Part of being a man is admitting when you’re wrong. When I first started here at The Hockey Writers, I asked myself what was the best way to get the most views and comments on my first article on the website. After two minutes of deep thought, I decided to explain why I thought the Vegas Golden Knights would win it all this year. In my opinion, that made sense; They had not one goalkeeper but two All-Stars. They had the offensive powers of Mark Stone, Max Pasuritti and William Carlson on the roster. Finally, they just signed Alex Pietrangelo, who was removed for a year from leading the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup.
Last night, the Golden Knights did not help my argument at all. They came out flat, unmotivated, and seemed to be tired of the streak; It’s not something you want to see from a team that has a chance of making it to the Stanley Cup Final. In this article, I’ll go over three points from the Golden Knights Game 5 loss to the Montreal Canadiens and how they can fix their mistakes on the way to Game 6.
Insufficient Net-Front attendance
In the recent Golden Knights series, I pointed out that the only way to beat Colorado Avalanche goalkeeper Philip Grobauer was to block him, cause traffic in front of the net, and get pucks into the dirty areas of the front of the goal. Clear. Well, if I say that about Grubauer, I’d like to say it 10 times about Canadian goalkeeper Carrie Price. He showed us why he is still one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. I have to admit that during the regular season, I was convinced that Old Price was officially over and that there was no way he could reprise his award-winning play from 2014 to 2015. Like I said earlier, part of being a man is admitting when you’re wrong, and from Safe to say I was wrong about it. He’s been furious in this qualifier, hitting an 11-5 record so far too As a percentage of keeping 933 and 2.02 goals against the average.
Price is a goalkeeper who, when given a clear view of the shot he’s facing, will stop it 10 times out of 10. The only way to beat a goalkeeper like him is to make a mess around the net. This means pushing bodies to the front of the net, smashing the net, deflecting shots, and making him curl up in the ball to keep his saves. Without it, it would be practically impossible to score on him, as he once again proved that he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
From what I saw last night, Vegas looked tired and unwilling to head to the front of the grid. There was one big opportunity left by Stone, as he fended off the ball from behind the net, walked across the tuck in front of Price, and almost slipped away from him, but ended up running. This was the only commendable scoring opportunity of the match. In my opinion, others have never tested it. There was that goal from Pacioretty in the third inning, but the match was already out of control at that point. Even when Pacioretty scored, rather than serve out pucks and put the bodies in front of the net, the riders chose to go for the usual “disc course” type of play and create an impressive scoring opportunity.
Heading into Game 6, the focus should be on putting two men in front of the net, especially on power games. The whole point of this is to make the life of the defensemen more difficult, which makes the life of Price even more difficult. The Canadians would attack Grid beautifully, and look how it was moving for them: brilliantly.
Good confrontation rate
It’s not all bad news for the Golden Knights though, as they consistently outperformed the Canadians in victorious encounters. In Game 5, the Golden Knights held a 52% showdown win rate, With most of those gains coming from Carlson and Thomas Nozick.
Karlsson had a quiet but blazing streak on the circuit, posting an 83% win percentage. Regardless, the Swede has been offensively quiet, having given up major contributions to the series. If I wasn’t a fan of Vegas, I would have totally forgotten that it made a spot on the list. One of the ways he can improve his scoring chances is to use his speed more and take out those quick shots where he excels. He hasn’t looked more confident lately, but if he sticks to those two basics, I’m sure he can figure something out.
Nosek had a better win percentage last night, up 88% on the showdown circuit. Just like his fellow Swede, he did not participate in the offensive match either, playing a defensive role in the minutes of his fourth streak. At the moment, with the massive absence from the team’s superstars, this could be an opportunity for Nosek to prove his worth as a deep forward, take advantage of the opportunity, and He might earn himself a new contract Once the season is over. And the way he can do that is by holding on to his “courageous and strong-nosed” game and bringing the pucks to the front of the net. Bring it to the crease and press it away. Good things happen when you bring the disk to the network.
Depth needs to be reached
One of the main reasons the Golden Knights have performed so well during the regular season is their depth across the squad. This means that when players spend their free time, players with depth will progress, play great, and contribute strongly to winning. Well, in this series, the stars don’t play well at all, but that goes for depth of players as well.
Players like Jonathan Marchesault, Riley Smith, Carlson and Matthias Janmark all need to do a better job when it comes to contributing to their team’s offensive output. So far, the player who gets the most love is Nicholas Roy, who has looked hungrier than most of his teammates throughout the long streak. Roy scored a massive goal in Game 4 to secure victory for his team and played extensively in all the long series. Let’s hope his teammates use it as an example and hopefully ignite the fire that could lead them to force Game 7.
Marchessault especially needs to be better, because he wasn’t his usual “spit” in this series. His gameplay relies on playing with speed and persistence, something that the Vegas aspect is lacking at the moment. If the Quebec native can find his game in time for tomorrow, I think the Golden Knights have a good chance of forcing Game 7, which will take place on the ice at home.
do or die
Game 6 takes place at the Roaring Home of Canadians on June 24, which is also the date of Saint Jean-Baptiste’s holiday in Quebec, a pretty huge occasion for French Canadians. With this in mind, you can expect the crowd to be more active than usual, as they will be celebrating a regional holiday, which can be an extra exhilarating force to feed the Hab. As a native of Quebec, I know for sure that this is going to be one of the greatest games I will ever experience in my life.