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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 BUFFALO SABRES 2 (36-22-8 80 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights and Buffalo Sabres met up for a Friday night matchup on the Las Vegas Strip. The Sabres struck first 2:16 into the game, taking an early 1-0 lead. Vegas’ Nic Roy tied the game with his 4th goal of the season. New goaltender Robin Lehner saved 8 out of the first 9 shots he faced as a Golden Knight.

Both teams had several scoring chances in the 2nd but both goaltenders were perfect in the period. Each stopping six shots, keeping the game tied 1-1 after 40 minutes played.

The Golden Knights took over the game in the 3rd period. William Karlsson broke the tie with his 14th of the season, and Reilly Smith added his 26th to give Vegas a 3-1 lead. Smith broke his personal best in goals with 16 games remaining. The Golden Knights closed the door on Buffalo down the stretch winning 4-2.

Vegas’ record improves to 36-22-8 remaining in 1st place in the Pacific Division with 80 points. The team will get a day off and hit the ice again on Sunday night against the LA Kings. Puck drop is scheduled for 730p. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The game took a long time to get exciting, but it finally did as the Golden Knights mauled the Sabres in the 3rd. Robin Lehner allowed one on his first and last shots but was perfect in between. It ends up looking like an easy win but it was more of a “nobody wants to win” type game for the first 40. The win streak has stretched to eight with a chance to break the franchise record Sunday. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Buffalo Sabres at T-Mobile Arena

  • DeBoer’s commitment to experimenting with lines before the playoffs.
  • The post trade deadline run

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** William Karlsson
** Nic Roy
* Robin Lehner

BUFFALO SABRES 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (24-19-6 54 PTS)

Recap: For the first time in seven games the Golden Knights would not allow a first period goal. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 13 of Buffalo’s shots on net. It was a scoreless tie after the opening 20 minutes.

Tomas Nosek would break open the scoring with his 6th of the season. Chandler Stephenson drove to the net and Nosek picked up the early goal 1:55 into the 2nd period. Two costly penalties would spoil Vegas’ lead. Max Pacioretty was called for what looked to be a clean check, and then the Golden Knights would take a too many men bench minor. Both would result in power play goals for Buffalo. The visiting team trailed 2-1 after two periods.

Vegas tied the game 1:43 into the 3rd period on a power play goal by Reilly Smith. However, the Sabres would regain the lead on a nifty goal by Buffalo captain Jack Eichel. Gerard Gallant pulled Fleury with 2 minutes remaining but the Sabres would backhand a long distance empty net goal and won the game 4-2.

Vegas’ record drops to 24-19-6, losing their 4th in a row. The team travels to Ottawa to face the Senators on Thursday night. Game time is scheduled for 430PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Coming later tonight. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center

  • The line change that led to the 4th loss in a row.
  • SinBin.vegas Podcast from Moneyline Sports Bar at Park MGM

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Mark Stone
** Alex Tuch
* Reilly Smith

It Felt Like It Was Happening Again; Then It Didn’t

Say it ain’t so, ref! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Here we are, 8:40 into the 1st period at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights are buzzing, creating chances left and right, and defending about as well as they have all year, when Shea Theodore skates through nearly the entire Buffalo Sabres team to score a highlight toe-drag goal. The arena is going crazy, the Golden Knights are celebrating, and that nervous feeling that’s been plaguing Vegas early this season feels like it’s fading away, but then, the referee skates to the red line, turns on his mic and says “Buffalo is challenging if the play is offside.”

Oh no.

Watching the replay, it was clearly offside as Max Pacioretty entered the zone early. That feeling of euphoria, gone.

We knew right away the goal was offside as soon as we looked down. It wasn’t a big deal. We knew it was coming. -Gerard Gallant

When something like that happens it all part of the game, you’ve got to regroup from it. It’s still an unbelievable play by Shea, it’s still a highlight. -Brad Hunt

Wrong little guy skating to the box, but you get the point. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Ok fine, no big deal, right? But then, minutes later, Tomas Hyka took a hooking penalty, and all the good the Golden Knights had done in the 1st 10 minutes was ready to disappear into thin air if the penalty was not killed off.

