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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 NEW JERSEY DEVILS 3 (15-11-4 34 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights took on the New Jersey Devils on a back to back, and with a new player in their lineup. Vegas would be forced to stop and block a barrage of New Jersey shots in the 1st period. The Devils would take advantage of a poor line change by the Golden Knights and take the 1-0 lead.

The newest Golden Knight would get Vegas right back in the game early in the 2nd period. Chandler Stephenson scored his 4th of the season and his 1st as a Golden Knight tying the game 1-1. The Devils would regain the lead later in the period giving his team a 2-1 edge.

Jonathan Marchessault took over the game himself and scored a third period hat trick, giving his team the lead 4-3. Vegas fought off a 6-on-5 empty net situation and picked up their second win on the road trip.

Vegas’ record improves to 15-11-4 and extend their winning streak to four games. The Golden Knights will finish off their road trip on Thursday against the New York Islanders. Game time is scheduled for 4PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A far from perfect effort from Golden Knights was good enough to beat the lowly Devils. Vegas came out flat in the first period and couldn’t establish much of any offense. Defensively they hung in there despite allowing 17 shots. As the game went on they got better and better with the best performance of the season from Jonathan Marchessault. Subban played well in his fifth straight game and the new guy Chandler Stephenson was solid for his debut. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center

  • VGK December dominance

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Chandler Stephenson
** Alex Tuch
* Jonathan Marchessault

 

Kelly McCrimmon And Chandler Stephenson Meet With Media Following Trade

GM Kelly McCrimmon met with the Vegas media at Prudential Center in New Jersey to discuss the acquisition of Chandler Stephenson. Also, Stephenson chats about the crazy day he’s had getting traded from Washington to Vegas.

Chandler Stephenson Add Is All About Depth

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night the Golden Knights shipped out a 2021 5th round pick to add 25-year-old center Chandler Stephenson from the Washington Capitals.

Stephenson is a bit of a swiss-army knife type forward who is versatile enough to play all over the lineup and in all situations. With Washington, he was primarily deployed on the fourth line, but throughout his 168 games, he saw time on all four lines including a quick stint with Alex Ovechkin on the top line.

What Stephenson is known most for is his penalty killing. In that regard, he’s close to elite.

There are 89 centers in the NHL with at least 30 minutes of penalty-killing time on ice this season, and Stephenson’s numbers are very good. He ranks first in that entire group in high danger chances allowed per 60 minutes with only 1.74. He also ranks in the top-three in the NHL in Corsi against (66.06), scoring chances allowed (31.29) and expected goals allowed (3.6) on the penalty kill. He’s 13th amongst all centers in goals against per 60 at 3.48. –Jesse Granger, The Athletic

The add isn’t just about penalty killing though.

It’s also about replacing Cody Eakin during the injury. It’s also about finding a new center to push Nic Roy back to the AHL where he may belong at the moment. It’s also about adding versatility to the roster. It’s about all of it.

Let me break it down group by group.

Centers
Karlsson, Stastny, Eakin, Nosek, Glass, Roy, Stephenson

As opposed to teams of VGK’s past, this team is not loaded with centers playing wing. Most of the Golden Knights wingers, especially when Eakin is out, are natural wingers, while every center is playing center. There’s a lack of versatility that both Gallant and the front office like to have on their roster. By adding Stephenson, who has played a lot of center and a lot of wing, they get a guaranteed NHL caliber player (something Roy is not yet) who can fill in at center when needed, or play on the wing if necessary. He’s an insurance policy for three different guys. For Cody Eakin if he’s hurt for a while, for Cody Glass if he isn’t physically strong enough to play center yet, and for Nic Roy if he’s just not quite ready to be a full-time NHLer.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS HAVE ACQUIRED CHANDLER STEPHENSON (F) VIA TRADE

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have acquired Chandler Stephenson from the Washington Capitals for a 2021 5th round pick. Stephenson is a 25-year-old forward who was drafted by George McPhee in the 3rd round of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Stephenson’s best season was in 2017-18 when he scored 18 points (6G, 12A) in 67 games. He is a bottom-six type player who kills penalties and plays about 10 minutes a night.

Stephenson has one year left on his contract at $1,050,000. He is an RFA with arbitration rights this summer.

Darren Dreger reports the Golden Knights have given up a 5th round pick in exchange for Stephenson.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 NEW YORK RANGERS 1 (14-11-4 32 PTS)

Recap: The Vegas Golden Knights came in the historic Madison Garden looking to take care of business. NY native Alex Tuch got things going immediately for the Golden Knights, scoring two goals in the first 3:50 of the game.

