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Will Positive Tests Around The League Affect The Golden Knights Preparation?

Yesterday was a tough day for the NHL and their attempt to award a 2020 Stanley Cup champion. News broke that the Tampa Bay Lightning temporarily shut down their facilities due to three players and two staff members testing positive for Covid-19. The anxiety escalated even more when it was reported that Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews tested positive as well. Leaving fans concerned for the players and their return to the ice.

Locally, it’s been quiet. According to GM Kelly McCrimmon, none of the Golden Knights players have contracted or been exposed to the coronavirus.

Since NHL clubs were permitted to open their training facilities on June 8, all players entering these facilities for voluntary training have been subject to mandatory testing for COVID-19… All players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols. The NHL will provide a weekly update on the numbers of tests administered to players and the results of those tests. The league will not be providing information on the identity of the players or their clubs. -NHL PR

With the latest news from around the league, the question around Las Vegas is how will this affect the Golden Knights and their preparations?

So far 11 NHL players have tested positive since June 8th. However, over 200 players have been tested multiple times and results came back negative. While the positive test news may sound grim, it doesn’t appear it will delay the opening of training camps scheduled to begin on July 10th. Even if more players fall ill, according to the league it won’t impact the Golden Knights groundwork.

The league had a conference call with all of the general managers tonight, and I think the word is ‘let’s see where this goes.’ I don’t think there’s any movement at this point in time of changing the opening of camps on July 10th. I think they’ve set it so the final day of the Stanley Cup Final, if it happens on schedule is October 5th. -Elliotte Friedman, SportsNet

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3 (32-22-8 72 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights welcomed in the blazing hot Tampa Bay Lightning team for a Thursday night game at The Fortress. The Lightning got on the board first 7:02 into the game. However, newly acquired defenseman Alec Martinez tied the game for Vegas 1-1 late in opening period.

Reilly Smith set up Paul Statsny 6:45 into the 2nd period giving Vegas the 2-1 lead. Tampa tied the game on a power play goal by Steven Stamkos. The game wouldn’t be tied for long as Mark Stone gave his team the 3-2 lead a minute later.

Vegas held a one goal lead going into the 3rd period but Ryan Reaves scored his 7th goal of the season right off the faceoff. Max Pacioretty added his 28th :37 seconds after later on the power play. In a blink the Golden Knights held a commanding 5-2 lead. Tampa got a power play goal but Vegas would close out the game 5-3.

Vegas’ record improves to 32-22-8 and now have 72 points on the season. The team will get back to business on Saturday night against the Florida Panthers. Puck drops at 7p. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It didn’t start out pretty but as the game wore on the normal Golden Knights vs Lightning game broke out. Vegas controlled the even-strength play for a majority of the back half of the game and put themselves in a position to end the hottest team in hcokey’s win streak. The Golden Knights are back to looking like the team that entered the season as the favorites to win the Western Conference. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Tampa Bay Lightning at T-Mobile Arena

  • Reading between the lines of The Creator’s comments on the trade deadline
  • A shift-by-shift look at Alec Martinez’s debut in Vegas

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Max Pacioretty
** Mark Stone
* Alec Martinez

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (27-21-7 61 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights came out hot against Tampa attempting six shots to the Lightning’s one. However, the home team would get on the scoreboard first, midway through the opening period. William Carrier would tie up the game with his sixth goal of the season. Tampa would take the lead again 2-1 heading into the 1st intermission.

The Golden Knights were awarded three power plays in the 2nd period but couldn’t convert and tie the game. Defensively, Vegas limited Tampa to 5 shots and kept them scoreless in the middle frame.

Paul Stastny would tie the game 2-2 early in the final period with his 16th of the season. Unfortunately, Steven Stamkos would give his team the lead 3-2. Tampa would later tack on an empty netter beating Vegas 4-2.

Vegas’ record drops to 27-21-7, sitting on 61 points on the season. The Golden Knights have one more game on the road trip before coming home this Saturday. The team will take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 4p. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights played a terrific game, especially at 5-on-5. They took just one penalty and it resulted in just a minute of power play time for the Lightning, another major plus. However, the Lightning were incredibly opportunistic cashing in on just about every dangerous chance they had while the Golden Knights couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a puck for most of the night. It’s yet another example of a game where the Golden Knights play great but don’t win, just this time with a new head coach. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena

  • 4th line starts

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Mark Stone
** Nate Schmidt
* Brayden McNabb

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 2 (30-21-4 64 PTS) – SO (1-0)

The Golden Knights couldn’t stay out of the box in the 1st period taking three uncharacteristic penalties. Schmidt (0 on season), Karlsson (5 on season), and Smith (3 on season) each took a penalty. Tampa Bay scored on one of them. The Golden Knights got a PP of their own and squandered it not getting even a single shot. The Golden Knights battled through multiple penalty kills to eventually tie the game at two. Valentin Zykov scored the tying goal. Vegas had a power play to end regulation and one to end OT but couldn’t get one to go. Alex Tuch came up huge in the shootout recording the only goal.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena

  • Steve Carp’s Wednesday column

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Cody Eakin
** Alex Tuch
* Valentin Zykov

