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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 ARIZONA COYOTES 1 (Pre-Playoffs Exhibition Game)

Recap: It was the Golden Knights first game action since March, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the first period. Vegas played vintage Golden Knights hockey scoring two goals on special teams. Reilly Smith scored both goals, one shorthanded and the other on the power play. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all five shots from Arizona holding a 2-0 Vegas lead.

The score didn’t change after two periods of play. Fleury was sharp again, and the Golden Knights penalty kill unit did a strong job of shutting down the Coyotes PP.

Leading 2-0, the Golden Knights continued to control the game. Midway though the third period, Arizona finally snuck one by Fleury on the power play. Alex Tuch put Vegas ahead by two late in the game and Nick Cousins sealed the deal with seconds remaining. Fleury saved 22 of 23 shots and skated off with a 4-1 victory.

The Golden Knights play their first official playoff game on Monday against the Dallas Stars. It will be the first of three Round Robin games Vegas will play. Game time is scheduled for 3 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights looked like the much sharper team in the meaningless game against Arizona. It was excellent to see Reilly Smith puck up his great season where he left off. The Golden Knights weren’t great at 5-on-5, but they did enough getting the late goal from Tuch. All in all, not too bad for the only exhibition game. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • Get ready for A LOT of Shea Theodore ice-time

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Alex Tuch
* Reilly Smith

Probabilities Of Each Opponent Based On Round-Robin Seed

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL is a league built on parity. Winning the Stanley Cup is as much about matchups (and luck) as it is the skill of any given team. This year, the matchups have a chance to vary wildly as the league is re-seeding teams at the conclusions of the play-in and first rounds.

Unlike the eight teams with set play-in round matchups, the Golden Knights seed throughout the tournament is dependant on their performance in three round-robin games. The round-robin not only determines who the Golden Knights will play in the 1st Round, but it also determines the opponent in the 2nd round as well.

With four games in the play-in round, there are 16 possible outcomes between the eight teams. Using William Hill odds, we ranked them from most likely to least likely to occur. Then, using those rankings, we are able to show the probabilities of which team the Golden Knights would be most likely to face depending on which seed they end up with in the round-robin. (An explanation of how I arrived at these numbers is at the end of the article.)

 #1 Seed#2 Seed#3 Seed#4 Seed
Edmonton (5)59.6%
Nashville (6)33.0%22.3%
Vancouver (7)19.1%28.4%10.5%
Calgary (8)10.4%22.9%16.8%4.1%
Winnipeg (9)8.7%19.3%14.2%3.5%
Minnesota (10)13.8%20.6%7.6%
Arizona (11)26.7%18.1%
Chicago (12)40.4%

As you can see from the chart, there’s a significant advantage to finish atop the round-robin. Finishing first eliminates the possibility of a matchup with Edmonton, Nashville, or Vancouver, while coming in fourth takes away any chance to play Chicago, Arizona, or Minnesota.

Compare that to this chart, how Vegas has played against each of these eight teams.

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Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes Photo Gallery – December 28th, 2019

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 ARIZONA COYOTES 1 (21-15-6 48 PTS)

Recap: It was a quick turnaround for Vegas as they returned home for a matchup against Arizona. The Golden Knights shook off their rust from the night before and came out strong. Mark Stone opened the game with his 14th goal of the season giving Vegas the 1-0 lead. After the Coyotes tied the game, Stone took it into his own hands and regained the lead for his team.

Chandler Stephenson scored :12 seconds into the 2nd period giving Vegas a quick 3-1 edge. Paul Stastny added another goal to extend the lead 4-1.

The 3rd period played out well for Vegas, only allowing four shots on net. Vegas held onto their three goal lead and won the game 4-1.

Vegas’ record improves to 21-15-6 and now hold sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. They’ll next hit the ice on New Year’s Eve day against the Anaheim Ducks. Game time is scheduled for Noon. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It took a massive effort from the penalty kill, killing off four minutes early, but after they got that out of the way the Golden Knights took over the game. An impressive effort snuffed out a Coyote team that looked up to the task. Vegas got solid contributions up and down the lineup and Fleury returned to his normal self. There would have been some consequences had they dropped this game, but instead they are now in sole possession of 1st place in the Pacific Divison. (Analysis by Ken)


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

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on the man of the decade
  • Photo gallery from the game

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Max Pacioretty
* Mark Stone

 

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

 

ARIZONA COYOTES 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (2-2-0 4 PTS)

The Golden Knights looked to bounce back in Arizona after losing their first loss off the season on Tuesday.

The Coyotes struck first eight minutes into the 1st period. Arizona would add another with under a minute left. However, Shea Theodore would score with :04 seconds left in the opening period and get his team within one. Plus a poor goalie interference challenge would give the Golden Knights a power play to start the second.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would begin the 2nd period in place of the injured Malcolm Subban. Vegas squandered the power play and Arizona would slip one past Fleury for the 3-1 lead early in the middle frame. The Coyotes would score a fourth with under two minutes to go in the 2nd to stretch the lead 4-1.

The Golden Knights couldn’t get much going to start the 3rd period, as coach Gerard Gallant shuffled the lineup. Unfortunately, Vegas couldn’t generate any offense and would go on to lose their second straight game. Arizona took the first meeting between the two 4-1.