Reilly Smith continued Vegas’ offensive attack early in the 2nd period with a nasty backhand over Henrik Lundqvist, making it 3-0. Max Pacioretty have Vegas a four goal lead a minute and a half later. After the first 30 minutes of the game, the Golden Knights had two even-strengthened goals, and two power play goals. The Rangers would get on the board but Vegas would hold a firm 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of action.

The Golden Knights defended and secured their three goal lead in the 3rd period. Vegas only shot four times on net but fought off a handful of Ranger power plays. The Golden Knights finished of New York 4-1.

Vegas improves their record to 14-11-4 with their first victory of a three game road trip. The Golden Knights get right back on the ice tomorrow against the New Jersey Devils. Puck drop is scheduled for 4P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights came out on fire to start this one. Alex Tuch was an absolute monster playing in his natural right-wing position and William Carrier and Cody Glass looked much better on that line as well. The defensive system was far from perfect, but Subban and a bunch of missed chances by the Rangers kept the game at bay. Overall, it was the kind of game the Golden Knights needed for their confidence. They jumped out to an early lead, and despite taking a bunch of penalties were able to coast to the finish. Not sure I would call it dominant, but it was absolutely a good enough effort to beat an average team.  (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden

  • More on the acquisition of Chandler Stephenson

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Malcolm Subban
** William Carrier
* Alex Tuch

 

Clearing Rebounds Should Be Easier And Better In New System, But Also More Important

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

VGKD 2.0 is 2-0-0 with a pair of thrilling victories that went beyond regulation. Against Arizona, Vegas allowed just one goal and it came from an incredible shot by a defenseman who fooled Malcolm Subban by even shooting it in the first place.

The difference in how the Golden Knights now defend is only six periods old, but it sure looks like it is making a major difference… even if the head coach doesn’t want to admit.

What new system? -Gerard Gallant

Obviously, we’ll be keeping a close eye on it during this road trip against a trio of teams that play three majorly different styles. After two games though, one particular pro of the system has jumped off the ice, and that’s clearing rebounds.

Against the Coyotes, Vegas was terrific controlling second chance opportunities in the slot. No matter where the first shot came from, the Golden Knights had two or three bodies around the rebound and quickly removed the puck from danger before any Coyote could get a second look at net.

If there’s a shot from the outside we want to make sure there’s not a second shot, a second chance. We’ve always talked about it, even in the old system, winning those net-front battles and making sure we tie up sticks and keeping those chances to the outside so they don’t get two, three, or four whacks at it in front. -Nic Hague

According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Golden Knights allowed just four rebound chances the entire game against Arizona. Only one was a truly dangerous chance. It happened to come in the waning seconds of the game and could have been a disaster had it found its way past Subban, but all in all Vegas was excellent in finding loose pucks and sending them to safety.

Our team cleared them really well. That’s an important thing for us. Give up shots from the outside and then do what you can on the rebounds. -Malcolm Subban

Even though Gallant doesn’t want to make a big deal of the change, he was very complimentary of his team’s work in front of their own net.

I think anytime you can box guys out and keep them from second and third chances in front of your net, it is going to help your team win games. A lot of teams are going through stuff like that, and if you can keep them on the outside you have a better chance to win and keep the puck out of your net. -Gallant

Every Golden Knight I’ve talked to about the new system has mentioned that they expect it to get better and better as they get more games and more practices under their belt. Yesterday they had a full practice at the Prudential Center (where they are playing tomorrow) and Gallant specifically mentioned working on “d-zone coverages.”

The Golden Knights have stacked two wins in a row four times prior to these last two, but have gone 0-3-1 in their attempts to win a third straight. They’ll have that chance again tonight, and if VGKD 2.0 works as well at MSG as it did at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, they should be able to get it done.

Carp: Knights Will Be Tested On Big Apple Road Trip

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2019-20 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

NEW YORK — When the NHL schedule came out last July and the Golden Knights were on the docket for three games in the New York metropolitan area, two things jumped out at me:

One, the Knights were going to have to go to Long Island for the first time when they played the Islanders on Dec. 5 after playing in Brooklyn the first two seasons.

Two, this was a trip I wanted to try and make.

Second things first. I’m here amid the cold, the rain and the snow for the entire week. And yes, the game at Nassau Coliseum Thursday became the toughest of the three, which you couldn’t say was the case back in July.

My initial thought was the Devils game Tuesday in Newark would be the toughest for Vegas. New Jersey had significantly upgraded its roster. It had the No. 1 overall draft pick in Jack Hughes. Hell, the Devs even snagged Nikita Gusev from the Knights and there was a lot of hand-wringing among the SinBinners that Gusev was going to emerge as a superstar in Jersey and replace Filip Forsberg as George McPhee’s biggest gaffe as a hockey executive.

