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VGK Has Become The Hunted

The Golden Knights have basically become the bully of the Pacific. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Rivalries grow over time. Years and years of brutally beating up on each other, battling for divisional crowns and eliminating one another in the playoffs. Or so I thought…

Stevens had that to say after last week’s preseason game at the T-Mobile Arena. On Sunday, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer wouldn’t go as far as Stevens, but if this sure sounds like rivalry coach-speak to me.

It’s great. It’s great for a couple reasons, one, it felt like an important game because of the environment, the situation the crowd so that’s always good to get you prepared for that. -Pete DeBoer, San Jose coach

Both San Jose and Vegas suited up most core players as if it were a meaningful game. The Sharks were looking forward to their final preseason matchup at Vegas.

We felt like it was our last chance to have a tune up for us, be ready and get ready. Parts of our game we think we’re ready and other parts there still a lot of room for improvement. -Joe Pavelski, Sharks forward

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 LOS ANGELES KINGS 0 (5-1-0 Preseason)

Choppy first period which was riddled with Golden Knights penalties did nothing but remind us how good Marc-Andre Fleury is. Vegas finally got on the board in the 2nd with a Ryan Reaves tipped goal moments after the power play ended. Absolutely nothing of note happened in the 3rd period.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings preseason game at T-Mobile Arena.

  • 2nd line updates from Gallant and others.

Three Stars
*** Shea Theodore
** Ryan Reaves
* Marc-Andre Fleury

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 SAN JOSE SHARKS 4 – SO (2-1 VGK) (4-0-0 Preseason)

Yet again the Golden Knights scored pretty much instantly, this time from Max Pacioretty. It kind of went downhill from there as the Golden Knights allowed the next three goals. Alex Tuch set up Oscar Lindberg to get Vegas back within one but a shorthanded goal put San Jose back up by two at the end of the 2nd. Vegas ties it with an amazing effort by Ryan Carpenter and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to score a shorthanded goal. Then, in shootout, who else but Erik Brannstrom scores the game-winner.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks preseason game at SAP Center.

  • Keegan Kolesar on his chances to make the roster and his job protecting Cody Glass.

Three Stars
*** Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
** Timo Meier
* Tomas Hertl

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 7 LOS ANGELES KINGS 2 (3-0-0 Preseason)

For the third consecutive preseason game it didn’t take long for the Golden Knights to get going. They scored three times in the 1st period including one from Daniel Carr, who we featured earlier today on the site. Vegas’ top line of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith were absolutely dominant the entire night accounting for four goals between them.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings preseason game at STAPLES Center.

  • Why do fans hate Nick Holden? We asked Nick Holden.

Three Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** William Karlsson
* Jonathan Marchessault

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 LOS ANGELES KINGS 0 (4-0 VGK)

The Golden Knights got off to a miserable start spending a majority of the 1st period struggling to break out of their own end. They did have one good chance that was actually blocked by Erik Haula in front of the Kings net. However, neither team scored in the 1st so Vegas survived. The Golden Knights came out a bit better to begin the 2nd and ended up scoring the first goal of the game on a great transition that led to a cross-ice wide open shot for Brayden McNabb. Vegas scratched and clawed it’s way to the finish and swept the first playoff series in franchise history. The Golden Knights are moving on to the Second Round!

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center.

  • The story continues.
  • The impact of teams sweeping in the first round on the rest of their playoff runs
  • How did the Golden Knights locker room react to winning in the 1st round?

Three Stars
*** Brayden McNabb
** Jonathan Quick
* Marc-Andre Fleury

 

Inside A Dejected LA Kings Locker Room In A 3-0 Hole

The Kings finally took a lead in the series, but they couldn’t hold on, and when they lost it, they LOST it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The home locker room at Staples Center following Game 3 seemed dark and depressed. Most losing locker rooms are, but this was different. Inside the Kings room after Sunday’s 3-2 loss, I got the feeling they knew their chance to get back into the series was blown.

I think we created a lot of chances and maybe should’ve gotten a couple more goals in net. That’s how it is and it’s just tough right now -Adrian Kempe, LAK Forward

The talented 21-year-old forward was open to chat about the positives from Game 3. In a losing effort, it didn’t matter much to Kempe.

We had some good chances that we maybe should’ve scored on in the second and third periods. We’re going to go home and look at ourselves and come back tomorrow. -Kempe

For the third straight game, LA’s Captain Anze Kopitar sat in front of his locker stall looking tired, frustrated and searching for answers.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 LOS ANGELES KINGS 2 (3-0 VGK)

The game started out with the Kings really trying to bring the physicality, it ended up leading to a penalty on Kyle Clifford, but the Golden Knights squandered the power play having a very rough time entering. That seemed to energize the Kings and for the first period of the nine in the series Vegas looked a bit unsure of themselves. LA scored first on a goal from Alex Iaffalo. The Golden Knights turned the heat up a bit in the 2nd, but couldn’t ever create much than one shot at a time. The game’s flow kind of got away from the Golden Knights through two with a couple penalties and a terrible offensive power play that breathed some life into the Kings. The Golden Knights killed an early penalty, then started getting their offense going and it led to an incredible shift from the 3rd line that tied the game with a Cody Eakin goal. Then, like Vegas often does, they pounced and pounced in a big way. An individual effort goal from James Neal, then another from William Karlsson and Vegas had a 3-1 lead. Anze Kopitar made it interesting, but the Golden Knights hung on. They’re up 3-0 with a chance to sweep on Tuesday night.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center.

