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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 ANAHEIM DUCKS 0 (7-2-0 14 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights took advantage of a power play in the 1st period when Chandler Stephenson jammed home a goal from right out in front.

In the 2nd, it was an open game for a while until Vegas struck on the penalty kill. Then, the floodgates opened as William Karlsson added a tipped shot and Nic Roy scored on a breakaway. It was 4-0 at the end of 40.

The 3rd period was useless aside from the fact that Logan Thompson completed his second shutout of the season.

The Golden Knights record continues to climb to 7-2-0, defeating the Ducks 4-0 on Nevada Day. Next up is the Jets before the Golden Knights head out for a tricky five-game eastern road trip. Puck drop on Sunday against Winnipeg at T-Mobile Arena is scheduled for 5:00 PM. (Recap by Ken)

Analysis: It took a while for the game to really get going, but once it did it turned into a classic VGK vs ANA game. The Golden Knights cleaned up their act in the defensive and neutral zones and the Ducks began to break down all over the ice in every situation. Stephenson took advantage of a PK and goaltending mishap, Smith buried a 2-on-1 on a friendly-fire-led break, and Roy finished a chance born out of the Ducks seemingly having never seen what happens when a puck bounces. Give credit to VGK across the board though, it starts with how you defend against these horrible teams. If you make life tough on them, they’ll make it very easy on you.  (Recap by Ken)

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VGK Set To Advance Next Postseason Against Weak Pacific

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Throughout team history, Vegas averages 102 points over an 82 game season. This season, 102 points would’ve earned Vegas a third place finish in the Pacific Division and a seven game series against Edmonton. There’s a strong case that a healthy Golden Knights roster would’ve given the Oilers a run for their money.

There are no excuses and we need to have a good start and go from there, but this is part of playoff hockey and you’re going to go through adversity. There are no easy games and no easy series, so we’re going to be prepared to go .-Ryan Nugent Hopkins, EDM forward

So far, only the Central Division has had a team eliminated. In a few days, it’s possible two of three Pacific Division teams are sent home packing as well. Sure, Calgary is up a game but Dallas hasn’t been an easy opponent. In the other western series, the Oilers have fallen right into the trap of the underdog Kings. It’s premature but none of the three Pacific teams are looking like favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Let’s say the Golden Knights are healthy enough next season to make the playoffs. If they top off at 102 points they would likely be the second or third team coming out of the Pacific. In that case, Vegas would be guaranteed to face off against a divisional rival. Chances are the familiar faces will be in play in 2022-23. Which statistically favors the Golden Knights.

It’s not just about scoring. There’s a lot more to the game than that.-Daryl Sutter, CGY coach

Since 2017-18, Vegas has a total of 464 points. The Golden Knights have earned more than a third from inside their division. Excluding the now Central Division Coyotes, the Golden Knights have tallied 176 Pacific Division points in 119 games. That’s a hearty .676 winning % against the teams Vegas faces most and in the opening rounds of the playoffs.

Golden Knights fans have now watched how predictable the Pacific division has been for half a decade. LA in and Vegas out was the only real surprise over that period. The landscape will likely stay the same next season.

When the oddsmakers set the lines for next season’s divisional leaders the Golden Knights are likely to be the favorite. Other teams have areas to address as well. Calgary will have to make some big decisions, so will Edmonton, San Jose and Vancouver. LA’s quick climb to the postseason will be interesting if it keeps up, especially if a healthy Vegas team is rolling. In year six no matter what changes have been made the Golden Knights will have a chance to fight for the division and form a path to another conference final. It’s that easy, depending on offseason changes.

Dadonov‘s Back But League To Address Voided Trade At GM Meetings

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

He’s not the most popular player but last night even the most critical Golden Knights fans had to feel happy for Evgenii Dadonov. In his first game “back” the 33-year-old forward scored Vegas’ third goal of the game and is now tied for the second most on the team.

Dadonov began a flurry of three total Golden Knights power play goals. The crowd roared when #63 backhanded a loose rebound into the net and his teammates wrapped him in a tight group hug on the ice.

I felt that support from the stands. Probably pumped me up even more. I always loved playing here… Great experience playing here in front of this crowd. Still think it’s the best fans in the league. -Dadonov

In the end the trade was voided and Dadonov is back in line with the rest of his Vegas teammates. However, this messy deadline incident will not go away. Player protection clarity will be a future topic of conversation with league officials. The NHL never wants this to never happen again.

I think there’s going to be some fallout. They are going to be talking about this at the GM meetings. A no-trade list is submitted solely between a player agent and the club. The league does not keep track of no trade list, the NHLPA doesn’t. Which by the way, is crazy. –Pierre LeBrun on TSN

Clearly, there were miscommunications from several parties and it wasn’t the league’s finest moment. On a spotlight day like the NHL trade deadline the eventually voided Dadonov deal led headlines. The league would rather make player protection awareness a more streamlined and transparent process.

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NHL Pundits Puzzled By Dadonov Dilemma

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

It’s been almost 48 hours since the Golden Knights front office attempted to trade forward Evgenii Dadonov. While we wait for the league’s decision the coverage and speculation has been non-stop across the US and Canada.

