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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Suffer From Wont of a Few Goals



Vegas Golden Knights, Game 1 Stanley Cup Final

The Vegas Golden Knights have no answers and too many questions.

The defending Stanley Cup champions shook up the lines for Game 4, switched from Logan Thompson to Adin Hill in net, and still lost for the third consecutive time to the Dallas Stars in their opening round play. Down 3-2 in a best-of-seven series, the Golden Knights now stand on the brink of elimination.

Game 6 is scheduled for Friday (7 p.m., PT) in Vegas.

The Vegas problem is easily defined: the team is not scoring enough five-on-five. It has been able to score more than two five-on-five goals in any of the first five games. Only Jack Eichel (three goals, seven points) has been able to consistently generate offense.

In fairness to the Golden Knights, they are playing a strong Dallas team that ranked eighth in the NHL in goals surrendered in the regular season.

Scoring Down

But when the Golden Knights were successful last year, they were averaging four goals per game. It didn’t matter who they were playing. In this series, they are averaging 2.6 goals per game.

“It’s just finishing, right?” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You run into goalies who are playing well. If you look at this series, it’s been a well-goaltended series.”

That’s noteworthy in a series this tight.  Last year, the Golden Knights found those extra goals. They haven’t found them this year.

General manager Kelly McCrimmon traded for Tomas Hertl with the idea that he would give the team another proven scorer. He doesn’t have a point in the last four games in this series. Mark Stone has two power play goals, but has no points at even strength. He’s minus-5 in the series.

William Karlsson, playing injured, doesn’t have any points. He scored 11 goals last season during the Golden Knights’ championship run.

Chandler Stephenson had 20 points last season when the Golden Knights captured the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. He has one assist in the first five games of this series.

McNabb Contributing

The quick-strike nature of the Vegas offense hasn’t been present in this series.   Where would Vegas be without defenseman Brayden McNabb‘s five points?

The series has been tight enough that even this small offensive downturn has had an impact.

It’s not as if the Golden Knights have no hope. It’s not as if they are playing disastrously. Every game could have gone either way.

“We’re the defending Stanley Cup champions,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “There’s lots of resolve in that room, lots of winners in that room, lot of pride in that room. We have to go home and win one game at home in the playoffs. That’s something we’re certainly capable of. Will it happen? Dallas will have a lot of say in that. It’s not this obstacle that we can’t do.”