Golden Knights must abandon shoot-from-anywhere mentality to stave off elimination
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Despite owning a plus-72 shot attempt differential through four games, the Vegas Golden Knights face elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference final. Bad luck can be blamed for some of the Golden Knight’s struggles (particularly on the power play) however, they haven’t been good enough at even strength in any of their three losses. The team has seemingly elected to play the percentages rather than generate shots from in close.
Through four games, they have generated 52 shot attempts and 2 expected goals on a per 60 minute basis. That might look good in comparison to the Stars, who have only generated 46 shot attempts per 60 minutes, but the underdogs have generated expected goals at the same rate as the Golden Knights. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Golden Knights have owned 53 percent of the even strength shot attempts in the series but can only claim 46 percent of the total scoring chances. This is going have to change if the Golden Knights are going to stave off elimination.
In Game 4, Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt led the Golden Knights in the shot attempt department from the blue line, combining for 20 of the teams 69 shot attempts. None of their efforts constituted as high danger shots, or even scoring chances. In fact, in this series, four out of the top six players in terms of shot generation are defensemen and their efforts don’t even add up to one expected goal. The team needs more from its star forward cast, specifically Mark Stone, who has only generated 9 shot attempts at even strength so far in this series.
From a betting perspective, it’s been weeks (if not months) since the Golden Knights were a good bet on the moneyline and nothing has happened to change that. Head coach Peter Deboer will have last change, as the Knights are designated as the home team, and you can expect a full effort out of his team on Monday. However, there is no reason to think that we haven’t seen the best that the Golden Knights have in these last four games and -170 is a steep price to pay for a team that seems to leave things up to chance far too often. Stars plus-150, or nothing, on the moneyline.
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