The Golden Knights lost games to the leaders Calgary Flames and Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. Vegas wins games as it should, and while the loss to Calgary was obvious, the VGKers came close to getting the Colorado game to the OT.
Cassidy’s defensive system has shown that it can be effective when deployed correctly but remains a work in progress as players tweak and change habits. The power play is showing signs of life for the first time for good, but PK is currently struggling. The new architecture and systems led to an adjustment period, but the team still won.
The priority in the Cassidy system is to limit high-risk opponent opportunities and this has been working so far. Vegas is eighth in the NHL in HDC limitation, with 10 HDC per 60 minutes played.
This improvement has Vegas running at 2.21 xGoals per 60 minutes played which is seventh in the NHL.
Vegas only lost xG against and HDC against a 5v5 battle in one of their six matches which was a loss to Calgary.
Here are some early notes:
Crisis What crisis? Vegas should have spoiled their season due to a goaltending crisis when it was announced that Robin Lehner would miss the season due to hip surgery.
GM Kelly McCrimmon was traded for Aden Hill with who Logan Thompson 929 for a team that ranks sixth in the NHL. The duo allowed just 13 goals through six games and their goalkeeping was good enough in every game to give Vegas a chance to win. The team’s save percentage in 5v5 is 0.949 well above the league average of .919. A great start for these two young goalkeepers.
SCHEDULE: Three of the next four games on the Vegas schedule are against teams that missed the playoffs last season. After that it was a five-game wild ride and three of those five games are also against teams that failed to qualify last season. If Vegas continues to win the games it has to win, there’s a chance the team can build a decent early record before Thanksgiving and find itself inside the playoff picture.
register: Phil KesselHe, barring unforeseen circumstances, will tie the record for consecutive regular season games played on a Monday at 989. Then he’ll have a chance to break it on Tuesday when the team travels to San Jose to play the Sharks. Kessel has shown no outward signs of pressure, but one has to think he would like to be behind him so he can just focus on producing and winning matches with his teammates.
revive stone: Mark Stone He got off to a strong start and his game continued to build after off-season back surgery. Stone now has one goal and five points over six games and has gone to the coaching staff and asked to be on the kill unit. He’s an elite killer but in limited action last year due to a back injury he hasn’t seen much in a short time. That Stone is willing to take on a bigger part of the action is a very positive sign for Vegas.
Triple threat: Jonathan Marquessault He leads the Golden Knights in goals, shots, and shooting percentage as he looks to chase another 30-goal season. Marchesault already has five goals, 21 shots and has a 23.8 shooting percentage. Marchesault plays on the third line with William Carlson And they have so far been very effective in creating match problems for the opposition coaching staff. Carlson ranks third among Vegas forwards with an average time on the ice of 17:11 while Marchesault ranks fifth at 16:13 per game. Carlson already has two goals and four points on the season. It took until December 10 last season for him to score four points.
BK Blues: Penalty Kill Started the season very well but has run into some water lately. Over the last three games, VGK PK has allowed four goals and now average season 68.75%. Vegas took six consecutive minor penalties in the second half against Calgary and eventually broke the wall as he allowed two goals on PP against him. Vegas only took one penalty against Winnipeg and was perfect on PK but then gave up two more goals on PP against Colorado on Saturday night. The Avs have the best PP in the NHL with an impressive 53 percent success rate.
Power Up: Cassidy continues to adjust his people in play and strength. He recently flipped Alex Pietrangelo And the Shea Theodore into different units as well as moving the stone in the middle of the ice. Stone set up Marchessault on Saturday with a neat backhand from the middle of the hole.
PP before changes:
44.19 chance / 60 (26)
PP after changes:
Chances 74.88 / 60 (5th)
Stevie in the Circle: Chandler Stephenson He is developing into one of the best facing men in the NHL. Stevenson has a career high of 63.5 percent in tackles, sixth in the NHL among players with 50 tackles, and third in the elite class of centers with 100+ tackles this season.