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ANAHEIM DUCKS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (45-29-8, 98 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights closed out the season by hosting the Anaheim Ducks for game #82.  Vegas got off to a quick start taking the first six shot attempts of the game. Jonathan Marchessault fired four of them on net, but the period ended in a scoreless tie.

Anaheim took the first lead of the game early on a second period power play. Jack Eichel evened the score 14 minutes later to carry a 1-1 tie into the second intermission.

The Ducks shocked the Golden Knights in the final frame scoring two goals in the opening :80 seconds. Vegas tried to claw back but couldn’t generate any offense. Anaheim finished off the game with a late empty net goal.

The Golden Knights record drops to 45-29-8 losing to the Ducks 4-1 in their final regular season contest. Vegas will now wait to see which team they will be facing in the first round of the playoffs. Game 1 against the Oilers or Stars is tentatively scheduled for Monday night. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights were in complete control for the early portion of the game, they just couldn’t find the net. Then, a few of rough goals let in by Adin Hill allowed the Ducks to get some confidence. Vegas did not push back too hard and the regular season went out with a whimper. (Analysis by Ken)

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ANAHEIM DUCKS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (21-10-5, 47 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to Anaheim for their first game out of the Christmas break. The Ducks didn’t take long to breakout for four goals. Anaheim opened the scoring at the 3:23 mark of the 1st period and rattled off three more before the intermission. Vegas trailed 4-0 after 20 minutes of action.

Alec Martinez scored Vegas’ first goal of the game 7:23 into the 2nd period. Vegas’ captain Mark Stone got his team within two but Anaheim scored before the intermission.

Trailing 5-2 to start the period, the Golden Knights couldn’t generate anymore offense.

The Golden Knights record drops to 21-10-5 losing 5-2 to the Ducks in Anaheim. Vegas will head back home for a matchup with the LA Kings. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM.(Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights got blitzed to start the game, falling behind by four goals before they generated much of anything on their own. From there, it got better, but certainly not enough better to erase a four goal deficit. Not a good loss coming off the break after losing all three going in. (Analysis by Ken)

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Anaheim’s Third Period Rally Taken From Vegas’ Playbook

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On Sunday night the Stanley Cup-winning Vegas Golden Knights dropped their first regulation game of the season. Think about that again, it’s November 7th and the Golden Knights have secured 23 out of their opening 26 points of 2023-24.

Well, I give our players a lot of credit. It’s their fourth in six days. They’ve played their asses off. We give up three chances, and they all ended up in the net. That’s going to happen some nights. -Bruce Cassidy

3rd period scoring is one of the major reasons the Cup champions have the record they do in early November. A couple of days ago the surprising Anaheim Ducks gave Vegas a taste of their own medicine. The Golden Knights are among the top of the league in 3rd period scoring but after Sunday’s game, so are the Ducks.

NHL’s Top 3rd Period Scoring Teams

  1. Detroit Red Wings: 20
  2. Vegas Golden Knights: 19
  3. Anaheim Ducks: 19
  4. Minnesota Wild: 18
  5. Carolina Hurricanes: 18
  6. LA Kings: 17
  7. Vancouver Canucks: 16

While the cluster of clubs are close in numbers, we have to figure in empty-net goals. Not taking anything away from Vegas but they’ve shot and scored into an empty net on four separate occasions. When all is said and done, an ENG usually results in two points. Anaheim and LA are slightly different in the sense that their goals tie or put them ahead with their final frame tallies.

We’re a veteran group, and we should be able to finish that game, but credit to them. They came hard and they got some bounces, and they were able to put a few in the net. -Brayden McNabb

Anaheim’s flurry of 3rd period scoring on Sunday got them back in the game, evened the score, and covered the reverse puckline for good measure. It was unlike any final frame Vegas has skated this season. It’ll also likely be one of the few poor 3rd periods we will see in the future.