The Rangers? They’re on a youth kick, though veteran center Mika Zibanejad has had some nice games against the Knights. Still, the Knights had won in Madison Square Garden before and they figured to put enough offensive pressure against the Blueshirts’ defense corps and get a couple pucks past Henrik Lundqvist (if he plays), or more likely Alexandar Georgiev. Plus a matchup between the pipes of The King vs. Marc-Andre Fleury, both of who are headed to the Hall of Fame, would be worth the flight to the Big Apple.

As for the Islanders, I thought they would regress after last year’s amazing turnaround, especially losing goalie Robin Lehner, who was nothing short of outstanding. Of the three games, I thought this would be the best chance for the Knights to pick up two points on the trip.

That was my thought process back in July. Obviously, things have unfolded quite a bit differently since to change my mind.

The Devils may be the NHL’s biggest disappointment. The Rangers are inconsistent and despite having a winning record, struggle to finish games.

The Islanders? They figure to be the toughest opponent on the Knights’ three-game roadie which begins Monday at Madison Square Garden with the Rangers and continues Tuesday in Newark against the Devils. And not just because they’re currently the best of the three teams the Knights will face, their building is a bitch to play in.

Mat Barzal, the Isles’ all-star center, said while the team has had success both in Brooklyn and at the Coliseum, he admits the vibe is a little different at the place Islander fans call “Fort Neverlose.”

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Vegas Handles Arizona’s “Mucky” Style Of Play

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After their 2-1 loss in shootouts, the Arizona Coyotes spoke positively about their performance.

We played a good hockey game. We had to kill six penalties, we only had one power play. We deserved better. I’m proud of the guys. They played hard. -Rick Tocchet, Arizona Coach

The Coyotes have been one of the best teams this season in limiting opponents’ goals. They deployed the same strategy yesterday in Vegas. Holding the Golden Knights to one regulation goal was exactly what Arizona intended.

You have to make them defend. They got a lot of skill up front. You get those skill guys playing defense and eventually they’ll make some mistakes and a little bit more tired going up ice. We did a good job staying on top of them. -Jason Demers, Arizona Defenseman

Over the past two seasons, the Golden Knights have essentially owned the Coyotes compiling a record of 6-3-0 over 9 games. This season, Arizona came in with a different philosophy. One that would give them a better chance against the bigger, more skilled Vegas club.

We know they’re so quick and offensively very strong. The best way to play them is to make it a mucky game and make them play defense. I think we’ve learned to just play them and play them hard. I think we’ve done a good job of staying on top of them this season. -Jason Demers

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #178: System Activation

Live from the T-Mobile Store on the Strip we chat about the Coyotes game, the new defensive system, and the road ahead for the Golden Knights. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • The effects of the new system
  • Are the Golden Knights scoring enough
  • Malcolm Subban’s on a winning streak
  • The next turn in the Zykov saga
  • Is Taylor Hall realistic?

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 ARIZONA COYOTES 1 (13-11-4 30 PTS) – SO (2-1)

Recap: It was the Golden Knights annual Friday after Thanksgiving matinee, and this year the Arizona Coyotes were the opponents. Both teams played well defensively shutting down the others offensive rushes. After 20 minutes of play the game remained scoreless.

Alex Tuch would open the scoring on a nice power play deflection. Tuch made it 1-0 with his second goal of the year. Arizona would tie it up late in the 2nd period. The game was tied 1-1 after two frames of hockey.

The 3rd was a stalemate for most of the period. Both teams fought up multiple power plays and the game was forced to go to overtime, and eventually a shootout where Alex Tuch netted the game winner.

Vegas’ record improves to 13-11-4 with their 2-1 shoutout victory against Arizona. The Golden Knights head back on the road for a three game set in the NYC area. Vegas will face off Monday against the NY Rangers. Puck drop is scheduled for 4P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The new defensive system worked incredibly well against a solid team in Arizona. Vegas kept most of the shots to the outside and cleared rebounds as well as they have all year. Offensively they sputtered not generating many 5-on-5 chances but were able to draw five penalties to help control the game.

Overtime was much better with a number of solid chances with the best coming off the stick of Jon Merrill. However they couldn’t crack Darcy Kuemper, who was incredible all night.

The Golden Knights took care of business in shootout as they have done so far this year getting two goals and two saves. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena

  • Podcast/Periscope live from the T-Mobile Store on the Vegas Strip after the game

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nic Hague
** Alex Tuch
* Malcolm Subban

 

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