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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Keep Finding Hot Goalies; Excuse or Circumstance?

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Trevor Moore scores for the Kings 11-8-23, credit LAK twitter

The Vegas Golden Knights have found the second coming of Patrick Roy in his prime in the form of Jordan Binnington, Dan Vladar, Connor Ingram, Alex Nedeljkovic, and Charlie Lindgren this season. The defending Stanley Cup champions scored two goals against those future hall-of-fame goaltenders. Two goals! How can that be?

We have heard the quotes before. “We ran into a hot goalie.” “A hot goalie can carry a team through the playoffs.”

Are the Golden Knights running into hot goalies or not doing enough to challenge goaltenders in games they struggle to find scoring in?

The stats per naturalstattrick.com suggest the Golden Knights are doing everything they can to find scoring.

How many goals do you think it should have led to if I told you the Golden Knights generated 63 high-danger chances and gave up 33 high-danger chances to the five goalies above?  A heck of a lot more than two I would assume! For the record, the Golden Knights were outscored 13-2 in those five games while going 0-4-1 despite nearly doubling up their opponents’ high-danger chances.

Fans are fine accepting the circumstance of losing to a hot goaltender in the regular season. Fans will not accept the excuse of losing to a hot goaltender in the playoffs.

Remember the bubble playoffs during COVID-19. I’m sorry for revisiting the memory of the COVID-19-shortened season. Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks was red hot. The Golden Knights led the series 3-1 and seemed like they would make short work of the Canucks. Demko let in just one goal during games five and six to send the series to a seventh game. Demko let in just one goal in the seventh game to Shea Theodore, thankfully one goal was all the Golden Knights needed to win that game.

Was the lack of scoring in the COVID-19 playoffs a coach Pete DeBoer problem? Possibly.

Coach Bruce Cassidy and the Golden Knights did not allow a goaltender to get hot during last season’s playoffs. Connor Hellebuyck, Jake Oettinger, and Sergei Bobrovsky are capable of winning a playoff series by themselves. The Golden Knights went 12-4 against those potential hall-of-fame goaltenders during last year’s Stanley Cup run. The Golden Knights were 5-1 after losses during last year’s playoffs while outscoring their opponents 25-12.

The Golden Knights were spectacular coming off a loss during last year’s playoffs. It will be interesting to see if the team has similar success Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues.

For now, it is a circumstance that the Golden Knights are losing to hot goalies. Bad luck if you will. Going 0-4-1 in a five-game stretch when getting 63 high-danger chances to your opponents’ 33 is not sustainable over an 82-game season. The luck pendulum will swing back to the Golden Knights if they keep doubling up their opponents’ high-danger chances.

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