Since their first season, the Golden Knights have now faced the Arizona Coyotes 13 times. Although Vegas’ record is 9-4-0 in those games, it doesn’t truly tell the story, a lot like last night’s game.
The Coyotes will remind us that in their history against the Golden Knights they’ve taken points off the Golden Knights in eight of the 13 games.
We’ve played this team before and we’ve had some success. I don’t want to go in there and be intimidated. We shouldn’t be intimidated if we play the right way. We got to have some swagger going in there knowing that if we play our game we can beat this team. -Rick Tocchet, Coyotes coach
Prior to last night, in the first dozen meetings with the Coyotes, the Golden Knights led the scoring margin by just six goals. However, three were scored in overtime, one in shootout, and one was an empty netter. So, after last night, Vegas has nine wins against Arizona, but an overall lead of just four goals in regulation.
ESPNNNNNNN’s Greg Wyshynski spoke with TSN Edmonton this week about the Pacific Division and Jon Gibson’s eight-year extension goaltender with the Anaheim Ducks.
He’s a solid goalie. He’s a workhorse, it’s a position you don’t have to worry about. They’re a contender. Gibson is going to give them a chance and make them a contender for a bit. -Greg Wyshynski, ESPN
Just like Vegas, the Ducks re-upped their goalie but have many questions elsewhere on the ice. While Gibson may help Anaheim compete, at this moment Fleury is in a better spot to win.
In six separate seasons, Quick finished in the top ten for most wins and goals against average, including last season. LA’s goaltender was ninth with 33 wins, and tenth posting a 2.40 GAA. The 2012 Conn Smythe award winner’s 49 career shutouts are fourth among active goaltenders, one ahead of Marc-Andre Fleury. Quick steps his game up in the playoffs posting a 2.23 career postseason GAA and a .922 career postseason save percentage. The Golden Knights swept the Kings in the first round but LA couldn’t put the blame on their goaltender, who posted four consecutive quality starts. Without Quick in net, the series would’ve been a two-game mercy rule.
What more could I possibly say about Fleury? Golden Knights fans witnessed a star reborn and lead their team to the Stanley Cup finals. Fleury amazed start after start… remember he started 20 out of 21 games down the stretch? Fleury had a renaissance season becoming an All-Star for the first time since 2015, finishing fifth in the Vezina award voting, and passing 400 career wins. To top off a near-perfect season, the 33-year-old morphed into a flying brick wall in the postseason. In 20 playoff games, Fleury allowed just 47 goals, and registered 12 quality starts. Sure, I gave Quick the slight edge, but it’s clear which goalie Vegas fans would rather in net.
Two of TSN’s top analysts released their expansion mock drafts with many similarities. TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button and TSN’s Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli are two that are clearly in the know. From the players selected is it possible some secrets are already out of the bag?
Let’s start with the obvious. Go ahead and Twitter search “Marc-Andre Fleury + Vegas.” You’ll read multiple tweets about his eventual move to Las Vegas. In fact, there are even rumors floating that MAF’s wife was in Southern Nevada house-shopping. If any of our real estate friends out there can confirm this story we’d all appreciate it.
Both Seravalli and Button have Fleury taken as the Golden Knights first goaltender. Possibly the outcome of this season could impact the Cup-winning backstop’s decision. After his stellar performance in the first few series the hockey world realized Fleury has a lot left. In fact, there’s a running theory that Fleury and Matt Murray could split the Conn Smyth trophy. Talk about leaving Pittsburg on a high note Costanza. At 32-years-old, Flower could be a valuable commodity for any team. However, according to TSN experts, Fleury will waive his NMC and settle into his six-bedroom/ten bath Summerlin house Mrs. Flower picked out.
A second player selected by Button and Seravalli will be excite the local core. For all that are still upset about the absent “Las” you’ll be happy to read the name Jason Zucker on both mock drafts. Personally, seeing the Wild’s forward selected puzzles me. From all accounts, Minnesota doesn’t seem prepared to move on from the 22 goal-scoring winger. Maybe, the Wild are warm-hearted and will reunite Las Vegas with a native son. The question is, what will it cost the Golden Knights.
Backups, like Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect. Although, Las Vegas fans shouldn’t disregard backup goaltenders. Chances are one of the NHL’s secondary netminders will play a much bigger role for the Golden Knights. Which brings me to a series focusing on potential VGK goaltenders. We’ve heard many scenarios surrounding certain NHL teams, Pittsburgh and Tampa being two of them. Let’s start with a situation involving a high profile name, and a backup that’s been dominating recently. Off to New York!
The shutout machine from Madison Square Garden is not who you think. While Henrik Lundqvist rests his old bones, backup Antti Raanta is playing like a number one. The 27 year-old Fin created a two-headed monster for the New York Rangers. Raanta is 8-1 with an outstanding 1.52 GAA, and he’s a backup. In ten starts, Hank’s backup let in less goals than Jimmy Howard, Thomas Greiss, Calvin Pickard and Andrei Vasilevskiy. All goaltenders who are expected to be left unprotected. Raanta’s a brick wall, stopping 62 of 63 shots over the past three games. An insane run that makes Alain Vigneault look a genius for benching his all-world goaltender. With a healthy Lundqvist sitting, Raanta allows New York a chance to keep their number one fresh. Which some believe has been a problem for Handsome Hank in the postseason.
In Finland, Raanta was an elite goaltender in the Liiga, the Finnish Elite League. His team won the championship in 2013 and he was named league and postseason MVP. After his award-winning season he signed as an undrafted free agent with Chicago. Battling it out with Scott Darling as Corey Crawford‘s backup, the Fin was traded to New York in 2015. Coming in clearly as a backup, Raanta has now created a sports radio type goaltending controversy. Vigneault slightly hinted towards one after Raanta’s third straight start.