3 things we learned from the Golden Knights’ 7-0 win against the Avalanche
We know one thing: Vegas can score.
The Vegas Golden Knights scored seven goals against the unsuspecting Colorado Avalanche Friday afternoon in a 7-0 blowout, the team’s fifth consecutive win.
Vegas exploded for four goals on six shots in a span of just nine minutes and 26 seconds in the second period. The Knights added three more goals in the third to put the proverbial icing on the cake, but there was plenty of frosting to go around. Check out yesterday’s recap for a closer look at the game.
Here are three things we learned from the dominant win.
Vegas can score, especially in the second period
The Golden Knights can score goals, especially in the second period.
In fact, it seems as though everyone on the team likes this whole goal-scoring thing.
Seven different skaters — David Perron, Oscar Lindberg, Cody Eakin, James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault, Erik Haula and William Carrier — scored goals; both Eakin and Carrier found twine for the first time this season.
Impressively, 21 different players have recorded at least a point for Vegas this season. The only player to suit up in at least one game and not register a point is defenseman Jon Merrill, who was a healthy scratch against Colorado. Both Vadim Shipachyov and Jason Garrison made offensive contributions to the lineup before being reassigned and waived, respectively.
The game against Colorado also serves as further proof that this team eats, breathes and sleeps the second period. The Knights have outscored opponents 15-2 in the second period this season, which includes yesterday’s four-goal outburst.
Goaltending coach David Prior knows what he is doing
Three different goaltenders have recorded at least two wins in the Knights’ first nine games of the season. Safe to say, that is not true of any other team.
Part of that is because no other team has seen its top two goalies go down with injuries this early in the year. The only other team that has employed three goalies is the Coyotes; however, Arizona is 0-9-1.
But to Prior’s credit, and to the credit of Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk, the Knights’ early-season momentum did not vanish when Fleury sustained a concussion Oct. 13 against Detroit. In fact, the team is undefeated since Fleury was placed on injured reserve.
Somehow, two goalies with a combined two previous career NHL starts have gone 5-0-0. Subban won two games and had the lead when he was injured against St. Louis, and Dansk earned the first shutout in franchise history with 32 saves against Colorado for his third career win. The Knights continue to win hockey games regardless of who mans the crease, and the three netminders have a combined .937 save percentage.
It’s hard to know how significant a role Prior has played in each goalie’s success. But at this point, it’s fair to say the man is doing something right, and Vegas hopes he can keep up the good work.
This team is legit
The Knights have 73 games remaining in the 2017-18 campaign, but the team’s play through nine games has been undeniably impressive. This is not just your run-of-the-mill expansion team; Vegas is legit.
Yesterday’s win extended the Knights’ winning streak to five games, making Vegas the first expansion team and third team in NHL history to go on a five-game winning streak in its inaugural season.
After last week’s 3-2 overtime win against St. Louis, Vegas became the first team in NHL history to win six of its first seven games in its inaugural season, and the same is true for winning seven out of eight and now eight out of nine.
At 8-1-0, the Knights are in fourth place in the entire NHL with 16 points through nine games, trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. Plus, Vegas has a game in hand on the Kings and two on the Lightning and Blues.
But it’s more than just the team’s record that is turning heads.
Vegas is tied for third in the NHL in goals per game with an average of 3.78. Also, the team is third in the NHL with a plus-17 goal differential and tied for first with Los Angeles in goals against (19). The Knights’ faceoff winning percentage (53.5) is tied for fifth in the league.
While the 19th-ranked power play (15.4 percent) continues to be an issue for the Knights, the penalty kill has been strong. Going 3-for-3 on the PK against the Avalanche bumped the team to seventh overall at 86.2 percent.
It’s important to recognize that the team’s league-leading PDO (106.55) is responsible for some portion of this success. But at the end of the day, the Golden Knights continue to find ways to win hockey games. Head coach Gerard Gallant’s one-game-at-a-time approach clearly has helped the team stay focused and have fun, and it certainly has been fun to watch the Knights play.
The Golden Knights head to the Big Apple to kick-start a six-game road trip with games against the Islanders and Rangers on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. AT&T Sports Network will cover the games, both of which start at 4pm PT.