The Golden Knights’ ability to create goals when it matters isn’t fading because of an overdue loss to start the season. Dating back to the 2023 playoffs, crucial and late-game goals secured key wins for Vegas and eliminated four competitive opponents. It’s certainly carried over to this season. Sunday night was tough, but from the looks of it, it’s an aberration, not the start of a trend.

ANAHEIM DUCKS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (11-1-1, 23 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights carried their historic undefeated regulation streak into Sunday’s game against the surprising Ducks. Ivan Barbashev started the scoring off for Vegas with his fourth goal of 2022-23. 

Vegas took a 2-0 advantage in the second period courtesy of Jack Eichel. It was the top-line center’s third goal in back-to-back games. 

Anaheim made a push tying the game in the first half of the final frame. With less than five minutes remaining in the game, the Ducks tallied their third straight goal and took a 3-2 advantage. Anaheim added a late empty-net score to end the Golden Knights win streak. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 11-1-1 losing their first game in regulation, losing to the Ducks 4-2. Vegas will get the next two days off and get back on the ice Wednesday night against LA. Puck drop vs. the Kings is scheduled for 7 PM.(Recap by Jason)

Analysis: For 40 minutes the Golden Knights had the game exactly where they wanted it. Anaheim couldn’t get to the center of the ice and the Ducks looked like they were chasing Vegas all over the ice. Then, in the 3rd, the wheels fell off the VGK wagon. They started making uncharacteristic mistakes that turned into scoring chances in tight for the Ducks. Tough spot in the schedule, but VGK had a 2 goal lead in the 3rd, not a game they lose in regulation often. (Analysis by Ken)

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VGK Gearing Up For “Difficult Weekend Of Hard Hockey”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights remain atop the standings in the NHL with a .955 points percentage through their first 11 games. 10-0-1 is impressive no matter who you play, but there’s no question Vegas has been blessed with a fairly fortunate schedule so far.

They currently have the 29th-ranked strength of schedule, have played seven of the 11 games at home, and have won three games in the shootout.

Prior to Thursday’s game against Winnipeg, the team was outwardly being pretty hard on themselves. They knew they could be better and despite the nearly immaculate record, they hit the ice for a pair of practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We were winning some games but we weren’t playing our best game. So it was good to get out there and practice and we got rewarded with a great game. -Marchessault

Head coach Bruce Cassidy wanted to jump-start the process of getting his team back on track. He also knew the next stretch of games was going to be far and away the toughest the Golden Knights have faced all season.

Tonight with a familiar opponent that we’ve built a little animosity with I think is food for us and I think Colorado will be the same. We know how good they are and I think they respect how we play the game. We can carry that over into Saturday and to be quite honest Sunday for that matter. Anaheim is playing really well, they’re feeling really good about their game and they are sitting there waiting for us. -Cassidy

The Avalanche visit T-Mobile Arena tonight in a battle of two of the best teams in the Western Conference. For the first time all season, the Golden Knights are underdogs. Then, directly after the game, VGK hop on the plane to Anaheim where the Ducks are riding a five-game win streak and haven’t played since Wednesday.

It’s going to be a difficult weekend of hard hockey so it’s good for us to get into that mentality. -Cassidy

Clearly, the Golden Knights have nothing to prove at this point in the season. They’re the reigning Stanley Cup champions and they’ve rattled off an 11-game point streak including 10 wins to open the season. That being said, these games will have a bit of a bigger game feel, especially tonight’s against the Avs.

Win them both, and people will start looking at Boston’s record season last year and asking if the Golden Knights can top it. Lose them both, and the schedule is going to start looking like it did Vegas some favors to get off to a hot start.

There aren’t many truly exciting games in a regular season. Tonight and tomorrow, the Golden Knights have them.

Cup Champs Finally Face A Challenging Opponent

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Normally, after a team wins a championship the opposition tends to be heavily motivated the following season. Through three games, the Stanley Cups champions have been underwhelmed with their early season competition. That changed last night against the Dallas Stars.

