Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

What Did We Learn About The Golden Knights In Round 1

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

Just like five years ago, the Golden Knights completed the gentleman’s sweep of the Winnipeg Jets, dropping Game 1 before then rattling off four straight wins. As the series went Vegas’ game continued to grow while Winnipeg’s felt like it was deteriorating. What appeared like it was going to be a long, hard-fought series turned into a one-sided affair that culminated one of VGK’s best games of the year to close it out.

Win or lose, there’s always plenty to glean from a playoff series. Here’s what we learned from Vegas’ five-game win over the Jets.

Balanced lineup held up in all situations

Heading into the series Bruce Cassidy had a lot of decisions to make with Mark Stone returning to the lineup. Rather than loading up, he opted for a balanced lineup highlighted by three pairs of top-end players on each of the first three lines. Danger lurked after Game 1, but as the series wore on it became clear all four Vegas lines could be trusted in any zone against any line of the Jets.

Nine different Vegas forwards spent at least 20 minutes on the ice against the Jets’ most dangerous player in the series, Kyle Connor. Whether it was home or away, the Golden Knights did not have to chase matchups in this series and it allowed for each line to have great moments at different points.

Plus, Cassidy was able to spread the wealth in regards to minutes load, which clearly had an impact in Game 5. The Golden Knights looked like the fresher team and it’s because they were.

Stick to the initial plan

When the series began, the Golden Knights knew the team with the better forecheck would win. So, they entered with a plan to consistently throw the puck in deep and use their physicality to challenge the smaller Jets defense. It didn’t work at all in Game 1, but they remained undeterred. Josh Morrissey’s injury may have helped, but eventually the Jets began to succumb to the VGK pressure and it saw the rest of the ice open up for the Golden Knights.

Once the forecheck began giving Winnipeg troubles, it allowed Vegas to lock down the neutral zone which helped them spend less time in the defensive zone.

The coaching staff had a good game plan of what we wanted to do against this team. They have some very skilled forwards so if we could attack their defense and make them come 200 feet. We had a gameplay we wanted to stick with until it didn’t work and it never didn’t work so I think we were able to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish. -Mark Stone

Each game as the series went along, Vegas appeared to be taking more and more of a firm hold on the 5-on-5 play. Winnipeg never adjusted and the Golden Knights never needed to.

Special teams remains less than special

Vegas finished the series 3 for 16 (18.8%) on the power play while surrendering 5 goals on 12 (41.7%) chances to the Jets.

Even with Mark Stone back in the lineup the Golden Knights power play still had many of the same problems that have plagued them all season. The few times the Golden Knights did have success they were able to catch the Jets out of position rather than forcing them out. The very last power play of the series offers some hope for the future though. Vegas was able to hit their classic tic-tac-toe play to set up a goal for Chandler Stephenson. If that play is working, it should open up a lot more moving forward.

On the kill, the Golden Knights experienced a myriad of issues, including a heavy dose of poor luck. Their entry defense was average which led to the Jets having plenty of time to operate in the zone. In the end, most of the damage came from shots from the circles, but the Jets definitely had some good looks from all over the ice. Winnipeg’s power play was not great in the regular season, so allowing them to score on more than 40% isn’t a good sign with what lies in store in Round 2.

You can’t beat up the Golden Knights

No team in the first round threw more hits than the Winnipeg Jets. They averaged five more hits per game than any of the other 15 teams competing in the playoffs. However, it did not impact the Golden Knights at all. In fact, it actually may have done more to help Vegas than it did hurt them.

Often times during this series the Golden Knights were able to absorb Jets hits while making a good hockey play. That led to many situations in which Vegas was able to pop 3-on-2 or 4-on-3 rushes up the ice and gain easy access to the offensive zone. The Jets definitely came into the series with a plan of knocking around the Golden Knights, they achieved it, and it didn’t work.

Also, Winnipeg had a target on Mark Stone, and specifically’s Mark Stone’s back. They were not afraid to take late shots at Stone and not only did his back hold up, it seemed to ignite he and his teammates. The playoffs are only going to get rougher and tougher as they go on, VGK clearly seem up for it.




Karlsson’s Best Comes Out In The Playoffs


  1. Emmanuel

    I think we learned more about the Jets than the VGK:

    1. Their Goalie is overrated.
    2. They’re top heavy.
    3. Their coach is a 30 year long loser.

  2. knights fan in minny

    the boys outclassed the jets and the jets goonery did not work

  3. TS

    The guys will spend some well- deserved time recovering and recharging, maybe a few massage sessions thrown in!