You tell me how the NHL can do anything except void this trade. This is not on Ottawa. The Ottawa Senators right now should be telling the NHL, Anaheim and Vegas, scram. –Nick Kypreos on Sportsnet 590

Like all of us, pundits are puzzled as to how the deal was approved and how widely available trade protection information was missed by the NHL and the Golden Knights.

Vegas is saying that when they made the trade with Ottawa there was no trade list submitted. They had no idea that he had a no trade list. How is it possible in today’s age? You can click on CapFriendly and come up with every trade protection to every player in the NHL, yet the NHL and Vegas Golden Knights didn’t know. There’s a lot of finger pointing right now. This deal could get voided. –Darren Dreger on TSN Toronto

The deal in itself makes sense. Vegas would gain cap relief and have room to activate Mark Stone off LTIR. There is also an argument to be made that Dadonov’s depth scoring may have come in handy in the playoffs. Also, that Stone might not be fully healthy or as effective as he can be.

If this trade doesn’t go through it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to activate some of the players they have on LTIR. I do think it’s possible that another team, like Arizona, would step forward and say ‘if you’re willing to give us an incentive we can potentially help you out here.’ I’m asking people that are smarter than me to do the math and they’re telling me that they don’t see without this deal happening that Vegas can activate some of its players. -Elliotte Friedman on NHL Network

It has to be frustrating for Vegas’ front office. The NHL is carefully working on a solution all the while the Golden Knights regular season continues without either Dadonov or Stone in their lineup. Not only that, management has to be prepared if the trade is voided. Will they throw extra incentives for another team’s assistance? They’re not in an envious position.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 ANAHEIM DUCKS 4 (31-21-4 66 PTS)

Recap: The Ducks took the first lead of the game early in the 1st period. A few minutes later Ben Hutton tied the game with his second goal of the season.

The Golden Knights’ offense really picked up in the middle frame scoring four times. Jonathan Marchessault and Michael Amadio each scored one and Nic Roy scored twice stretching Vegas’ lead to 5-2. Anaheim got a late one in the period to get within two. 

The Ducks tightened the score on the power play to close the gap and make it a little tighter than VGK would have liked. But the Golden Knights held on and got a much-needed victory.

The Golden Knights record improves to 31-21-4 defeating the Ducks 5-4. Vegas next hits the ice on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators. Puck drop is set for 7 PM at T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Sometimes you just have a team’s number, and no matter how you are playing coming in, it doesn’t matter. That’s been Vegas against Anaheim for the entire history of the franchise. In this one, the offensive issues faded away for a night and VGK scored every which way possible at even-strength. The defense wasn’t great and made it interesting, but in the end, it was the type of game they needed and now it’s time to build. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 ANAHEIM DUCKS 1 (22-12-0 44 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights took control early in the game scoring twice on the Ducks in the 1st period. Nic Roy opened the scoring and Adam Brooks doubled Vegas’ lead.

Mattias Janmark scored the only goal of a messy 2nd period. Both teams were handed a dozen penalties in the middle frame for roughing and fighting.

The game settled down in the 3rd but Anaheim spoiled Vegas’ shutout scoring in the waning seconds of the contest.

The Golden Knights record improves to 22-12-0 defeating the Ducks 3-1. Vegas will face off after the New Year on Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets. Puck drop is set for 1P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights whipped the Ducks all over the ice from the moment they dropped the puck to the second the game ended. Complete and utter domination to ring in the New Year. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Anaheim Ducks game at T-Mobile Arena.

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VGK’s Head-To-Head Dominance Over Pacific Division Slipping

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the Golden Knights entered the NHL they’ve done nothing but dominate the Pacific Division.

Not just in the overall standings, in which the Golden Knights have won the division two of the three years they’ve competed in it, but also in the postseason where Vegas has been the last team standing three of the four playoff seasons.

One of the main reasons for this dominance has been the head-to-head play between the teams. Of the six teams still in the division (Arizona left for the Central), the Golden Knights had a combined record of 68-21-8 record coming into this season. That’s 144 points in just 97 games or a points percentage of .742. Against all other teams, VGK have earned 226 points in 194 games for a points percentage of .583.

Literally almost 40% of the points the Golden Knights have earned in franchise history have come on the backs of just six teams. But this year it hasn’t gone as well.

Record against ANA, CGY, EDM, LAK, SJS, and VAN
21-22: 2-4-0 (.333)
20-21: 21-3-0 (.875)
19-20: 13-5-2  (.700)
18-19: 18-8-3 (.672)
17-18: 16-5-3 (.729)

The Golden Knights have won just two games against Pacific Division opponents not named Seattle while dropping four. They’ve lost both division games they’ve played on the road (at LAK, at ANA) and have allowed their opponent to grab at least a point in every game but one, a game they trailed 2-0 six minutes in (vs VAN).

Winning in the division has been a staple for the Golden Knights’ success and one has to wonder what their overall record will look like if they are not amassing huge point totals against the Pacific Division.

