The Vegas Golden Knights dropped another one. This phrase is getting a lot of use this year, isn’t it? Last year, it took Vegas 39 games to lose ten games in regulation. This year, it’s a feat accomplished in 18 games. That’s not a great sign.
But don’t blame this one on Malcolm Subban. Vegas got out-possessed 59-55 in terms of Corsi across all strengths and 44-38 at 5-on-5; Vegas got outshot (29-27 at 5-on-5) and Vegas took far too many penalties (giving Boston several 5-on-3 opportunities and seven power plays). Somehow, Boston only score on two of their attempts on the man advantage.
Subban made as many saves as he possibly could have, but Vegas’ defense is looking like a real problem and the discipline just wasn’t Vegas-like throughout the game. This wasn’t a good effort by any stretch of the imagination on the Golden Knights’ end.
In a must-win game, the Knights were unable to step up and get back on track. Vegas needs to solve these issues fast.
The Bruins scored the first goal of the game less than three minutes in, with Danton Heinen getting the puck past Subban. Here’s that play:
GOAL. Danton Heinen scores on Boston's first shot of the game. pic.twitter.com/RdhdKSZsd0— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 12, 2018
That play got started after a less-than-stellar shift by the new fourth line (the old third line). Neither Brad Hunt nor Nick Holden can make a play on the puck, and Heinen gets a pass and tips it in.
Then Subban came way out of his net for the second goal against. That’s the end of one, with the Golden Knights down 2-0. It does not improve from there. Brad Marchand puts it in early on the 5-on-4 lingering power play to start the second:
GOAL. Brad Marchand makes it 3-0. pic.twitter.com/0fYIKH6GzO— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 12, 2018
I do not understand what anybody on that penalty kill is doing. But especially Pacioretty, who ends up about ten feet away from the play when the goal is scored. Probably could have been helpful for him to be closer to the action there.
That’s game. Even though the Golden Knights managed to get another goal from the new and improved Cody Eakin and Vegas got many chances after that, Jaroslav Halak stonewalled them. Here’s the Knights’ goal if you’re feeling optimistic and want hope for a brighter tomorrow:
GOAL. Cody Eakin gets Vegas on the board. What an awesome effort from Alex Tuch to set the whole thing up. pic.twitter.com/0Zrl6aSNTm— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 12, 2018
I want to point out, in addition to the work that Tuch puts in on this play, that Eakin makes a spectacular play in the neutral zone to put pressure on John Moore, leading to Tuch’s takeaway. Good two-man effort there by the human embodiment of Gritty and Alex “as good as Ryan Reaves” Tuch.
Also, here’s Vegas getting burned on their third allowed 5-on-3 power play of the game:
GOAL. Some gorgeous passing eventually leads to a Pastrnak goal. Boston now leads 4-1. pic.twitter.com/sff5DQ78Ex— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 12, 2018
This one doesn’t feel great. Three 5-on-3 chances given to the Bruins, the third-best power play in the league entering the game. The Golden Knights are spectacularly lucky that the Bruins only scored two power-play goals in this game, but it also shows that the penalty kill puts the work in and if they didn’t spend so much time killing, probably would have been fine.
It’s been pointed out this season that turnovers are a rapidly growing problem. The Golden Knights gave up nine across all strengths tonight, including eight at 5-on-5. Two each from Colin Miller, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin. Miller leads the team in 5-on-5 giveaways this season with 13, while Pacioretty and Eakin are tied for fifth with eight apiece. At least they’re consistent? (Paul Stastny technically leads the team with one in three games, but Deryk Engelland is the real truth, with just two in 12 games).
The Knights had just five takeaways as well at 5-on-5, two from each of Tuch and William Karlsson. You don’t win games if you don’t win the turnover battle, and the Golden Knights really didn’t.
Discipline has to be better across the board, as you’ve already heard from the Golden Knights themselves by now. That’s not been a problem for Vegas so far this season, and it should return to not being a problem, but if it doesn’t, even with Vegas’ talented penalty kill, that’s a big problem on top of numerous other big problems.
The Golden Knights had a decent shot chart throughout this game:
It’s telling that despite 38 shots on goal for the Golden Knights in this game, just one goal went in. While that’s a testament to Halak, it’s also a testament to Vegas’ luck (or lack thereof). The 14 high-danger chances achieving just one goal is the telling marker in this game. The same luck the Golden Knights have been dealing with for the past 17 games before this one.
Things just keep getting worse. Luck may have run out in Las Vegas.