The next closest team was the Dallas Stars who scored 37 goals and the next closest in rate was Tampa Bay at 2.58, almost a full goal per game behind.
On top of that, the Golden Knights were stellar at keeping dangerous chances out of their own net. Vegas gave up the second-most scoring chances in the playoffs with 527 over the 22 games. They conceded just 26 goals on those chances, which was the best stop rate of any team in the playoffs, and fewer than four teams that played at least five games less than VGK.
Finally, the expected goals numbers are out of this world. A quick refresher, expected goals models were created using historical shot data over the course of multiple years to project how likely a shot is to go into the goal. Of course, it’s not perfect, but it’s one of the best measurements we have.
Yet, the 2023 Golden Knights embarrassed the model. As mentioned above, the Golden Knights scored 66 goals at 5-on-5 while allowing 33. MoneyPuck.com’s expected goals stat projected the score of VGK games at 5-on-5 to be 48-43. That means the Golden Knights outscored their expected goals tally by 18 and allowed 10 fewer than expected. That’s a differential of 28 goals over the course of 22 games.
MoneyPuck’s data goes back to the 2009 playoffs and only three other teams have ever surpassed 20 (11 BOS, 19 STL, 22 NYR) with the highest being the 2011 Bruins at 22.2. VGK had 28!
Simply put, no team in the history of the NHL playoffs has ever been as dominant at even strength as the 2023 Vegas Golden Knights.