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What We Learned: Is it time to worry about Vegas?

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  • What We Learned: Is it time to worry about Vegas?

    but the Golden Knights have been a smashing success., because this is a team that by all rights shouldn’t be as good as they have been and is, in fact,The Vegas story this year has been an amazing one, shaming most of the league’s for giving away so many players who are having such good seasons. Call it luck or a confluence of positive circumstances or whatever else you like

    people have championed not only their powerful home ice advantage, is also having a whopper of a season., Jon Marchessault, but also their ability to turn unsung heroes on other teams — William Karlsson, David Perron, Erik Haula, Colin Miller, Reilly Smith, already one of the more likable guys in the league,All season, Nate Schmidt,into legitimate scoring threats. It doesn’t hurt that Marc-Andre Fleury

    perhaps, and George of the Year., you can basically write Gerard Gallant’s name in for Jack Adams right now,That none of the players on this team will get much love for individual awards a few months from now is, reflective of whatever alchemy they’ve forged together. However, in pen. And it’s probably a toss-up between Steve Yzerman, David Poile

    those who’ve been paying attention have probably noticed that the stories about the Knights’ home cooking are a little less frequent these days. The “aren’t they amazing?” video packages aren’t so common anymore. All talk of what a tough out they’re going to be have faded. And that’s because it’s starting to look like teams have figured them out. they have just three regulation wins in 10 games. They’re losers of four straight in T-Mobile Area,However, the once-proud home of the Vegas Flu.

    the Lightning lost 5 of 7. Nashville opened the season winning just 5 of 12. But the problem for Vegas is that in terms of their “process, and they’re still getting plenty lucky in shooting the puck., since Feb. 13 — look pretty bleak at 5-on-5: They’re 16th in shot attempts,adidas Martin Jones jersey, 19th in shots on goal,But anyone can lose four straight at home. Anyone can lose 6 of 10. It happens. Earlier this year,” they’ve been trending down for a while now. Their numbers in the last 16 games — that is, and 27th in expected goals. The only reason they’re even plugging along a little bit is that Fleury continues to be spectacular,Authentic Alex Pietrangelo jersey, by and large

    this comes at a time when their power play remains quite good, that’s turning into more goals in the back of their net., however, running seventh in the league at 24.4 percent,adidas Vladimir Tarasenko jersey, has crashed and burned, running 74.4 percent and seventh-last in the NHL. Their kill is suddenly worse than Ottawa’s, after spending the previous 55 games at 82 percent. And that’s reflected in the underlying numbers; they’re giving up more attempts, neck-and-neck with Tampa. Their PK,Authentic Carter Hutton jersey, and to no one’s surprise when such a thing happens,Moreover, more high-danger chances, etc.

    they’re plus-3 in actual goals but minus-5.3 in expected goals at full strength. Outperforming their poor play to that extent is the only reason the wheels haven’t well and truly fallen off,Over this period, and one has to logically start wondering how much longer Vegas can last.

    surprisingly good goaltending., and their record in that time is still 9-6-1. This is basically the definition of being a bit lucky, but the thing with Vegas is that this is a slippage of quality that’s led to the worsening results. Other teams that outperformed expectations for a big chunk of the season then regressed — your Torontos and Minnesotas and Calgarys and Colorados and Floridas — were those with sub-50 percent underlying numbers that never really impressed you to watch them but won anyway thanks to a lot of shooting luck and, in the grand scheme of things this may look like a blip on the radar. It’s 16 games of playing poorly,Again, often

    Not so with Vegas. Basically all their underlyings were well above 50 percent for a good chunk of the year and have only started to slip in the last month-plus. The reasons for this aren’t quite clear to me; have teams simply figured out their and 5-on-5 schemes? Are injuries to some key players catching up with them a bit? Could this just be “one of those things?”

