Last night’s Vegas Golden Knights game housed everything a hockey fan could want out of a hockey contest; big saves at the right times, huge offensive production and some physical play. Seeing as the game had a combined nine goals, I will be focusing on the offensive part of last night’s game for the Golden Knights and what I came to realize about it. With so much to unpack, let’s hop straight into it.
Flow/Quick Puck Movement
Now, one thing you may not know about me is that aside from professional sports, I am also into philosophy. Acclaimed Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s most famous contribution to the world of academia was his discovery of the concept of “Flow.” “What is flow?” you may be asking yourself. You also may be asking “why is this guy giving me a lesson on philosophy and psychology? Just get to the game takeaways.” Well, to answer your first question, “Flow” is the total immersion of one’s self in a given activity, leading to increased production, efficiency and effectiveness. Now, to answer your second question as to why this matters; the Golden Knights’ offense was in a state of “Flow” last night.
Their puck movement in the opposing zone was superb, which was extremely evident on the first goal of the game, courtesy of Reilly Smith. The way in which they were able to cycle the puck, keep their feet moving and create chances, all in a quick manner, were what absolutely killed the San Jose Sharks’ defence last night. Even in overtime, Max Pacioretty did an amazing job of gliding a certain way to get open at the exact right spot in the high slot, which in turn ended in him receiving the puck from Alex Pietrangelo and subsequently burying the game winner. The Golden Knights may not know how to protect a lead, but they sure do have high offensive hockey I.Q.
Marchessault Consistently Creating
I wanted to bring to light the amazing performance of one of Vegas’ more underrated players this season. Jonathan Marchessault has been great, producing consistent offensive production throughout the first 20 games of the season. This solid production is due to the way he plays game in and game out.
As fellow THW writer and Vegas correspondent Ben Fisher wrote in one of his most recent articles on Marchessault, “Beneath the goofball exterior lies a guy with a major chip on his shoulder (and a temper) stemming from years of being overlooked.” This “chip on his shoulder” is exactly what fuels him and his consistent offensive output for Vegas. In last night’s outing, I was amazed at how it seemed, every time he was on the ice, he was creating at least one offensive chance.
Now, consistently creating offensive chances adds up over the course of the game, and it definitely paid off for Marchessault, as he collected an assist yesterday night. Now with 15 points on the season, Marchessault will look to keep producing for his beloved Golden Knights.
Our last offensive takeaway from last night’s game comes courtesy of Golden Knights first-line center Chandler Stephenson. Last night, he really surprised me and impressed me with his play throughout the game. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t entirely confident in his capabilities at the beginning of the season, but he has proved me, and many others, wrong and I am happy because of that.
So, why is he thriving? My opinion is his speed. Not just his foot speed, but the speed at which he reads plays and makes decisions with the puck. His ability to beat the defenseman on the outside while entering the zone was evident last night, and caused some real headaches for the Sharks’ defense.
Last night he scored a beautiful goal, and created many more offensive chances for the Golden Knights. Already with 13 points this season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him put up a 35-40 point season. One thing is for sure; the team got a steal in Stephenson.
Onto the Next
The Golden Knights faceoff against the Sharks once again on Saturday night. They will look to sweep the mini two-game series against their California rivals before they head off to Minnesota to face the Wild on Monday. All in all, we should be in for some great games of hockey.