Vegas’ record drops to 2-2-0 and look to snap their skid on Saturday. The Golden Knights return home to face the Calgary Flames. Puck drops at 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena

  • McPhee explains why he must have a player like Ryan Reaves on his roster
  • 5 breakaways in 2 periods. What in the world happened? (Will become a full article if the trend continues)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Jon Merrill
* Malcolm Subban

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 ARIZONA COYOTES 2 (Preseason Game 1)

The game got off to a slow start with neither team shooting much in the first five minutes of the game. Arizona struck first on a goal by defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin. A fired up Max Pacioretty got Vegas right back in the game on a breakaway snap shot past Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill. Arizona took the lead again but Pacioretty scored his second of the 1st period for a 2-2 tie after 20 minutes of action.
Pacioretty continued to shine as he found Cody Eakin on a nice feed in front of Arizona’s net. Vegas took the early 2nd period lead 3-2.

The game continued to be the Max Pacioretty show, as he scooped a rebound and slipped it past Hill for a preseason hat trick. Vegas took a 4-2 lead after two periods.

The final period featured a beautiful backhand goal from veteran Reilly Smith. As he normally does, Smith created a turnover which he jumped on and scored on a breakaway. Brayden McNabb added an empty netter and the Golden Knights cruised to their first preseason win the 2019-2020 season 6-2. Veterans Pacioretty, Eakin, Smith and McNabb did all the scoring for VGK. Malcolm Subban stopped 26 saves for the win.

The Golden Knights get back on the ice Tuesday in Denver for their second preseason matchup. Game starts at 6. (Recap by Jason)


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

  • First NHL camp stories from Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, and Malcolm Subban
  • The difficulty for veterans playing with rookies in preseason games

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Max Pacioretty
** Nick Holden
* Dylan Coghlan

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (43-32-7 93 PTS)

It was the 2018-19 season finale for the Golden Knights and it didn’t go well. The Kings padded their stats on reserve lineup for Vegas. Ilya Kovalchuk, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter all scored for LA ending their season on a 5-2 victory against Vegas.

Jimmy Schuldt got his first NHL point in his first NHL game assisting Valentin Zykov’s second goal of the season.

The Golden Knights regular season ends with a (43-31-7) record.

(Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

  • Carp’s Sunday column on the versatility Gallant has to work with for his 4th line
  • A whole heap of stories about the matchup with the Sharks

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** No one else
** Cared
* Jimmy Schuldt

ARIZONA COYOTES 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (43-31-7 93 PTS)

The Golden Knights hosted their last regular season game to a full crowd of loyal, playoff thirsty fans. The fans were even more excited watching goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury play his first game since March 1st.

Star winger Mark Stone scored the game’s opening goal on a wicked backhand. Stone’s 33rd goal of the season made it 1-0 Vegas. Less than a minute later the desperate Coyotes evened the score 1-1.

The second frame was tight as both teams locked down defensively. Arizona’s Derek Stepan gave his team the lead on a slick move to slip it past Fleury. The Coyotes would add another goal late in the period to take the 3-1 lead after forty minutes of action.

The third was very choppy with very little action. The score remained 3-1 for most of the period until Arizona added a fourth goal with eight minutes remaining. The Golden Knights lost 4-1, finishing with a home record of (24-12-5) for the season.

The Golden Knights record drops to (43-31-7) with one game remaining. The team finishes off their regular season on Saturday in Los Angeles. Game time is scheduled for 730 PM. (Recap by Jason)


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

  • Let’s look at the depth of the Golden Knights heading into the playoffs
  • The Sharks “pick play”

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Ryan Carpenter
* Mark Stone

How The Golden Knights Can Clinch By Sunday

The Golden Knights clinched last year on March 26th. They can actually do it sooner this year.

Having won 10 of the past 11 games the Golden Knights have soared well above the playoff cut line and it’s only a matter of time until it becomes official that Vegas is heading to the postseason.

But, like everything in sports, nothing is a sure thing until it’s actually a sure thing. It can become a sure thing soon though, as soon as Sunday afternoon.

The Golden Knights currently have 89 points with eight games left to play. The first team out of the playoff picture is Arizona with 78 points, also with eight to go.

Thus, the easiest way for the Golden Knights to lock in their place is to eliminate the Coyotes. Using our “Points to Elimination” tool, it takes six points to do so (and only five VGK clinches the tiebreaker).

Arizona plays at New Jersey tomorrow and at the New York Islanders on Sunday. Vegas hosts Detroit tomorrow. If the Golden Knights win in regulation or overtime, and Arizona records only one point in those two games, Vegas will clinch.

If Arizona records two or more points, the Golden Knights still have a chance to clinch.

The attention would then turn to the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and Chicago Blackhawks. With a Vegas win tomorrow, the Golden Knights would need just one more point to eliminate Chicago and three to eliminate Minnesota and Colorado.

The Wild have a back-to-back in Washington and Carolina tonight and tomorrow while Chicago and Colorado have a home-and-home back-to-back against each other Saturday and Sunday.

So, if Vegas wins tomorrow, they would need Minnesota to record one or zero points in their two games, and Chicago and Colorado would have to split (with Colorado’s loss coming in regulation).

VGK win + ARI loss to NJD + ARI loss to NYI

OR

VGK win + MIN loss to WSH + MIN loss to CAR + COL/CHI Split 2 Games

If any piece of both of those scenarios falls short, the next Golden Knights attention will turn to Monday in St. Louis.

It could happen Sunday, it could not, but either way, it’s happening soon. Once that’s locked up, the focus is going to start to shift towards San Jose, who as of this article are five points ahead of Vegas with eight to go. It’s a tall task, but if the Golden Knights can knock off the Sharks again on the 30th, things could get very interesting that final week.

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