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Golden Knights Analysis

Vegas Needs Pietrangelo To Be Difference Maker in Game 6



Vegas Golden Knights, Adin Hill, Alex Pietrangelo

Alex Pietrangelo has done enough for the Vegas Golden Knights in his time with the organization that it won’t take much to regain the love of the Vegas fan base.

But it may require some act of contrition, perhaps Friday in Game 6  when the Golden Knights face elimination at the hands of the Dallas Stars.

All athletes make mistakes from time to time, but Pietrangelo’s blunder isn’t sitting well with the Vegas fans because he hurt his team severely in Game 5 after he had made a similar poor decision in Game 4.  He let his emotions get the best of him, not what you expect from a player with two Stanley Cup rings.

‘Dumbest Penalty’

One self-proclaimed media personality called Alex Pietrangelo’s Game 5 elbow to Tyler Seguin’s nose the “biggest bozo penalty of the playoffs.” Another podcast journalist called it the “dumbest” penalty of the playoffs.”

Pietrangelo was originally assessed a major penalty, but it was reduced to a minor after a review. But even as a minor, the penalty had major consequences. The call came at 15:19 of the second period of a 2-2 contest. Jason Robertson scored a power play goal at 16:32 of the second period.

That was the game-winner in a 3-2 Stars’ win that gave Dallas a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series going into Friday’s Game 6.

“A veteran guy like Pietrangelo cannot take a penalty like that!,” former NHL defenseman P.K. Subban tweeted in his role as ESPN analyst.

Subban also had plenty to say about Pietrangelo in his on-air role.  It was hard to defend Pietrangelo’s action in any way because the game was so important.  Pietrangelo didn’t recognize the stakes were too high for his behavior.

The other reason Pietrangelo isn’t receiving much sympathy is that he made a similar bad decision in Game 4 when he earned a roughing penalty for working over Roope Hintz. Young Wyatt Johnston made the veteran player’s bad decision hurt by scoring a power play goal that tied the game 2-2. The Stars won that game 4-2.

Not the Act of a Leader

Pietrangelo is a leader on this team. His service is invaluable The veteran blue liner knows how to win in this league. With that in mind, coach Bruce Cassidy was asked whether his assault on Tyler Seguin’s nose was a surprise or a disappointment.

“Both,” Cassidy said. “Veteran guys should know better. Listen, we didn’t like the hit on (Shea) Theodore by Seguin. Quite obviously left his feet, targeted the head. So, you’re going to be upset, but that’s playoff hockey. You’ve got to find a way to channel it.  There’s controlled aggression in every series. That’s an area,  where you have to take a number…We should know better.”

He completed his answer by noting the Golden Knights only have one more game to get themselves back focused only on winning the series.

Pietrangelo’s mistakes were compounded because he is the team’s leader. He is supposed to lead by example. But he’s not the reason this team is down in the series. They trail because this is 2024, not 2023. Everything is not going right for them. That was last season.

The Pietrangelo penalties look even worse because too many mistakes are happening throughout the lineup. It’s not all Pietrangelo’s fault.

He cannot turn this series around by himself. But he can certainly help by simply focusing on making sure Game 6 is his best game of the series.