Vegas Golden Knights Home Woes Continue To Plague The Team

It is no secret that the Vegas Golden Knights have been a better team on the road than on home ice this year. The Vegas Golden Knights’ home game woes continue, and now it has cost them the top spot in the Pacific Division. Their cushion has quickly evaporated as the Seattle Kraken and Los Angeles Kings are right on their heels. It will be a grind the rest of the season, but home cooking was sour-tasting in this crucial seven-game homestand.

Vegas Golden Knights Home Woes Continue

This is a homestand that the team will want to forget. They went 3-4, taking six out of 14 possible points. In addition, the club got outscored 20-16 at T-Mobile Arena. The team’s home games have plagued them, as in those seven games they allowed the first goal in four of them. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and the players are searching for answers on how to right the ship.

What Has Gone Wrong For Vegas

During this road trip, the team suffered a significant blow. Captain Mark Stone went down with a lower-body injury and has yet to return. Vegas has battled through injuries all year, and the team has always had someone step up in their absence. However, that has not been the case this time.

After the conclusion of the game against the Detroit Red Wings, Cassidy went on to say, “I think we’ve had passengers lately, guys that we rely on that need to be better.” He also went on to say that the team has had guys step in and wants players to chip in, especially with the key players out of the lineup. But there is one player in particular that Cassidy wants to see take charge. 

Jack Eichel

Granted this team has great depth and core pieces in Chandler Stephenson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith. But with the absence of Mark Stone, there is one player that Cassidy wants to see take the initiative; Jack Eichel. Cassidy went on to say this about his star centre:

To his point he is correct. Eichel did miss time in December. But at the beginning of the year, he was a machine. In the first two months of the season he was dominant, tallying up 26 points in those two months.

October: 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points

November: 7 goals 9 assists 16 points.

His dominance was progressing. His shooting percentage shot up on a month-to-month basis (11.4 to 13.0).

Eichel has the second-best Corsi For (52.08) among centres on the team. Good things happen when he is on the ice and on his game. When on the ice, Vegas has an expected goals share of 55.77%. And given the quality of the chances, Eichel is second among centres with 15 high-danger goals.

Hockey is getting meaningful, and the race is on. Cassidy wants to see one of his best players lead by example. 

What Needs To Go Right

When it comes to leadership on this team, it is limitless. One player of that calibre is defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. The former captain of the St. Louis Blues went on to speak about the recent skid and what they need to improve on.

He is not wrong. Over the last seven games, Vegas has been chasing the game more than controlling it. They have the 10th worst possession numbers (48.67 Corsi For), and the seventh lowest XGF% (45.90). Meaning they have not generated enough chances and are defending more than they are attacking. Opposing teams are having more scoring chances against them (164-142), and are also getting outplayed in the high-danger area.

Pietrangelo also emphasized, “It starts with work. We get into it later in the games… that’s the desperation we have to have from the start of the game.” He also emphasized that they need to go to work the right way and attack as a five-man unit when on the ice. And given the way they have played, he is not wrong in that regard.

The Final Home Game

There were no passengers in this game. The Golden Knights were riding a three-game losing streak, and the message was clear after last game. Despite Vegas’ home games not going their way, they ended the stand on a high note. Playing against a highly talented Washington Capitals team, they got off to a fast start scoring the first two goals. The sense of urgency was there from the start and they managed to secure the victory by a score of 6-2. Contributions came from everywhere, highlighted by two Paul Cotter goals.

The Road Ahead

With the Vegas Golden Knights home woes, it is a blessing they are hitting the road. Vegas is a much better road team this season, posting a record of 15-3-2. They have performed better on the road than at home, and this bodes well as the gap is closed on them. With the Kraken, Kings, and Edmonton Oilers right on their heels, hitting the reset button on the road could do them some good. They’ll get their first road matchup Sunday night against the Arizona Coyotes.

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