That was an intense game, it was a fun game. It felt just like a playoff game again. You’re fighting for every inch. That’s why we play until the very last second. We know what to expect. We have a target on our back. -Keegan Kolesar

Opponents have struggled to get off quality shots and create scoring chances. Which has led to an abundance of offensive zone time for Jack Eichel and others. With the exception of Dallas, Vegas has been living in the opposition’s defensive zone.

The lineup is defending, scoring, and stopping like it’s the Stanley Cup Finals. So, of course they’re spending most of their time in the lead. Last night was the only outlier, but Vegas still managed to earn more points in the waning minutes.

2023-24 VGK vs Opponents

  • VGK: 3.75 Goals Per Game
  • Opponents: 1.50 GPG
  • VGK: 33 Shots Per Game
  • Opponents: 26.1 SPG
  • VGK: 21.79 Hits Per Game
  • Opponents: 16.71 Hits Per Game
  • VGK: 15.67 Shots Blocked Per Game
  • Opponents: 19.71 SB Per Game
  • VGK: 13.3% Power Play Percentage
  • Opponents: 0% PP Percentage vs. VGK

Expectedly, the physicality so far has had a sniff of playoff intensity. There have been several fights, including two last night, a two-game suspension, and dozens of post-whistle scrums. Unsurprisingly, the Golden Knights are in the top ten in hits per game, penalties drawn per game, and have been sent to the box for fighting 4 times in 4 games. Even the youngsters in Anaheim took shots Vegas’ veterans.

After their shootout victory against Dallas, the Golden Knights will be facing another team with past emotions and motivation. Dallas pushed Vegas until the bitter end, Winnipeg on Thursday, and LA later this month should bring the same intensity. All three have reasons for revenge. Realistically, those are the toughest two matchups left in October. It won’t be until November that Vegas will get a chance to flash their championship jewelry to Calgary, Vancouver, and the embittered Edmonton Oilers.

They were locking up on defense pretty good in their own end. It was a great tip from Karlsson. Just a big play at big time. We know as a group we’re never out of a game. -Adin Hill

Unlike their other three opponents, the Stars came out hard, physical, and left T-Mobile Arena with a point. At this early stage in the NHL, only a handful of teams will travel to Las Vegas and perform that way. The way the Stanley Cup champions are built, there won’t be many times they’re out of a game.

The formula to the playoffs is already a pace ahead for the Golden Knights. They’ve collected their first eight points and it wasn’t all that hard. Vegas took care of their preliminary soft schedule and battled it out with Dallas in OT/SO. They’ll look to do it again to another playoff casualty on Thursday.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 ANAHEIM 1 (3-0-0, 6 PTS)

Recap:  The Stanley Cup champions hosted the Anaheim Ducks trying to remain unbeaten in the young season. Both teams traded penalties in the opening twenty minutes which limited offensive chances. The Golden Knights were rewarded with an extended power play and Jack Eichel took advantage of 1.3 seconds before the period horn sounded. Eichel scored his second goal of the season, giving the Golden Knights a 1-0 edge.

Vegas began the period on the power play but couldn’t come up with their second goal. Late in the period, Chandler Stephenson scored on his backhand to double VGK’s advantage.

Leading 2-0, the Golden Knights kept the pressure on the Ducks and goaltender John Gibson. Shea Theodore unleashed a rocket on the power play to extend the lead to 3-0. Anaheim got one to make it 3-1, but never got closer. Jonas Rondbjerg tallied the empty netter to continue the streak of 4-1 victories.

Vegas’ record improves to 3-0-0 after their 4-1 victory over Anaheim. The Golden Knights will stay put and prepare for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. The Western Conference Finals rematch is scheduled for 7:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Despite missing five starters from the usual lineup, the Golden Knights overwhelmed the Anaheim Ducks. Far more shots, scoring chances, high-danger chances, you name it, VGK dominated it. The road to 82-0-0 is still alive. (Analysis by Ken)

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