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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 NASHVILLE PREDATORS 1 (32-24-4 68 PTS)

It took a bit of time, and a few nice saves from Malcolm Subban, but the Golden Knights eventually kicked it into gear. A spilled puck on a dump in led to the Golden Knights first goal by Max Pacioretty. Then, in the 2nd Vegas took over controlling play for a majority of the period. It eventually led to a power play goal by Brandon Pirri after a terrific entry by William Karlsson. Vegas took a three-goal lead early in the 3rd. Nashville made it interesting cutting it back to two, but a pair of goals from Oscar Lindberg and Pacioretty sealed the deal on a big win for the Golden Knights.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Nashville Predators at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Carp on the player the Golden Knights should most target at the trade deadline.
  • Ken on a different player he would like to see in Vegas by February 25th.
  • The difference Schmidt made offensively playing with Engelland. (And Theodore with McNabb)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Cody Eakin
** Oscar Lindberg
* Max Pacioretty

NASHVILLE PREDATORS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (29-19-4 62 PTS)

Vegas struck first using a strong 1st period effort. An excellent goal that touched the sticks of all three linemates was finished off by Max Pacioretty. However, another series of lapses in their own end led to consecutive goals by the Predators to take the lead. The Golden Knights peppered shots at Saros all night long, but could not find the equalizer. It’s the first time they’ve lost two straight at home in regulation all season.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Nashville Predators at T-Mobile Arena.

  • The bye week extravaganza on SinBin.vegas. (We have a bunch of somewhat ridiculous non-hockey related stuff)

Ken’s Three Stars
*** Oscar Lindberg (I actually thought he was good tonight.)
** Juuse Saros
* Juuse Saros

NASHVILLE PREDATORS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (5-6-1 11 PTS)

An excellent 1st period by the Golden Knights ended with a power play goal from Reilly Smith. The 2nd period didn’t go as well for Vegas as multiple odd-man rushes let to a pair of goals for the Predators. Then, a couple more bad pinches from blueliners led to the third Nashville goal. The Golden Knights hit multiple posts and missed a few other chances and once again could not muster up more than one goal. Vegas also falls to 3-3-1 when scoring first. They were 34-5-2 a year ago.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

  • The first installment of Steve Carp’s column on SinBin.vegas titled “The Foreword”

Three Stars
*** Kevin Fiala
** Juuse Saros
* Ryan Hartman

Golden Knights Kind Of Looking Forward To Opening On The Road

The white jerseys are better. Maybe that’s a reason too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In Round 1 the Golden Knights opened the series with a pair of home games against the Kings. They used a dominant Game 1 performance to take the lead in the series and followed it up with a double overtime thriller to send the series to Los Angeles at 2-0. In Round 2 they once again started at home, again dominating Game 1 but faltering in Game 2 to head to San Jose even.

Now, no matter who the opponent will be, the Golden Knights will head on the road for the first two games of the Western Conference Finals. However, they don’t seem too terribly concerned about the lack of home-ice advantage in the series.

It may not be a bad thing to start on the road this time around. Something a little bit different. We’re going to spend the next few days trying to get ready for that first period in the next game. I’m certainly happy to be here and have the chance to do it. -George McPhee

I think we’ve played really well on the road and at home. I think our record is 4-1 in both places, is it not? So, it doesn’t really make a big difference to us. I’m not once concerned about starting on the road. I’m sort of looking forward to going somewhere. -Gallant

The Golden Knights have indeed lost just once in five tries away from Vegas. That’s even better than their regular season tally of 22-14-5 on the road. They’ve won in many different ways away from T-Mobile Arena as well. Tight checking games, overtime games, closeout games, they’ve faced it all and passed every test (except that one) with flying colors.

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NASHVILLE PREDATORS 1 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 0 (29-11-3 61 PTS)

Scoreless 1st, scoreless 2nd, but not a game without plenty of action. Maybe the biggest moment of the first two periods was the mega hit by William Carrier (see gif below). Juuse Saros played absolutely out of his mind saving 43 Golden Knights shots.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena

  • “Well there’s no question, they are not selling.”

Three Stars
*** P.K. Subban
** Kevin Fiala
* Jusse Saros

 

Bye Week Returning The Favor; Next Three Opponents Coming Off Bye

Coach Gerard Gallant is not a fan of the CBA mandated bye week the Golden Knights just returned from. In fact, he pretty much blamed the loss to the Oilers on the break.

Tonight was all about having five days off, for me. We weren’t sharp, we didn’t do the right things, we didn’t play our typical game. -Gallant

It’s easy to say that your team is rested and you’re ready to jump. But when you have five days from your break, it’s tough to get going. -Gallant

Where the bye week taketh, the bye week really giveth too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In the mind of the man behind the bench, the bye week took a point away from the Golden Knights.

Of the 14 teams to have played after their bye, 12 of them played each other, the other two are the Golden Knights and the Coyotes, who both played Edmonton. Both Vegas and Arizona lost.

The same trend occured last year.

