Home > NewsRelease > KNIGHTS ON ICE —The VGK Power Play and Penalty Kill: SNAFU
KNIGHTS ON ICE —The VGK Power Play and Penalty Kill: SNAFU
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Saturday, December 11, 2021


Yes, the situation remains normal when it comes to the VGK special teams and it’s actually becoming worse. I warned you in my last post after the Dallas Stars game when I wrote this.

Warning. Warning. Warning. The next game is tomorrow against the Philadelphia Flyers at T-Mobile at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. The VGK have to be careful not to look past this game, knowing that the Flyers are in a complete freefall, giving up 17 goals in their last three games, losing their last 10 games in a row, and being -26 in goal differential. Some would call this a “trap game.” The VGK will be huge moneyline favorites, but proceed with caution with your Christmas-gift money as you walk by the sports book.

I hope you took my advice because this was, in fact, a trap game, a term often referenced in a game that looks like a sure winning bet, but it turns out to be nothing of the sort, as the VGK fell to the Flyers by a score of 4-3 in front of 18,011.

Last night the Philadelphia Flyers exposed the anemic and dreadful power play and penaltu kill of the VGK. By scoring two power-play goals on basically two power-play chances. The official NHL stats will show the Flyers with three power-play chances, because James Van Riemsdyk took a penalty five seconds after VGK’s Adam Brooks was called for hooking 2:21 into the first period, putting the Flyers on their five-second power-play. On the first Flyers power-play goal, it took them only 17 seconds to score after Mark Stone was called for hooking. Actually, all three of the penalties that Vegas was called for were for hooking, and anyone who knows the game of hockey knows that hooking is a nice way of saying “you got beat, lost your defensive coverage, and most likely stopped moving your feet and used your stick to try to slow or impede the progress of your opponent.”

Over the last two games, the VGK has given up five power-play goals on their last five penalty kills. Prior to this, they were 15-for-16 on the penalty kill over four games

On the flip side, the VGK’s own power play, which has been dreadful, went 0-3 against Dallas and was 0-5 last night before Max Pacioretty scored a power-play goal on a 6-on-4 with Laurent Brossoit on the bench for the extra skater with the team down by two goals and the clock winding down.

Pacioretty, who has been one of the few bright spots in his return to the line-up, scored with 1:45 left in the game to make the score 4-3 and that’s all she wrote, as these two sure and expected points were flushed down one of the washes that run under the Strip.

Pacioretty, who scored two of the three VGK goals last night extended his goal streak to five games and his point streak to seven games (seven goals, four assists) since returning from a fractured foot on Nov. 24.

The Flyers win was their first since Nov.16 against the Calgary Flames. It was also their first win in three games under new head coach Mike Yeo.

Even Carter Hart knew the specialty teams were the difference in this game; his post-game comments made that clear: “I think special teams was the difference in the game,” Hart said. “The power play had two goals and the PK just shut them down all night. That was definitely the difference maker.”

Other game notes and quotes

Pacioretty’s five-game goal streak ties the longest in Golden Knights history, matching William Karlsson and Erik Haula who did it during the 2017-2018 season.

Stone’s assist on Pacioretty’s first goal extended his point streak to seven games with three goals and seven assists.

Another important factor, along with the failure of the specialty teams, that may have played a huge role in the final score was the absence of Chandler Stephenson https://www.nhl.com/player/chandler-stephenson-8476905, who centers the first line and is the team’s leading scorer. Stephenson did not play due to personal reasons. Keegan Kolesar started in Stephenson’s place at first-line center before being replaced by Nicolas Roy in the second period. Keegan, with all due respect, is not a first-line center and he was playing on the #1 power play unit, a spot he cannot fill with consistency.

“When we’re playing our best, we’re a four-line team,” VGK coach Peter DeBoer said. “With Stephenson out, we’re a little inexperienced up the middle, so we’re looking for combinations that can compete with those guys. It was a grind all night.”

“We’ve got to find ways to kill penalties. We’ve got to be committed to blocking shots, winning faceoffs, getting the puck 200 feet,” said captain Mark Stone. “We’ve got to be a little more aggressive. Teams are outworking us.”

The order of the post-game presser, which usually presents the players first and Pete DeBoer last, was reversed last night, as DeBoer came out first. This is pure speculation, but hockey players are creatures of habit and I suspect there was a player-only closed-door meeting after the game, which caused the change in the post-game press conference rotation. They know they’re being outworked and maybe there are currently more passengers and not enough players performing up to their expected levels. A closed-door meeting with players only takes place when this is the situation.

In place of the three stars of the game, I will list the three areas where improvement is needed if they expect to win Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

  1. There must be successful zone entry with the puck on their power play.
  2. Establish a forecheck that makes the opposing team work to move the puck out of its defensive zone. This can be accomplished by taking the body and creating hits. They don’t have to be bone crunching hits, just take their time and space away, preventing them from making good outlet passes.
  3. Once inside the zone on the power play, get the puck into the dirty areas of the ice. Making nice passes to each other on the perimeter is not going to beat a goaltender at this level of hockey.

Next game is Sunday Dec 12th vs. Minnesota Wild at T-Mobile. Please note the starting time of 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

Your comments and opinions are welcome here at Las Vegas Advisor. Or you may contact me directly at [email protected], on my Facebook page, the Facebook page of Vegas Hockey Guy. or on Twitter @TheRealJoePane.

One other note. If you’re reading this blog from Facebook or Twitter and would like to access it earlier in the morning before I share it on social media, it’s usually published by 8 a.m. the morning after a game on LasVegasAdvisor.com. What better way is there to enjoy your morning coffee than reading my take on last night’s VGK game.

Karlsson’s Tic-Tac-Toe goal

Pacioretty ties the game 2-2

Pacioretty late goal

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