It’s an all too familiar story seven games into the season, and a feeling every Golden Knights fan had the second the penalty box door opened. Here we go again.

Yeah, it felt like that was our luck at that time, but you know, what can you do? It’s in the past and all you can do is battle forward and I’m proud of the way we did that. -William Karlsson

That’s exactly what the Golden Knights did. They killed that penalty (and like a thousand others), they kept battling through the misfortune, and they made it change. Jonathan Marchessault scored a power play goal, Cody Eakin raced for a shorthanded one, and Karlsson even got on the board for the first time this year as well.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 BUFFALO SABRES 1 (3-4-0 6 PTS)

Like they have many times this season the Golden Knights came out jumping to start the game. Also like many other games, they appeared to be heading to the locker room without a lead. Especially after Shea Theodore’s goal was taken off due to an offside challenge. However, the first power play goal of the year was scored by Jonathan Marchessault. The Golden Knights continued their dominance through the remaining 40 minutes of the game coasting to an easy win. Cody Eakin, who we highlighted earlier today, scored a shorthanded goal, and William Karlsson got on the board for the first time this year as well. A late goal blew the shutout (and donuts) but a Marchessault empty netter restored the three-goal win.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres at T-Mobile Arena.

  • A complete dominant home game effort, that’s more like it, and more reason why there still should be no concerns with the slow start.
  • Photo gallery from the NHL’s best photographer, Brandon Andreasen

Three Stars
*** William Karlsson
** Marc-Andre Fleury
* Cody Eakin

BUFFALO SABRES 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (1-2-0 2 PTS)

A very messy first period with little zone time for either team was decided by a terrible slash call on Paul Stastny. That led to a power-play goal by Jack Eichel and had the Golden Knights leaving the ice down a goal for the third straight game. A couple of miserable defensive breakdowns allowed the Sabres to open up a big lead of 4-1 after two. Jonathan Marchessault got on the board in the 3rd, but the Golden Knights could not claw back into it.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

  • A look at how players are being used after three games compared to the averages last year.

Three Stars
*** Jonathan Marchessault
** Carter Hutton
* Jack Eichel

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (44-19-5 93 PTS) BUFFALO SABRES 1 – SO

After a sleepy first two periods of scoreless hockey, the Sabres broke through early in the 3rd. Vegas wasn’t mustering up much, but finally found a wacky game tying goal from Deryk Engelland that banked off a Buffalo player. OT was back and forth but neither team could convert. David Perron got the Golden Knights on the board first in shootout, but Buffalo tied it with their last attempt. Erik Haula came through with the game winner in shootout.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

  • Future cap space has the Golden Knights in company closer to lottery teams than Cup contenders.

Three Stars
*** Deryk Engelland
** Robin Lehner
* Marc-Andre Fleury

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 (5-1-0 10 PTS) BUFFALO SABRES 4 – OT

Golden Knights use dominant second period to jump out in front, but can’t hang on as Buffalo scores three in the final 10 minutes, including one inside the last 10 seconds to send it to overtime. David Perron wins it in overtime!

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres at T-Mobile Arena.

Three Stars

*** David Perron
** Alex Tuch
* William Carrier

Perron gives his view of the game winner.

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Golden Knights Expansion Trade Rumor Roundup

In less than a week George McPhee will finally have the protection lists in his hands and the Golden Knights will be on the 72 hour Expansion Draft clock. Until then, the hockey world will be buzzing about all the trades that are being discussed in the lead up. It’s time we take a moment to round em all up into one post, and try to make sense of what’s set to go down on June 21st.

Before we start though, we need to clarify something. While McPhee is making calls and probably coming to agreements, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed no deals will be made official, or even be announced, prior to June 21st. So, tread carefully out there, everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves.

Chicago Blackhawks – The chatter with Chicago started in late May from a pair of tweets from TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

The main question is which way the picks would be going, if any are involved. Chicago has three defensemen with NMCs, so van Riemsdyk would have to be exposed unless one of Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, or Niklas Hjalmarsson waives their NMC, and/or is traded. So, in theory, Vegas would be getting picks in exchange for taking on Marcus Kruger‘s salary, and simply select van Riemsdyk in the Expansion Draft.

