Knights’ short-handed specialists spread work on penalty kill

Updated October 21, 2018 - 6:51 pm

Brayden McNabb scrolled through the mental Rolodex from his hockey career to put the Golden Knights’ depth of penalty killers into context.

The defenseman came up blank.

“I don’t know if I’ve played on teams where there’s three or four (forward) units and they just roll them over,” McNabb said.

The Knights’ bottom-six is full of forwards who are capable of playing short-handed. Rather than having them fight for the minutes, coach Gerard Gallant is spreading the penalty-killing ice time throughout the group.

After eight games, the Knights have six forwards on pace to log more than 100 minutes of time on the ice while short-handed.

That might be a reflection of the Knights taking too many penalties, but Gallant’s quick-change philosophy also differs from some of the top penalty-killing teams from last season.

“I think most teams have three units is what they usually do,” Gallant said. “I just think there’s a lot of guys that play a two-way game for us. There’s a lot of guys we trust there, and they do the job real well and they get an opportunity to do it.

“It means a lot of when those guys go out there and do their job. It’s a tough job, too. You’re blocking shots. … They do a good job, they work hard and they take a lot of pride in it.”

The Los Angeles Kings led the NHL in penalty killing last season at 85 percent and had three forwards (Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis) play more than 100 minutes while short-handed.

The San Jose Sharks were No. 2 on the penalty kill (84.8 percent) and relied primarily on two forward units with Chris Tierney, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson.

New Jersey, which ranks in the top five in penalty killing through six games after finishing eighth last season, also leans heavily on four forwards to kill penalties.

Last season, the Knights had five forwards (Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Karlsson, Cody Eakin, Reilly Smith and Tomas Nosek) total more than 100 minutes of ice time short-handed.

“They’ve been together for a year now, so the coaches do a great job with teaching points,” said McNabb, who tops all Knights players in short-handed ice time. “They work well together. They get in shot lanes and they use their speed to attack and make things uncomfortable for the other team’s power play. It helps us as defensemen to be able to read off them.”

The Knights have successfully killed 11 straight opposition’s power plays since allowing two goals with the man advantage against Washington’s top-ranked unit in a 5-2 loss Oct. 10.

Bellemare and Nosek lead all Knights forwards in short-handed ice time. Ryan Carpenter and Eakin have earned more penalty-killing shifts, and Gallant also has the luxury of sending Karlsson and Smith over the boards together.

“One of the strengths of this team is two of those units are bottom-six guys,” Bellemare said. “Having bottom six in there, we create ‘I’ve been waiting a while. So, when it’s my time to go, I’m ready to (penalty) kill.’ The more guys we have to devote to the kill the better.”

The Knights blanked Buffalo on six power-play attempts in a 4-1 victory Tuesday and went 2-for-2 against Anaheim on Saturday.

The Ducks had been 4-for-9 on the power play in four road games.

“We have pretty good chemistry from us and we know what to expect from each other, so that helps a lot,” Nosek said. “We have fresh legs and we have a little competition between these players, so it’s always fun.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Have Stellar Second Period Against Oilers
Golden Knights have stellar second period against the Edmonton Oilers on the road. Review-Journal sports writers Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney break down the Knights 6-3 win over the Oilers.
Golden Knights Assistant Coach On Win In Edmonton
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt On Win Against Oilers
Knights coach welcomes Schmidt back to lineup
Coach Gerard Gallant looks for contributions from Nate Schmidt as the defenseman returns to the Golden Knights lineup to start a road trip at Edmonton.
Nate Schmidt talks about his return after the morning skate
Nate Schmidt, returning to the Golden Knights lineup after serving a 20-game suspension, talks about his return after Sunday's morning skate. (Ed Graney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Knights Singing The Blues After Loss To St. Louis
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen and Adam Hill go over the Knights loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Golden Knights Gallant on the team's 4-1 loss to the Blues
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues and says what kind of impact he expects Nate Schmidt to make upon his return.
Coach Gerard Gallant Speaks After Morning Skate
Before playing the St. Louis Blues tonight Gerard Gallant speaks with the media after the Golden Knights morning skate at City National Arena | November 16, 2018.
Coach Gallant Speaks with the Media After Practice
City National Arena | November 15, 2018.
Golden Edge: Fleury Shuts Out Anaheim
Vegas Golden Knights beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-0. Marc-Andre Fleury gets his third shutout on the season in his shiny new pads. Adam Hill, Dave Schoen, and Ben Gotz report from T-Mobile Arena.
Gallant on the Golden Knights win over the Ducks
Gerard Gallant discusses how key the home victory over the Anaheim Ducks was for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Knights after their 5-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks
Vegas Golden Knights players talk about the 5-0 win on their home ice over the Anaheim Ducks.
Gerard Gallant On Haula And Stastny Status
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallants speaks after practice about the status of Erik Haula and Paul Stastny.
Golden Edge: Alex Tuch Interview
Adam Hill and Ben Gotz interview Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch.
Golden Edge Mailbag With Alex Tuch
Golden Knights' Alex Tuch is LIVE in-studio for our VGK Mailbag with reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill!
Golden Edge: November 12 Practice
Ben Gotz and David Schoen discuss Nate Schmidt's return to practice, Gallant's absence, and Erik Haula's injury.
Nate Schmidt On Suspension
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt talks about his suspension.
Golden Edge: Knights Coming Home After Loss To Boston
Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen goes over the Knights loss to the Boston Bruins.
Golden Edge: Pacioretty makes his return to Montreal
Max Pacioretty makes his return to Montreal, but it is former Golden Knight Tomas Tatar who scores the game winner for the Canadiens defeating the Knights 5-4. David Schoen reports from Montreal.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Senators On The Road
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights win against the Senators.
Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt discusses his suspension
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt discusses his suspension after practice in Ottawa (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Toronto loss
Gallant on Pacioretty
Gallant on how season has gone
Pacioretty on possible return
Golden Edge: Knights Shutout the Hurricanes
The Golden Knights defeat Carolina 3-0, with Marc-Andre Fleury marking his 50th career shutout. Adam Hill and Ed Graney report from T-Mobile Arena.
Marc-Andre Fleury and William Carrier on the Knights Win Over Carolina
November 3, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena.
Coach Gallant Presser
Gerard Gallant speaks after the Knights defeat Carolina 3-0 at T-Mobile Arena November 3, 2018.
Golden Edge: Knights Feeling Blue After Loss In St. Louis
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Gallant and Marchessault on Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault comment on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marchessault on Perron
Gallant on consistency after a loss to the Nashville Predators
Coach Gerard Gallant says the Golden Knights are playing well in stretches, but consistency has been a problem. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fleury on commercial
Marc-Andre Fleury talks about a commercial that features him in disguise as Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Fleury on wig
Marc-Andre Fleury puts on a blond wig at the end of practice to get some laughs.
Golden Edge: Knights Fall To Predators
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Golden Edge Mailbag - October 30, 2018
Adam Hill and Ben Gotz answer your burning questions about the Golden Knights.
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like