  • Golden Knights power play starting to struggle. (Maybe)
  • Are the Kings dead? Jason’s heading to the Kings locker room.

Three Stars
*** Alex Iafallo
** James Neal
* Marc-Andre Fleury

 

3 Goals In 155 Minutes; Are The Golden Knights Creating Enough Offense To Keep Winning?

This Quick guy is pretty good, but no goalie is unbeatable. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights lead the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they’re averaging just one goal every 51:48 minutes of the series. Over the course of the regular season, the Golden Knights averaged a goal every 18:05.

The shot totals have been there. The scoring chance numbers are there. The possession numbers are there as well, but the puck simply hasn’t found its way past Jonathan Quick often.

He’s been amazing that’s for sure but I think we are making his life a little easier than we want. Shot decisions from the outside are not too bad but our secondary chances need to be better, that’s how we are going to get more goals on him. -Jonathan Marchessault

Quick made 54 saves in Game 2, one of the best games he’s put together in his career, but there’s always a way to beat a great/hot goalie and that’s to create chances no goalie can stop. Deflections, tips in front of the goal, rebounds, and cross-ice passes often lead everyone watching a game to say, “well, the goalie had no chance on that one.” Vegas’ goal in Game 1 was a deflection, the first goal in Game 2 was a rebound, and the game-winner was actually somewhat of a mistake by Quick (he whiffed on a poke check).

Two unsavable shots over the course of nearly eight periods, is that really enough offense to win a playoff series?

Enough to win two games. At the end of the night, if you get wins at this time of the year, that’s the most important thing. For our group we do want to put more goals up but we are playing the best defensive team in the league and they are doing a good job. -Marchessault

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 LOS ANGELES KINGS 1 – 2 OT (2-0 VGK)

With a one game lead in the series, the Golden Knights came into the game with a great chance to stake claim to the series. Despite clock errors in the building, the Golden Knights were able to strike first for the second straight game, this time with a goal from Alex Tuch. The game headed to the first intermission with Vegas touting a 14-5 shots on goal lead. It was much of the same in the 2nd but the Golden Knights couldn’t get one past Quick. Brayden McNabb took a penalty deep in the offensive zone which led to the Kings second power play of the game. Paul LaDue took a shot from the point, it took a deflection off Deryk Engelland and found its way into the Vegas net. The Kings came out with a bit more of an offensive purpose in the 3rd, but neither team was able to find the go-ahead goal. So we headed to overtime for the first time in VGK history. The first OT came and went with just a few great scoring chances, both goalies were tremendous. Late in the 2nd OT VGK finds the winner from a great goal from Erik Haula!

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Photo gallery of Game 2 from Brandon Andreasen
  • Vegas making it incredibly difficult to enter the zone, especially on dump-ins
  • Seemingly inflated hit totals not indicative of the actual game on the ice.
  • Should Tatar be the one who draws out if/when Perron returns?

Three Stars
*** Jonathan Quick
** Nate Schmidt
* Erik Haula

Before OT:

Forechecking, Backchecking, And Actual Checking, That’s How The Golden Knights Won Game 1

The Kings must have felt like there were Golden Knights everywhere, and if they weren’t hitting the heck out of them, they were taking the puck and going the other way. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Like the atmosphere at T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights came out rocking. Just 3:23 into the game Shea Theodore scored the first goal, what went on to be the game-winner. That’s because, after that goal, the Golden Knights abandoned some of their normal principles and opted to play a possession-based defense style game, and a gem of one.

Less than a minute after the goal, Brayden McNabb was tagged with a hooking penalty that took away a lot of the Golden Knights momentum. They killed the penalty, but went on to look like a different, but equally good, team. Rather than their standard transition style of offense the Golden Knights relied much more on their forecheck, they were hellacious in their backcheck, and for the first time ever, they recorded over 50 hits and won a hockey game.

I think we were good both ways. It was good to see a lot of speed and physicality, it was a fun game to be in. We just didn’t give them much time and options the entire game. -Jonathan Marchessault

It wasn’t a normal game for Vegas. In total, there were just 35 scoring chances at even strength between the two teams. Golden Knights games averaged 45.2 per game in the regular season. The Golden Knights maintained possession and had a specific purpose with the puck; do not make mistakes that lead to easy breakouts and offense the other way. That’s the big reason for the low scoring chance totals and why even down a goal in a playoff game, the Kings were only able to muster up three scoring chances the entire 3rd period.

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