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Golden Knights Analysis

Gm2 Golden Knights Snap Analysis: ‘Not Our Best,” VGK Become OT Killers



Vegas Golden Knights, Game 2 Western Conference

The Vegas Golden Knights are becoming OT killers. Twice in two games, the overtime period didn’t reach two minutes before the Golden Knights celebrated, and the Dallas Stars slumped off the ice wondering what could have been. The Golden Knights lead the series 2-0 and have a chance to put their boot on Dallas’ neck Tuesday in Dallas.

It took the home team a long time to answer the alarm clock. The Mousketeer network did the teams no favors with a noon puck drop. The energy levels for much of the first 40 minutes looked like the coffee pot ran out prematurely.

The Golden Knights had just 10 total shots in the first two periods. Dallas had only 17 but led 2-1. The Golden Knights’ penalty kill again gave up a power-play marker, and again it was a fortuitous bounce after a shot block that wound up in the Golden Knights’ net.

Yet it ended well because Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault answered the bell in the third period. The Golden Knights best players rose to the challenge after the VGK hit the snooze button a few times.

Eichel will receive good grades below. In the third period, he picked up the pace and tempo of the game, challenging the Dallas defensemen on the edge and forcing them to turn and defend.

Late in the third period, Eichel’s forecheck forced defenseman Ryan Suter into a turnover,. A moment later, Eichel made a filthy no-look backhand pass to Marchessault in the slot. With just 2:22 remaining, the Golden Knights erased the second Dallas lead.

Then just 72 seconds into overtime, the Golden Knight swarmed the net, outnumbering the Dallas defenders. It was perhaps the only time in Game 2 that the Vegas Golden Knights had numbers near the cage. Dallas protected the house for the entire game until that sequence.

Chandler Stephenson atoned for a bad penalty late in the second period and snapped the loose puck into the open net. Game. Set. Match. 2-0 Series lead.

Get the Golden Knights recap here.

Vegas Golden Knights Chalkboard & Report Card:

It’s hard to diagram what the Golden Knights did because they didn’t do much after the first five minutes. They had speed to start, but Dallas packed the zone. Dallas gave the perimeter, and the Golden Knights couldn’t crack it, so the game descended into an ugly slog, a muddy uphill run, or a classic 1990s clutch-and-grab tribute. Take your pick on the description, but the Golden Knights couldn’t get the extra step on the Dallas defense, which hung back at the expense of offense.

It was probably a tactical mistake by Dallas Stars coach Pete DeBoer to keep his blue line under wraps. They frustrated the Golden Knights by the second period, and they could have taken off the restraints. They didn’t. As a result, the Golden Knights were never more than a shot behind.

When the Golden Knights woke up, they used speed to force the defensemen to defend beyond the front of the net. The forecheck earned a few more pucks, forcing Dallas to scramble to defend.

“Puck management was a little better. We played in their end,” Eichel said. “We did a little better job of cycling pucks and getting pucks back. We found a goal and push it out. It wasn’t our best effort.”

Those were the differences. Dallas couldn’t stay buttoned up forever and failed to put away the Golden Knights when they had the chance.


Jack Eichel: A-

Ok, we were going to give him a C, but he was in beast mode in the third period and single-handedly brought his team back. He was quiet for 40 minutes, and then that top line roared.

Adin Hill: A

People thought me a newb when I claimed Adin Hill was an upgrade and the goalie I would have turned to in the Edmonton series. Hill has been increasingly steady and solid. He’s making sharp saves at critical times, keeping himself in position and making scoring difficult.

He fumbled a couple of pucks Sunday, but his performance was above the line.

Roy-Karlsson-Smith: C-

The trio had a tough day at the office Sunday. They gave up nine scoring chances, which is wildly uncharacteristic. They were on the wrong side of the puck for most of the game. After a resplendent performance in Game 1, they sagged in Game 2.

Given their responsibilities, they can’t get outchanced 9-3 again. Their job is to stick to Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski. If they can stick with Connor McDavid, they can do it, but they didn’t Sunday.

Chandler Stephenson: C+

You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both and there you have …  Stephenson scored the game winner will be Sunday’s hero. However, he was perilously close to being the goat, too. He took a pair of minor penalties and both were bad penalties.

He had only one shot on goal. It was an important shot, but the Golden Knights cannot afford to put Dallas on the power play until their penalty kill becomes a lot better or they’re ready to go home.

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Peter Bernhard

Thanks, Dan. Your writing is tremendous. So glad you’re covering the Knights. Perceptive, analytical, and a great hockey education for newbies and long-time hockey fans.

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