Vegas so far this season has been a case study in mistake minimization. We were compelled by their 7-1 record to take a closer look at this team; a bunch that has been complied by cast aways from every NHL team. It is our strong assertion that the talent pool in the NHL is already significantly diluted. So how can the Golden Knights, with a third string AHL goalie, and a bunch of AHL/NHL hybrids be consistently winning?
The answer, to us…… drumroll please……., is mistake minimization and special teams. While Vegas may be first in the NHL in GAA, they are 9th in the penalty kill and 13th on the power play. These are certainly respectable numbers, but fail to induce the “wow-factor?” As a result, we are paying attention to two other statistics with this group; total penalty minutes and net penalty margin.
Vegas is 4th in the NHL in PIM taken. They also have had more power plays than their opponents in six of their eight games and are 5-0 in one goal games (albeit three of their total wins have come against BUF and ARZ twice). Quality of opponent notwithstanding, we have proven on this blog that if your team goes to the box less than your opponent does, good things happen and you win one goal games more often than you lose them.
So far Vegas is disciplined, focused on the back end, and is attaining balanced scoring across all lines. Such is what happens when a team buys into a system and no one goes rogue. While we don’t think that Vegas can sustain this pace and should fall off dramatically, their season debut with respect to the strength of a team approach should not go unnoticed by the rest of the league, even though to our surprise, is too often the case. Maybe the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadians would be well advised to watch a couple Vegas game films?