  4. Hockey Woodman

    Poor ol Schmidty, you can see it in his eyes that he wishes SO BAD that he was on this team still. I SERIOUSLY feel bad for him! He fit in well here. Unfortunately, it was only his personality! He had some brutal turnovers that led to some high danger chances and goals. Not to mention at least 3 deflection goals on his behalf as well. Hey, Foley’s a smart man…do you think he…could he have…….NOOOO….there’s no way???
    ………..series ends…

  5. What we learned is what we should have learned 86 games ago…sit Kessell…get younger..get faster…get more driven…get better defensively…barring injury(ies) should be the last we see of #8 in a vgk uniform!!

    • THE hockey GOD

      your killing me LARRY !!!!


      welcome to the jungle, again

    • Jim Limperis

      We win without Shit Theodore in the line up… Hutton is very solid. Martinez should quarterback the power play!
      Both Pietrangelo and Theodore are they reason our PP sucks!
      And your PK too for that matter lol
      Way over rated… And over paid!!!

  6. Ken you neglected to address the need to be fully engaged for the entire 60 minutes of the game and the dire consequences which could happen by taking their foot of the gas – didn’t happen game 5 but very well could have. Given they had 7 minutes with an empty net and not only couldn’t score worse yet couldn’t get out of their own end suggests they need serious help or lots of practice.

    • Roberto

      Good point about the empty net time.

      One consideration, though, was that Winnipeg ran pretty much the same group the entire time. They were fighting for their lives and emptying the tank. Rather than being too critical on VGK, I give the Jets a lot of credit for that sequence. It didn’t pay off, but they gave it their all. Was really impressed with Neal Pionk during the entire series, and his diving play to keep the puck on sides, during empty net at the end, was some spirited work.

      Will be interesting how Bowness’ post game comments play with those few guys who played at the end. Sure a good amount of their players didn’t step up, but I imagine we could see a new HC will be behind their bench this fall.

      • knights fan in minny

        i could see a roster turn around last years coach quit during the year said he could not get anything out of them same team this year

    • THE hockey GOD

      it was 8 not 7 minutes

      • THE hockey GOD

        end of game energy not there, this is not a “need lots of practice” issue,
        it’s a stamina issue. They were sucking air out there, got caught on too many icing. And using two lines during the time. And four d men. Except at the end when Butch put out EF HUtton and Pachal (I like PAchal, he’s hard nosed and has a hard head. He took a puck to visor, went down for about a minute, got up and said “hey anyone got a oreo cookie? LEt’s play some more ”

        no PP fix

        PK going down hill

        lots of things to work on in time o

  7. THE hockey GOD

    where’s sour wine ???

    he’ll be back


      Not an issue of end of game energy… More and issue of killer instinct! We never BLOW A TEAM OUT???
      In the playoffs. When your have them on the mat you bury them! How many times do we played 60? NEVER… And its not because we’re tired… Its because we are ahead a couple goals so we stop playing offensive.
      Offense is the best defense.
      We get ahead and then sit back.

      We obviously learned nothing from San Jose tragedy… Alls it takes is a NHL fix…. Oh… I meant a bad referee major penalty call,
      And any lead and game can change in minutes.

      A long as we find a way to keep it close and let the refs determine the outcome… They will.

  8. They were more concerned with that effin streak and he’s so good in the locker room chemistry nonsense.. how about fielding the best players to win games at all times!

  9. The Chosen One

    “it seemed to ignite he and his teammates.”

    Shouldn’t it be ‘him’ and not ‘his’ ??

    Anyway, great writeup as always Ken !

  10. Skip

    Was a little worried about Brossoit in the head-to-head but he came out the victor.

  11. THE hockey GOD

    panthers ripped the B’s to shreds in Game Six, last nite. The Panther’s coach was damn proud of his team. The B’s are back on their heels. The question is : did game six take too much energy out of the panthers. The tSN folks are calling for a goalie change for the B’s.

    The panthers blue sweaters are the best in the league, btw.

    Know this, no team with an yellow/gold sweater has won squat in NHL. NONE.

  12. Tim

    The coach calls out Winnipeg for lack of effort, Calgary players call out there coach for lack of leadership so where do they go this off season?

  13. Jailbird

    Boston has all the pressure on them n game 7. Would love to see them choke !

  14. TS

    I think this year’s team is the most resilient of all of them. They’ve learned how to handle the injuries and adversity. They have rarely given up in a game, despite the lapses in focus. I have a LOT of optimism we’ll do well vs Oilers!

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