 

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (4-5-1 9 PTS)

The Golden Knights came out with another period in which they dominated the advanced stats, but like has been the case many times this year, the scoreboard did not agree. Tampa scored first, Vegas answered, and then the Lightning took the lead into the first intermission. A power-play goal was upheld on an offside challenge by the Golden Knights which gave Tampa the 3-1 lead. A quick PP goal of their own by William Karlsson got Vegas closer, but they just could not find the equalizer. Not like they didn’t have their chances at it though.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Tampa Bay Lightning at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Still planning on the Pacioretty October/December article
  • New SinBin.vegas Podcast episode taping after the game

Three Stars
*** William Karlsson
** Shea Theodore
* Tyler Johnson

 

Best Against The Best

They are also 1-1 against these guys, the back-to-back champs, but they didn’t come close to the cut-off with their .571 points percentage. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have been masterful against the entire NHL this season, but equally as successful against the league’s elite. In fact, they’ve actually been better against the good teams than they have against the not-so-good teams.

For the purpose of making this article look as impressive as possible, we made the cut-off for a good team a .600 points percentage. Nine teams other than Vegas (.704) qualify, all are currently sitting in a playoff position.

Tampa Bay (.713)
Boston (.712)
Nashville (.689)
Winnipeg (.664)
Washington (.639)
Dallas (.625)
St. Louis (.623)
Toronto (.616)
Los Angeles (.602)

Let’s start at the top, like the very top. The Golden Knights have earned six out of eight points against Boston and Tampa Bay.

VGK vs. Teams with .700+ Points %
.750 Point Percentage
3-1-0 Record
4 Games
6 Points
2-0 vs. Tampa Bay
1-1 vs. Boston

When you add in other league contenders the Golden Knights point percentage drops a bit, but it still would qualify them as the best team in the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal are still haunting Tampa, Washington, Dallas, Nashville and Winnipeg.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 (30-11-3 63 PTS) TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 1

Golden Knights got one within the first minute from a re-direct by James Neal off a Deryk Engelland shot (Engelland’s 100th point). Vegas continued outskating the Lightning for a majority of the period and after missing a few good chances, Nate Schmidt was able to drive another one home. The Lightning power play did what it always does to make it 2-1, but an insane David Perron toe drag (see below) recovered the Vegas two goal lead into into the 3rd. The Golden Knights kept their foot on the pedal with an early 3rd period goal and then coasted to the finish line. Win number 30.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena

  • Podcast #95: More Heavy
  • Perron’s ability to control the puck is unmatched and irreplaceable for the Golden Knights.

Three Stars
*** James Neal
** David Perron
* Marc-Andre Fleury

Days since last broken stick due to losing to VGK: 0

Steven Stamkos Unknowingly Predicts Golden Knights Success… In 2015

One day we are going to get a player to admit that this is the reason they are so good at home. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen) 

Exactly two years before the Vegas Golden Knights hosted their first home game, superstar center, and mortal enemy for the next 10 hours, Steven Stamkos was predicting their future. On October 10, 2015, Tampa’s captain joined an NHL roundtable with Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson. Host George Stroumboulopoulos served up easy one-timers, chatting everything from the league’s best goaltenders to Lebron James. Near the end of the discussion, the trio was asked about the NHL’s best cities to play in, and that’s when Stamstrodamus was born.

(The whole video is great, but the the moment of interest is at 7:15)

What’s the best arena to play in, if it’s not yours? -Stroumboulopoulos:

Montreal.- Crosby

Same. -Karlsson

Yeah that’s probably me too. -Stamkos

Will your answer change if there’s a team in Vegas? Stroumboulopoulos

They might have the best home record in the league. -Stamstrodamus

There you have it. Nine months before the Golden Knights were awarded to The Creator and Las Vegas, a prophet in Tampa hinted at a flu that would only effect visiting NHL teams. Not only does Vegas hold the league’s best home record, but Stamkos and the Lightning were one of the 18 teams to aid VGK’s home-ice advantage.

Yeah, that’s a crappy way to lose a hockey game. We fight back to tie the game. I don’t think anyone would’ve complained if he doesn’t call that penalty on them at the end. That’s an iffy call. Then I think he feels the need to make up for a mistake. At that point in the game, the puck’s in the corner, there’s a battle going on. I know it’s tough. I just think it was the wrong call at that time in the game.- Steven Stamkos after December 19th game at T-Mobile Arena

Tampa will try to avoid a season sweep by the Golden Knights. Heck, it could’ve been the other way around had present-day Stamkos listened to himself from 2015.

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)

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 (22-9-2 46 PTS) TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3

The best team in the NHL comes to Vegas. Tampa got a couple power play goals in the first, but Vegas stormed back with a pair of man-advantage goals of their own in the 2nd. 3rd period hero Erik Haula (10 3rd period goals this year) tips in another one on an early power play, but Tampa ties it up. Shea Theodore wins it with just 2.3 seconds left in regulation. Vegas wins again, back in first place. The house always wins!

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Tampa Bay Lightning at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Forecheck, forecheck, FORECHECK!

Three Stars
*** David Perron
** Erik Haula
* Shea Theodore

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