Many news outlets, including most notably a news anchor from Kansas City (why?), have reported that Kruger to Vegas is done. The most common return is a 3rd round pick from Chicago. But there’s likely another piece to the puzzle here that’s missing. Whether that’s Chicago “moving a core player” as reported by WSCR’s Jay Zawaski, or Kruger being flipped through Vegas is yet to be seen. Either way, it’s highly probable McPhee makes a deal (or two) with Chicago, but the details out there currently, are likely not telling the whole story.

Columbus Blue Jackets – In Elliotte Friedman’s “30 thoughts” column he mentions murmurs of trade discussions here. The name mentioned is David Clarkson, who is Expansion Draft exempt due to a long term injury. Clarkson’s back will likely keep him off the ice in 2017-18 and could be career ending, however, his cap hit remains at $5.25 million through 2020 (three more seasons). Freidman mentions the 24th overall pick as well as “some young forwards at the AHL level” as possible compensation for Clarkson’s contract. Once again, the details are fuzzy because this would occur outside the parameters of the Expansion Draft. Vegas would still have to select a player from Columbus, so there’s another piece in the mix. Joonas Korpisalo just signed a team-friendly deal, is he involved? Vegas would get rewarded handsomely for taking Clarkson off Columbus’ hands, but there still has to be an Expansion pick, so more is certainly to come on this one.

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Sabres GM Recalls A Favor From McPhee; Expansion Deal Coming?

The club of NHL general managers is a small fraternity. A group of 31 that are active and no more than 150 or so in the century long history of the league. (Someone count em for me, seemed like a lot of work.)

This small group leads to a familiarity and at times an understanding that what goes around comes around. Scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back later. Well it appears Buffalo GM Tim Murray scratched the back of George McPhee while with the Capitals, and the Sabres may be ready to cash in on a favor from 2014.

I’ve had a conversation or two with George on who I wouldn’t like to lose and how we can make that happen. Maybe I’ve done a deal with George in the past that was considered somewhat of a favor. Maybe I’ve had a conversation with him reminding him of that, and he remembered the wordage of that deal word-for-word, which I was very happy to hear. –Tim Murray, Buffalo Sabres GM to WGR-AM 550

That deal he’s talking about went like this.

Washington receives: Jaroslav Halak & 2015 3rd round pick
Buffalo receives: Michal Neuvirth & Rostislav Klesla

The favor was in Buffalo taking Klesla, who never even stepped foot in Buffalo. He and his $3 million contract went back home to the Czech Republic, and came off McPhee’s cap.

You only do a favor when it suits you. You do a favor for somebody when you can afford to do that favor now, knowing that you might need something down the road. That’s what favors are. -Murray

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Evander Kane Cleared Of Charges, Worth A Look In Vegas?

A few months ago a conversation on Twitter about Evander Kane got pretty animated. Some people posted that Las Vegas could never take on Kane if he was left unprotected by Buffalo. I couldn’t believe a talent like the Sabres power forward was being passed over by so many arm-chair GMs. We’re talking about a rare talent that’s physical, can score, and has solid puck possession skills. (C’mon, tell me those corresponding links don’t fit the double entendres perfectly) Not many players have all three attributes… we’re back to talking about hockey.

Now to be fair, the people against Kane don’t deny his capability, what scares them is his off-ice behavior. He’s no role model. Kane has never been convicted but he’s been twice investigated for criminal behavior. Late last year Buffalo cops dropped charges for sexual assault. Now, a New York judge dismissed charges against Kane for a reported physical incident at a Buffalo bar. And let’s be serious, the name of the bar was Bottoms Up. A bar in Buffalo, NY named Bottoms Up has seen plenty of physical incidents.

Understandably, the two investigations listed above don’t make Kane look like a good guy. In fact that same New York judge called him out as being, “arrogant, boorish, and surly.” (Kind of reminds me of this guy actually) He also told Kane to make sure he keeps his nose clean for six months, something the power forward needs to do if he wants to stay in the NHL anyways. It’s tough to make the case for the 25 year-old forward with his off-ice behavior.

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