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Just How Much Of A Threat Are The Vegas Golden Knights On The Power Play?
(Photo by Aaron Poole/NHLI)
Las Vegas–With 11 weeks left in the regular season for the Vegas Golden Knights they are currently in second overall league wide with 64 points at 30-11-4 right behind Tampa Bay.
The Golden Knights power play struggles have continued to be an issue of sorts regardless of their 6-2-2 record over the last 10 games played that dates back to when this stretch started vs. the LA Kings in SoCal in December.
In that span, their man advantage success rate has not been a good one at all. They have been on the power play 28 times and have only put the puck in the back on the net 1 time which is at a 3.6% success rate.
Lets see how many shots they put on net over that stretch game for game to see where the problems lies in getting more rubber past the opposing goaltenders.
When they faced off against the Los Angeles Kings back on December 28 at Staples the Golden Knights went 0-5 on the man advantage. In that matchup they produced just 6 quality shots on net that made contact with Jonathan Quick. Among those 6 shots recorded that Quick faced from Vegas, only 2 came from the blueline by defenseman Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore. Result: 3-2 overtime win.
Their matchup against Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs at home on New Years Eve, Vegas saw the power play just three times in the entire game. Their only consistent shooter in that matchup was forward Jonathan Marchessault who recorded two total shots on the man advantage. Result: 6-3 win in regulation.
The first game of 2018, the Golden Knights faced the Nashville Predators where Vegas went a perfect 1-1 on the man advantage. In that contest the Golden Knights put just two good shots on net, one by defenseman Colin Miller and the other by forward Reilly Smith. Smith’s shot saw the back of the net. Result: 3-0 shutout.
They took their game on the road for a quick trip to St. Louis and Chicago for the first time in their history.
When they faced the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center the Golden Knights only had one man advantage opportunity where they put two quality shots on net against Carter Hutton and it was blueliner Miller as the team’s most noticeable shooter as recorded two shots on net. Result: 2-1 loss in regulation.
The following contest in the Windy City at United Center, Vegas had just two power play chances against the Blackhawks. Miller and Schmidt combined for three shots total while William Karlsson was the only forward to record a single shot. Result: 5-4 victory in regulation.
They would come home and play against the New York Rangers for the second time this season. In that matchup to Golden Knights were on the power play just one time in that game. In that contest, Marchessault was only Vegas player to record a shot on net against Ondrej Pavelec. Result: 2-1 win in regulation.
Probably the most anticipated matchup at the beginning of the new year for the Golden Knights was when they welcomed Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers into town after Vegas completed their mandatory bye week.
That night Vegas had six man advantage opportunities which was the second time in this stretch where they would see the power play at least 5 times in a game. This contest saw the Golden Knights put up 9 shots on Cam Talbot. Their first five chances, Vegas put a single shot on each, it was the last one where the Golden Knights would put up 4.
They received contributions from the blueline with Brayden McNabb and Brad Hunt with 1 each. Up front was James Neal, Smith, Karlsson, David Perron, and Marchessault with 7 combined. This effort was much better by comparison to their previous matchups in this stretch. Result: 3-2 overtime loss.
After their short home stand, the Golden Knights went on the road for a 4 game road swing away from “The Fortress” with their first stop in Smashville to take on the Predators. In 4 man advantage opportunities Vegas put up a massive shot total on Juuse Saros, 15 of the 43 that the Golden Knights fired at the Nashville goaltender.
Their top three shooters on the power play were Marchessualt with 6, Karlsson at 3, and Hunt had 2. Miller, Smith, Theodore, and Alex Tuch combined with 4. So the work ethic by Vegas between the Edmonton and Nashville games was a major improvement but they still came up empty for their efforts. Result: 1-0 shutout.
In Tampa Bay, the Golden Knights had just two opportunities on the power play. Marchessault was their only shooter with just one recorded shot on Andrei Vasilevskiy. Result: 4-1 in regulation.
On the other side of the Sunshine State, Vegas took on the Panthers and it was the return of Head Coach Gerard Gallant, Assistant Coach Mike Kelly, Video Coach Tommy Cruz, along with forwards Marchessault and Smith to South Florida for the first time.
Their shot leader of the night was Smith who had 2 on James Reimer while Theodore, Neal, and Marchessault combined for 3 SOG’s.
Overall the blueline has produced 15 shots on net when the Golden Knights are on the power play while the up front the forwards have tallied 32. For the Golden Knights, this equates to to a 0.60 shots per game average when they are on the man advantage.
Going forward Vegas will need to be more aggressive when a power play opportunity comes their way. They are currently at 16.4% on the season on the man advantage with 24 goals to their credit.
Sometimes just throwing shots on net could do the trick and they don’t have to be the perfect ones either. With 37 games remaining in the regular season, there is no reason why the Golden Knights can’t improve their power play numbers.