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Golden Knights Analysis

Noah Hanifin Delivers As Expected for Golden Knights



Noah Hanifin, Vegas Golden Knights

Contending teams like the Vegas Golden Knights make bold moves before the NHL trade deadline with the hope that acquired players will deliver in the postseason.

The Golden Knights gave up a first round pick (2025) and a conditional third rounder to Calgary for Noah Hanifin on March. 6. That deal paid off in a significant way Friday when he scored midway through the third period to provide the game-winner in a 2-0 triumph against the Dallas Stars that forces a Game 7 in their playoff series. That game will be 4:30 p.m. PT Sunday in Dallas.

“[Noah’s] a good hockey player. He can finish plays. He’s done a good job for us in all areas,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We need a goal tonight, right? We were struggling early to finish.  Generated a lot of chances. Someone had to break through. It happened to be him. He jumped on a loose puck. He definitely has good instincts on offense in terms of being assertive and on his toes.”

It was the first third-period goal that Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger has given up in this series.

Limited Offense

This was the fourth consecutive game that Vegas only managed to produce two goals, but it didn’t matter because Adin Hill made 23 saves while keeping the Stars scoreless. He now owns a .938 save percentage since Cassidy started playing him in Game 5. The Golden Knights started the series with Logan Thompson in the net, even though Hill was the starter last year when Vegas won the Cup.

“What a game for goaltenders,” Cassidy said. “It’s a 0-0 game in the third. Sometimes those are snooze fests, right? But it wasn’t tonight.”

Hanifin has put up five points in the six games, a significant total given the fact that the Golden Knights are averaging 2.5 goals per game and the Stars are at 2.33. Neither team is averaging 30 shots per game. The Golden Knights are averaging 27.7 shots.

The 6-foot-4 defenseman became the third player in the Golden Knights’ short history to record multiple game-winning goals in a series. The others: Jonathan Marchessault (2023, round 2) and Max Pacioretty (2021, round 2). Hanifin also became the second Vegas defenseman to score a game-winning goal in an elimination. The other is Shea Theodore who did it in 2020.

Already, it’s clear that Hanifin and Alex Pietrangelo give the Golden Knights two difference-making defensemen locked up for lengthy periods. Hanifin has eight more years on his contract, and Pietrangelo three on their Vegas contracts.

“Ever since I got traded here, I was super excited about the opportunity of coming to a team with guys that have won,” Hanifin said. “I’ve said it a bunch, just a great culture here, and I’m fortunate just to be a part of it.”