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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 2 (11-9-3 25 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights welcomed in the Toronto Maple Leafs for a mid November, non conference clash. The 1st period was tight and both teams did a solid job defending. Each team was shutout and the period ended in a scoreless tie.

Cody Glass would open up the scoring with his 4th goal of the season. On a Vegas power play, Max Pacioretty blasted a shot on net which Glass loosened the puck and gave his team the 1-0 edge.

The Maple Leafs would tie the game at one in the 3rd period but the Golden Knights would regain the lead :41 seconds later. Tomas Nosek scored on a breakaway using his backend to give Vegas the 2-1 lead. The Golden Knights would add two more and win 4-2.

Vegas improves their record to 11-9-3 and find themselves on a two-game winning streak. The Golden Knights get back on the ice for a divisional battle against the San Jose Sharks. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights played an excellent first two periods, both pressuring the Leafs but also taking care of their own end incredibly well. They looked like the team that the city has grown to know and love and entered the 3rd with the one goal  lead. However, things came apart at the seams a bit in the 3rd and if not for Marc-Andre Fleury, this is another 3rd period collapse.

That being said, Vegas did not lose the game and ends up walking away with two points against a good team (though they are scuffling). It wasn’t a perfect effort but it was another pretty darn good one for the Golden Knights. Overall, they’ve continued to put up good game after good game and certainly appear to be headed in the right direction. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Toronto Maple Leafs at T-Mobile Arena

  • Details on a VGK player-owned restaurant coming soon.
  • Nic Hague played one game in the AHL, he’s been much better since. Coincidence? I think not.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc
** Andre
* Fleury

Fans Unfairly Blaming Gallant Should Watch Toronto’s Fallout

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was a small percent of the fanbase but there were some questioning the coaching ability of Gerard Gallant over the past two weeks. The 2018 Jack Adams award winner has accrued a record of 104-65-17 as the Golden Knights head coach. That’s a .605 points percentage, ranking Gallant among the league’s best over that period. Not to mention his .593 postseason win percentage and 16 combined wins in two playoff runs. Tonight’s visitor, the Toronto Maple Leafs and their head coach are an entirely different story. One that should quiet any Gallant doubters.

Toronto head coach Mike Babcock is highly respected, highly paid, and has one of the most talented rosters in the NHL. He’s also currently on the hot seat.

Babcock is in his fifth season, and under his watch, the Maple Leafs have failed in the postseason never making it out of the first round. This season, Toronto has started slow, put up some stinkers, and according to the fanbase, underachieved.

Fan votes shouldn’t impact an organization’s decision, but it’s a pretty strong indicator of current temperature in Leafs Nation. In reality, there are other elements. Toronto GM Kyle Dubas didn’t hire Babcock, he acquired players that aren’t connecting with the coach, and already has his replacement in the AHL. None of those scenarios exist here in Vegas.

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TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (9-5-3 21 PTS) – OT

The Golden Knights were forced to start the game in their defensive zone but the team stepped up defensively. Under heavy attack for most of the period, Vegas and Malcolm Subban kept Toronto out of the net and the opening 20 minutes ended in a scoreless tie.

Vegas came out sin the 2nd period, combining for 14 shots on net. The Golden Knights penalty killing units continued to shine, shutting down Toronto’s power play and even-strengthened offense. After two periods the game remained 0-0.

The Golden Knights finally opened the scoring with a goal by Max Pacioretty 4:08 into the 3rd period. The Maple Leafs would tie the game on their sixth power play opportunity. After three periods of play the game would need to be settled in overtime. Jon Tavares would win it late in 2–1 OT for Toronto.

Vegas drops their record to (9-5-3). The team continues their road trip on Saturday will against the Washington Capitals. Puck drop is scheduled for 4PM PT. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena

  • Can we stop with the “Golden Knights aren’t that good” stuff?

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Shea Theodore
** Max Pacioretty
* Malcolm Subban

Golden Knights vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Photo Gallery – February 14th, 2019

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TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 6 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (31-24-4 66 PTS)

Vegas spent a majority of the 1st period in the box taking three penalties in the last nine minutes of the period. Toronto’s lethal power play capitalized and got on the board first. The Golden Knights did well to storm back scoring shorthanded by Paul Stastny and another by Oscar Lindberg. But the Leafs wouldn’t be held down long scoring a pair of their own in the 2nd. Vegas came back and tied it again at three with a William Karlsson tap in on a brilliant pass from Jon Merrill. Once again though, the defense couldn’t hold against one of the league’s best offenses giving up three straight to drop their fifth straight at home and eight of the last 11. Yikes.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Toronto Maple Leafs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • I’m not even sure, but it won’t be positive.
  • Also, a photo gallery from the game.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Jon Merrill
** Reilly Smith
* Cody Eakin

Have The Golden Knights Gotten Better Since The First Time They Saw Toronto?

