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Golden Knights Analysis

VGK Grades: Series in Doubt, Golden Knights ‘Give Away’ MoJo



Adin Hill, Vegas Golden Knights

It is a feature not a bug for the Vegas Golden Knights is that they didn’t rely on any of their five goalies to win games this season. That was also true through the first 14 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs journey, but that has changed with the Western Conference Final in the balance.

A date with the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final will have to wait at least one more game, if not permanently. It feels like Dallas has seized momentum in the series and at least has a chance to make history as the first team in the Conference Final to rally from 3-0 down.

The Golden Knights laid their fate at the feet of goalie Adin Hill, especially in Game 5. The goalie was spectacular in Game 5. He made highlight saves after sparkling saves following incredible saves.

And yet, the winning goal was on Hill. He sagged back into the crease, and Ty Dellandrea’s long-range wrister sneaked beneath his glove for the Dallas game-winner.

Life isn’t fair. Hill should have been a hero but is instead the goat who made the deciding mistake.

“Not a great goal, probably the first one from Adin all playoffs that he’d want back,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “But we’ve got to go pick him up. It’s that simple. We had lots of time. Let’s go get a goal.”

They didn’t.

Hill made 30 saves on 34 shots. And yet, on the report card, he’ll get an A.

Vegas Golden Knights Chalkboard:

Protect the puck?

The Golden Knights gave away 24 pucks. 24?! They had more giveaways than hits (21).

“To me, the desperation we had, we had 24 giveaways. I’m not sure you’re beating the Arizona Coyotes in January with 24 giveaways,” Cassidy said. “No disrespect to Arizona, but it’s not the right way to play. Twenty-four giveaways. I mean, we’re trying to go to the Stanley Cup Final against a desperate team. So to me, that was the whole game right there.”

And yet the Golden Knights did good things, too. They worked the walls and cycled the pucks. They reversed course after a brutal first period and pressured Dallas because they forced Dallas to grind and defend on the walls.

The Golden Knights used the wall possession to go to the net or work the “high-low” gam, allowingw their defensemen to shoot the puck.

The second period was frenetic energy. It was back and forth, and defensive responsibilities were taxes but turnovers. The Golden Knights were loose — they failed to get the puck deep on numerous occasions, instead turning it over near the blue line.

“I don’t think we’ve been our best the last two games,” said Captain Mark Stone. “We’re still in a good spot to win the game. So we’ve got to bring a little bit better effort to start playing a little more desperate for the chance.”

Dallas added another “wrinkle” to their attack. They swarmed the net. Bodies and traffic and chaos near the net. The Golden Knights’ pillar defensemen were overwhelmed.

The VGK turnovers created Dallas rush chances, but Dallas sent the house to the net.

Moving forward, that might seem to be a tactic the Golden Knights’ big defensemen are well-equipped to deal with, but it’s tough to deal with superior numbers and desperation.

Vegas Golden Knights Report Card:

Adin Hill: A

The great debate. If you play a great game but make the deciding mistake, is it actually a great game?

Hill robbed Joel Kiviranta in the third and numerous others, including Roope Hintz, who was alone in front in the first period. It was an outstanding game, but we took away the A+.

Jack Eichel: B

Eichel had a few moments in the third period. He also set up Ivan Barbashev’s goal in the first period. However, Eichel didn’t get the puck enough in the first 40 minutes.

However, Eichel was on the wrong end of a lot of shot attempts. His line had the goal but were on the ice for two goals against. They had a Corsi of 34%.

Stats according to

Bottom Six: 4th line

The Golden Knights’ bread and butter has been their depth. However, it’s hard to circle contributions from the lines led by William Karlsson and Brett Howden (who pivoted the fourth line instead of healthy scratch Teddy Blueger).

Cassidy deployed the fourth line for about eight minutes, several minutes less than a typical game. They weren’t going. Except for a few good shifts, the line was on the wrong side of the puck and had about a 33% Corsi.

The only line with a positive Corsi was surprisingly the th the third line.

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