As of February 21, 2017 there have been 25 teams that have completed their league mandated holiday and those teams are a staggering 7-18 (28%) in their first game back. Breaking down this unique situation even further, teams returning from their mid-season vacations on home ice are a pathetic 4-13 (23.53%). -Rob Hansen, Covers.com

Ok, now time for the good news. The Golden Knights next three opponents are ALL coming off the bye to play Vegas. Yep, Nashville’s bye ended yesterday, Tampa Bay’s ends on Wednesday, and Florida’s ends Thursday.

The Golden Knights felt fortunate to get a point out of their first game back, now they’ve got a chance to to get that point back, and then some, with three straight games in an envious position.

It’s not quite VegasFlu, but hey, ByeWeekFlu might be just as good this week.

(stick tap to @HockeyResearch8)

Sin City vs. Smashville; Which Atmosphere Is Better?

I’m shocked, SHOCKED, none of the players talked about this when comparing atmospheres. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After each game opponents consistently praise the Golden Knights, the arena, and you, the fans. Last night we thought we were dealing with a different animal though. Nashville was the darling of the NHL a year ago, and the atmosphere in and around Bridgestone Arena has been described as second to none. Neither Ken nor I have been there so we left it in the hands of those who have, and we were quite surprised by the answers.

Oh, I think ours is way better. The atmosphere today was incredible, when we score the first goal the crowd gets into it. Even when we don’t the media (game ops) people do an incredible job of getting people involved in the game and it’s been really unbelievable. It’s been a big part of our success. -Alex Tuch

It’s very similar. The crowds, the way they are reacting, they are standing and yelling. It’s really fun to play in front of. -Shea Theodore

It was a really cool experience being there last year. It’s a lot like that here. -Brad Hunt (was a healthy scratch for the Predators throughout the entire playoff run last year)

Ok, fine, we weren’t surprised by those answers. But these…

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (27-9-2 56 PTS) NASHVILLE PREDATORS 0

Exciting first period comes and goes without a goal. Vegas dominated the shot total 15-4 in the 1st, but gave it all back the first 10 minutes of the 2nd. However, still no goals were scored. Vegas drew a penalty, scored, and then scored a second time about two minutes later. They took the two goal lead to the second intermission. An empty netter caps it off and Marc-Andre Fleury records his second shutout.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Nashville Predators at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Smashville vs. Sin City – A battle of the league’s best atmospheres

Three Stars
*** Shea Theodore
** Reilly Smith
* Marc-Andre Fleury

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 (18-9-1 37 PTS) NASHVILLE PREDATORS 3 – SO (1-0)

Golden Knights jump out early with a goal in the 1st and the first in the 2nd but surrender the next three to go down 3-2. With Subban out of the net, Vegas had chance after chance after chance, but couldn’t get one to go. Finally on a great pass from Colin Miller, Erik Haula tied the game inside the final minute. No score in OT led to an incredible shootout in which Malcolm Subban saved six for six. It’s three straight wins for the Golden Knights and a huge road win to start the two-game “Dad’s Trip.”

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

  • Let’s talk about using Subban when Fleury comes back.

Three Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Nick Bonino
* Victor Arvidsson

Lessons To Be Learned From Nashville And San Jose

Two years in a row the Stanley Cup will be fought for by Pittsburgh and a “non-traditional market.” Like San Jose last season, Nashville won the West and made it to their first Cup final in franchise history. Analysts, like Pierre LeBrun believe the Golden Knights can learn from teams like the Predators and Sharks. If the empty seats in Ottawa didn’t blow up the whole anti-hockey in warm climate traditionalists, nothing will.  Let’s face it purist punks, you didn’t see any empty playoff seats in Nashville and San Jose.

This year’s San Jose is Nashville. Another non-traditional market that has been run the right way. Just like the Sharks, always have been. Always had a loyal following. Good ownership. And here they are… you have model organizations from non-traditional markets in San Jose and Nashville that get to the final. –Pierre LeBrun, on TSN Hamilton 1150

LeBrun believes Vegas can become a successful franchise by designing themselves after the Sharks and Predators organizations. Sure neither team has secured a Stanley Cup of their own but both franchises are well-run and consistently competitive. San Jose has qualified for the postseason 19 times in 25 seasons, and Nashville has qualified 10 in 19 seasons.

Not only does Nashville prove that, but we had it last year with San Jose reaching the Cup final. And what a wonderful story it was for the Sharks. Finally get over the hump and get to the final after years and years of being a contender. People took for granted that the Sharks sell out all the time. Oh yeah, San Jose. Shark Tank. What’s so different about a team in the middle of San Jose, California having success when teams in Arizona and Carolina haven’t hadn’t had as much success the last ten years? The difference is stability in management. -LeBrun

Consistency keeps fans interested and loyal. Once Vegas builds that strong, faithful fanbase, it’ll be easier during periodic lean years. Another factor LeBrun mentioned a few times. Nashville and San Jose have strong ownership and a dedication the fans to win. Who does that sound like? It’s really that way across all the professional leagues, it starts with a strong owner.

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