    that exacerbates the issue., I think, is “probably.” It’s a combination of factors that can’t be wholly explained except to say the NHL season is long and teams that don’t have a ton of top-end talent and depth eventually get figured out,The answer to all those questions, and when guys like James Neal and Reilly Smith get hurt

    and a number of guys are having career seasons in what not-so-coincidentally are contract years. I’ve also said all along that they were a lot like last year’s Blue Jackets,I’ve said all year that Vegas got a better team than they had any right to if other GMs were smart about their expansion draft approach, which were pretty good for most of the season but made a lot of hay by absolutely pounding on bad teams and getting lucky against good ones. I’ve seen little to dissuade me from either take to this point.

    then, lost in the first round despite getting a lot of hype all season., Dallas, or Anaheim. The Stars are sliding a bit lately as well and Colorado is coming on strong. That would be a tough out for the Golden Knights,The question, becomes what this team looks like come playoff time. They’re still all but assured to win their division — San Jose ended Saturday night six points back with an extra game played — but they’re also probably going to face the better of the two wild card teams. Right now that could be Colorado, home ice or not. It couldn’t be a surprise if they, like last year’s Blue Jackets

    answers., there’s still time for them to turn this around and go back to being what everyone thinks of them being. But they’re quickly running out of track and,In theory, perhaps

    Valterri Filppula scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:49 left, and Philadelphia scored four times in the third period to beat Carolina.

    Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek also scored as the Flyers scored three times in a 5:52 span to rally for the win. Authentic Brent Burns jersey,Michael Raffl added an empty-netter and Alex Lyon stopped 23 shots.

    who entered on a 1-6-1 skid. Philadelphia moved back into third place in the Metropolitan Division,Authentic Martin Jones jersey,Filppula's breakaway goal snapped a 2-2 tie and secured a needed victory for the Flyers,adidas Brent Burns jersey, tied with Columbus but holding the tiebreaker.

    Jaccob Slavin and Jordan Staal scored and Cam Ward made 23 saves for the Hurricanes, who have lost five of six.

    Keith Kinkaid stopped 38 shots for his first shutout of the season to lead New Jersey past Los Angeles.

    who both won later Saturday night., Nico Hischier and Miles Wood each scored for the Devils,Authentic Vladimir Tarasenko jersey, who have won three straight and four of five. New Jersey remained in the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference,Michael Grabner, one point behind Metropolitan Division rivals Philadelphia and Columbus

    Jonathan Quick made 25 saves for the Kings,adidas Alex Pietrangelo jersey,Authentic Jake Allen jersey, who are tied with Anaheim for third in the Pacific.

    Alex Killorn and the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off a rare comeback to knock off their division rival.

    Killorn broke a tie with 10:46 left in the third period and Tampa Bay scored the final four goals to rally for a 4-3 victory over Toronto, stopping the Maple Leafs' four-game winning streak Tuesday night.

    Killorn took a pass from rookie Tony Cirelli and fired in a shot from the slot to put the Lightning ahead after they trailed 3-0 midway through the second.

    "In the intermission we just wanted to stick to our game and just thought about how good it would feel to come back and win this game," Killorn said.

    The Lightning scored three times in the third as they came back from down three or more goals to win in regulation for the fifth time in franchise history — the first time since defeating the New York Rangers on Dec. 23, 2006.

    " coach Jon Cooper said. "Everybody thought it was an extremely winnable game and they went out and played a really,adidas Jake Allen jersey,"The vibe in the room was really good after two (periods), really responsible third period."

    Ryan McDonagh and Nikita Kucherov also scored as Tampa Bay reached 50 wins for the second time in team history. Yanni Gourde had two assists for the Atlantic Division leaders,Victor Hedman, who moved five points ahead of second-place Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

    Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves and set a Lightning record with his 41st victory of the season.

    James van Riemsdyk scored twice for Toronto,adidas Carter Hutton jersey, which fell to 28-2-2 when leading after two periods. Fredrik Andersen returned after missing two games with an upper-body injury and stopped 21 shots in the loss.

    Hedman answered for Tampa Bay with his 13th of the season 59 seconds later to cut into the lead heading to the third period.