Obviously, Seattle has helped as Vegas has beaten them twice in two tries, both in regulation. However, those games were both at T-Mobile Arena and the Kraken appear to be improving as the season progresses. The next two matchups in late March and early April may not be as easy.

There are still 18 games left against division opponents. Including Seattle, the Golden Knights have recorded eight points in the first eight games. To reach their normal pace against the division (.742), they’d need to go 15-2-1.

Making that even trickier, 10 of the 18 games are on the road, including a pair in Edmonton and Calgary who are in 1st and 2nd in the division.

Adding this all up, the fact of the matter is, the Golden Knights are going to need to play much better out of division than they ever have before to reach the playoffs.

There’s no better time than now to start that as nine of the next 10 games are out of the division.

ANAHEIM DUCKS 6 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 (12-10-0 24 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights got off to a slow start in Anaheim, recording their first shot 5:43 into the opening period. The two teams traded penalties but neither converted on the man advantage. After the opening 20 minutes the game was locked in a scoreless tie. 

Anaheim took the first lead of the game 4:21 in the middle frame, only to double it two minutes later. William Carrier cut the lead in half with his third goal of the season. The Ducks however, widened their lead adding two more but Zach Whitecloud got Vegas back in the game with a shorthanded goal with :12 left in the period. After 40 minutes expired the Golden Knights trailed 4-2. 

Mattias Janmark scored Vegas’ second shorthanded goal of the evening to close Anaheim’s gap. The Ducks regained their two goal lead but the Golden Knights wouldn’t go a way. On Vegas’ third power play opportunity Max Pacioretty kept the visiting team alive scoring his third of the season. The Golden Knights gave up a shorthanded empty net goal, but scored another power play to make it a 6-5 game. Anaheim survived a wild third period beating Vegas by one. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 12-10-0 falling 6-5 to the Ducks in Anaheim. Vegas wraps up their short two-game trip with a stop in Arizona on Friday night. Puck drop against the Coyotes is scheduled for 6:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: After starting to look a little more like themselves the last week or so, the Golden Knights lacked an attention to details. Major issues in the neutral zone, inability to breakout, unwillingness to cover for active d-men. VGK fought their butts off to come back into the game but they couldn’t get over the hump. A winnable game playing the Ducks on a back-to-back, the Golden Knights couldn’t get it. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Anaheim Ducks game at Honda Center.

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Surprising Ducks Not Cup Ready Like Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are loaded with high-ticket talent and proven leaders. When Jack Eichel makes his Vegas debut the 31st franchise will be one of the league’s most dangerous teams. Tonight’s opponent, the Anaheim Ducks are skilled but built much differently. Through the draft the Ducks became younger, cheaper and much more competitive than they had over the last few seasons. For instance, Anaheim had an eight game win streak, one of their players string together a sixteen game point streak, and currently sit one point above the Golden Knights in the standings. It’s a bit of a shock to fans of teams in the Pacific Division.

Since their arrival, Vegas is 18-3-0 all-time against Anaheim. The Golden Knights have outscored the Ducks 79-41 and allow only 1.95 goals per game. It’s been a one-sided series to say the least. This season the two teams met in late October and as usual the Vegas won 5-4. However, the box score won’t tell you Vegas blew a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period, or Anaheim scored three unanswered goals in a five minute span, or the game was decided in shootout.

If it wasn’t clear before, trading for Eichel was clear sign the Golden Knights are in a full win-now mode. Whereas the Ducks are playing without any organizational pressure. It’s all about building chemistry, experience, and making an unsuspected run towards the playoffs. Of course, every team desires deep playoff runs but few are constructed well enough to win a Stanley Cup. Vegas is one of them. Anaheim is showing early signs they could be in the future.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 ANAHEIM DUCKS 4 (4-4-0 8 PTS) – SO (2-1)

Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Anaheim Ducks on Nevada Day searching their third win in a row. Reilly Smith made it a quick 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season. Robin Lehner stopped all 8 shots from Anaheim in the opening twenty minutes. 

Defenseman Nic Hague doubled Vegas’ lead 2-0 with his second of the season. The Ducks took advantage of a Golden Knights defensive breakdown to got within one late in the period. After 40 minutes Vegas held a 2-1 advantage. 

The home team widened their lead with two goals in the first six minutes of the final period. Chandler Stephenson added his fourth of the season and William Carrier scored his first. The Ducks fought back and tied the game 4-4 forcing overtime. Evgenii Dadonov extended Vegas’ winning streak to three games with a successful shootout strike.

The Golden Knights record improves to 4-4-0 after their 5-4 SO victory against the Ducks. Vegas hits the road for a four game road trip starting off in Toronto on Tuesday. Puck drop against the Maple Leafs is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: After the game Pete DeBoer said this game felt like it was five games wrapped up in one. If that’s true, the Golden Knights were the better team in four of the five, but that one they weren’t almost erased all of it. This one would have stung badly even if they had dropped it in overtime or shootout. Instead, they get the two points and you can chalk about the blown lead as not a huge deal. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Anaheim Ducks game at T-Mobile Arena.

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