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Carrier-Bellemare-Reaves Show Off Model Golden Knights Hockey in 3-1 Win

October 21, 2018, 5:09 AM ET [0 Comments]
Sheng Peng
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There were "a lot of things that we have to do for the rest of the year," said Gerard Gallant of Tuesday's slump-busting 4-1 victory over the Sabres.

Saturday's 3-1 roasting of the Ducks was a continuation of the Golden Knights' resurgence. They pounded John Gibson with 45 shots, while giving up just 18.

Gallant did not shy away when asked if this effort represented what he wanted to see out of his team for the rest of the season.

"I liked everything tonight," he asserted.

Winning Plays

From their first shift to their last, the fourth line of Ryan Reaves, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and William Carrier played model Vegas hockey in all three zones.

This was their opening shift, after the Knights' first power play:

Off the lost offensive zone draw, Carrier (28) pounces on Hampus Lindholm (47).

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Carrier's quickness and stick are key to taking away breakout options; a slower forecheck would've given Lindholm at least the choice of skating it behind the net. Instead, Lindholm has to shoot it up the boards.

Jon Merrill (15) recognizes Lindholm's predicament and pinches on Brandon Montour (26), who is playing forward because of an icing. As he should, Reaves (75) covers for Merrill. From the right point, Reaves rims the loose puck back in.

Carrier fetches it on the opposite wall. He throws it toward Gibson.

Reaves and Merrill have switched back to their natural positions; Reaves is first on the puck, which is now back on the right wall. He throws it deep again.

This is monotonous work, but somebody's got to do it. Not every forward trio can be the William Karlsson line.

For Reaves-Bellemare-Carrier, grinding is how they're most effective. All this toil bears fruit too:

View post on imgur.com

Carrier's ferocious forecheck forces Josh Manson (42) into a delay of game penalty.

Carrier cracked a big shit-eating grin when asked if he could sense when a defenseman is tensing up, bracing for his forecheck.

"Yeah, you know it right away."

Moving forward, in their final shift before Jonathan Marchessault's empty-netter, the fourth line flashed 200 feet of winning hockey.

After the Anaheim dump-in, Ryan Getzlaf (15) and Pontus Aberg (20) are able to pry the puck away from Carrier along the wall. The Ducks attempt to start their own cycle, down just one goal with two minutes left.

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Montour retrieves the rim. Critically, Bellemare (41) covers the point for Reaves, allowing the winger to line up the encroaching Montour.

View post on imgur.com

Montour is forced to give it up to Getzlaf in the opposite corner. Bellemare is quietly important once again. Carrier knows he can go all out to stop Getzlaf along the wall because Bellemare is covering the slot/other point, while Nick Holden (22) is closing in on the corner.

View post on imgur.com

Carrier deflects Getzlaf's pass, Bellemare jumps on it, which leads to a terrific example of why Gallant can roll four lines: They all can play fast. Bellemare sucks Aberg toward him before delivering a soft backhand pass that Carrier is able to pick up in stride. Carrier blows through the neutral zone, in part because Bellemare has bought him an extra split-second by luring Aberg away from the middle of the ice.

While this doesn't lead to anything substantial in the offensive zone, the fourth line is able to salt away more than 30 seconds of valuable time on the cycle. They're also able to change up the defensive pairing and 2/3 of the forwards before an exhausted Getzlaf recovers the puck and harmlessly tosses it down the ice.

"You can't go left, you can't go right," smiled Carrier, when asked about the Carrier-Reaves one-two punch on the forecheck.

Hopefully, spotlighting the fourth line here doesn't take away from how well the entire team played. Every forward group was consistent and contributed a memorable, game-changing shift.

It was model Vegas hockey, four lines rolling with quick, alert two-way play.

The Golden Knights may not be back in full effect until Alex Tuch, Nate Schmidt, and Paul Stastny return, but their last two efforts have been impressive. A good team can play good hockey without its best players in the line-up.


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