These guys think they are better now than before. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In early November the Golden Knights traveled to Toronto in the midst of their worst stretch in franchise history. It’s hard to believe Vegas lost five of of six games this season. In their first meeting on November 6th, the Maple Leafs survived in a shootout after giving up a 3-1 lead. Since then, the Golden Knights have won 17 of 22 games.

After the 6-3 Vegas victory, Leafs’ Superstar Auston Matthews went on to credit the Golden Knights consistency.

They’ve obviously been a good team all year. Maybe they surprised some people but I think they’ve got good players. Everybody works hard. They’re pretty well-coached. They’re a team that plays right. There’s a lot of depth all through their four lines and three pairs of defensemen. They’re a good team and I think they’ve played the same way when we played them earlier this year. They’ve got speed, they’ve got size, and they play a good team game. -Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs Forward

Pretty well coached?!? What the… nevermind, we’ll let him slide on that.

Teammate Morgan Reilly agreed with Matthews, nothing has changed since November. The Golden Knights were fast, smart and aggressive on November 6th and December 31st.

No. They are pretty consistent. When we played them in Toronto they play a lot like they did tonight. They’re deep, they have a lot of lines that roll over. I mean, they’re for real. -Morgan Reilly, Maple Leafs Defenseman

Jonathan Marchessault doesn’t agree.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 (26-9-2 54 PTS) TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 3

The VegasFlu may have struck again as the Golden Knights jumped all over the Leafs to the tune of a three goal lead in the 1st period. Toronto got the first and last goals of the 2nd to send the game to the 3rd at 4-2 Vegas. Toronto cut the lead to one, but an incredble display of puck handling over the course of about 150 feet of ice from Shea Theodore set up the Golden Knights 5th goal of the afternoon. The 6th goal goes in the books as an historic one, the Golden Knights first hat trick. William Karlsson got it with an unreal empty netter. Vegas wins again, that’s seven straight and a 12 game point streak.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Toronto Maple Leafs at T-Mobile Arena

  • How much better are the Golden Knights now that they were the first time they played the Leafs.

Three Stars
*** Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
** Jonathan Marchessault
* William Karlsson

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (9-4-1 19 PTS) (SO 1-0)

The high flying Maple Leafs came out firing and put up three 1st period goals on Maxime Lagace. A much better 2nd capped by a late power play goal got the Golden Knights back into it. Deryk Engelland comes up with a laser to tie it and the game goes to OT, Vegas’ third OT of the season. Vegas goes 0 for 3 in first shootout in franchise history.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Three Stars

*** Deryk Engelland
** Mitchell Marner
* Nazem Kadri

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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If A Deal Was Done For Eric Fehr, Why And What Would Vegas Get?

The trade deadline came and went with the Golden Knights making some of the biggest news. No, they didn’t actually announce the acquisition of any players, draft picks, or expansion agreements, but they did become a “fully operational member” of the NHL.

Thus, George McPhee was effectively in the game before the clock struck midnight on the deadline. The NHL’s gibberish rules for what the Golden Knights can now do state that even if McPhee did pull off a deal, it could not be made official until every player involved has completed their 2016-17 season, which won’t happen until April at the earliest.

However, that didn’t stop the guys over at Hockey Central from speculating that deals were indeed agreed upon. Former Columbus BJ’s general manager Doug MacLean basically guaranteed the Golden Knights agreed to at least a few deals, and even went as so far as to mention one player by name. Eric Fehr.

Eric Fehr, the former Capital (hint, hint), Jet, Penguin, and now Maple Leaf just so happened to play his junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings (hint, hint, hint, hint!). His contract expires at the end of the Golden Knights first season and is a reasonable $2 million for the right winger. He’s been around the league, is considered a good locker room guy, and talent wise he’s certainly going to be good enough to be on Vegas’ initial 23 man roster. The point is, the Golden Knights staff has a connection to him, he has a friendly contract, is the type of player they are looking for, and is good enough at hockey.

Now, take a look at the Maple Leafs expansion situation. Their most coveted players are all exempt due to age, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Nikita Zaitsev. There are nine players currently on the roster with expiring contracts, all but two of which for the sake of this exercise can be thrown out. That leaves them with 16 skaters that meet the requirement eligible to be protected. Bear in mind, they must expose two forwards and one defenseman that are both under contract and have played 40 games this year or 70 in the last two. The Maple Leafs currently only have seven forwards who fit both qualifications, and that’s including Fehr.

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