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Vegas Continues To Topple Quality Opponents On The Road

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last week we examined how the Golden Knights are taking care of business when facing non-contenders. When points are easily available, Vegas along with other threatening teams, tend to scoop them up. Now, the same can be said for when the Golden Knights face off against the league’s best, especially away from home. Tuesday in Winnipeg was Vegas’ latest example of a quality win.

The Golden Knights held leads of 2-1 and 3-2, only to walk away with a 6-5 victory. On the road vs. a quality opponent, the 31st franchise drew two penalties that changed the game. Jonathan Marchessault tallied the game-tying and tie-breaking goals to put the Golden Knights in the driver’s seat. Not only did they beat the Jets at home, they swept the season series between the two. That’s six points against a Western Conference team with a .661 points percentage.

Through 31 games the Golden Knights have several quality victories. Down center Jack Eichel and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas knocked off a dangerous Bruins team in Boston earlier this month. Also, the Golden Knights took two of two against the 44-point Toronto Maple Leafs.

2022-23 VGK Quality Wins

  • 10/20: VGK 5 vs. WPG 2
  • 10/24: VGK 3 vs. TOR 1
  • 10/30: VGK 2 vs. WPG 1 OT
  • 11/08: VGK 4 @ TOR 3 OT
  • 12/05: VGK 4 @ BOS SO
  • 12/13: VGK 6 @ WPG 5

There’s an argument to be made that Vegas has more quality victories this season. Both LA and Seattle are currently in playoff positions but neither are on the same level as Boston or Toronto.

Taking a deeper dive into Winnipeg, the Golden Knights were without their biggest offensive weapon and their two deep threats from the blueline. Somehow, the scrambled lineup managed to net six goals against Jets on the road. It also marked the second time this season that Vegas handled 2020 Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck.

To be fair, the Golden Knights have lost to a handful of quality clubs. In their ten losses, Vegas lost six times to postseason hopefuls. One in overtime. Starting in early 2023, the Golden Knights will play 11 of their first 12 games against playoff contenders. Vegas will host Pittsburgh, LA, Florida, Edmonton, Dallas, Detroit, and Washington. They’ll travel to Colorado, New Jersey, and New York for two games. January will be the most challenging month the Golden Knights have faced this season. Thankfully, they banked enough support points in 2022.

BOSTON BRUINS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (20-9-1, 41 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Boston Bruins attempting to take both games from coach Bruce Cassidy’s former teams. Mark Stone got Vegas off to a quick start scoring on the first power play of the game. The Golden Knights turned aside several Bruins attacks but held on to their 1-0 lead going into the 1st intermission.

The Bruins evened the score a few minutes into the 2nd period and turned out to be the only goal scored by either team in the middle frame.

Tied 1-1 with 20 minutes to play, Boston’s offense picked up. The Bruins scored two in the period including their third unanswered goal. Boston finished their road trip with a 3-1 victory in Vegas.

The Golden Knights record drops to 20-9-1 falling to the Bruins 3-1. Vegas will next play on Tuesday night in Winnipeg. Puck drop against the Jets is scheduled for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights came in at a deficit with multiple important players out of the lineup. It got worse with Whitecloud going out. They hung in the game though and had a real shot to find a way to win it. The pace was a lot higher than we are used to seeing but VGK did well to keep up with it, especially defensively. Overall not a bad effort at all. Scoring at home needs to pick up though.  (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Boston Bruins at T-Mobile Arena.

  • 10-Game Grades

Ken’s Three VGK Stars

*** Mark Stone
** Logan Thompson
* Nic Hague

 

Bum Slaying: VGK Gladly Collecting Points From League’s Worst

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

At the end of the NHL regular season when teams are planning for the postseason or the golf course, it’s unlikely for the players, coaches and managers to huddle around and go over how they reached their fate. For losing clubs, it’s a quick clean out of their lockers and get out of dodge to their summer destinations. For the fortunate 16, they’re preparing for a potentially long run in the playoffs. However, for prognostication purposes, it is important to note how successful teams got to their ultimate goals.

After last night’s 2-1 OT victory over the hapless Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas extended their Western Conference best record to 41 points. It wasn’t the prettiest, but a win is a win when fighting for a seat in the playoffs.

When you break down how the Golden Knights picked up their points, you’ll notice that they’re taking care of business when facing lesser competitors. This is exactly what all playoff hopefuls do throughout a long 82-game regular season. Call it bum slaying, padding stats, or anything you’d like but those points are vital to any team fighting for the postseason.

Points from Non-Contenders: (22)

  • 10/13: VGK 1 vs CHI 0
  • 10/25: VGK 4 @ SJ 2
  • 10/28: VGK 4 vs ANA 0
  • 11/03: VGK 5 @ OTT 4
  • 11/05: VGK 6 @ MTL 4
  • 11/10: VGK 7 @ BUF 4
  • 11/17: VGK 4 vs ARI 1
  • 11/21: VGK 5 @ VAN 4
  • 11/23: VGK 4 vs OTT 1
  • 11/28: VGK 3 @ CBJ 2
  • 12/03: VGK 4 @ DET 1
  • 12/08: VGK 2 vs PHI 1

Now to be fair, the Golden Knights have not taken advantage of all low-level opponents. Vegas lost three times to inferior lineups, all occurring at T-Mobile Arena. For the most part, all three were uncompetitive and the Golden Knights lost by a total of eight goals. In the trio of games, the road team scored two or more goals that went unanswered by Vegas. It’s okay to have a stinker but several at home vs sub .500 teams are wasting VGK fans’ hard-earned money. Thankfully, Jonathan Marchessault didn’t let that happen again last night in OT.

Missed Points From Non-Contenders (6)

  • 11/12: STL 3 @ VGK 2
  • 11/15: SJ 5 @ VGK 2
  • 11/26: VAN 5 @ VGK 1

For Vegas to keep up their 104-point pace they’ll need continue bullying inept franchises crashing for Connor Bedard. Half of the teams in the NHL have roster weaknesses and are capable of exposing on a nightly basis. Through 29 games, the Golden Knights have jumped on mistakes, ill-timed penalties, poor goaltending, and turnovers. It’s been the team’s identity all season under coach Bruce Cassidy. In addition to their 22 “bum slaying” points, Vegas will have 15 more opportunities against the league’s worst to cushion their conference and divisional lead.

Now of course the NHL is a professional league with incredibly skilled players. Even the worst organizations have the ability to defeat star-studded lineups. Just ask the Boston Bruins, who lost to the Arizona Coyotes last night in Arizona. That’ll wake up a team. Hopefully, not by Sunday evening.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 BOSTON 3 SO (19-7-1, 39 PTS)

The Golden Knights wrapped up their road trip with an emotional game in Boston. Vegas came out motivated to preform for their head coach Bruce Cassidy in his first matchup against his old team. Paul Cotter scored 1:36 into the game, giving his team and coach an early lead. Minutes later Jonathan Marchessault fired in his 10th goal of 2022-23.

Again, Cotter immediately got back to work in the middle frame. This time it only took 0:51 to pick up his second of the game and extend VGK’s lead to 3-0. Boston made a push in the second half of the period and cut Vegas’ advantage to 3-2 after two periods played.

Boston evened the score early with a PP goal 3:08 into the final period. Both teams would have several chances but couldn’t break the tie. The heavyweight bout would need overtime and eventually a shootout to settle the score. Reilly Smith ended the game with a five hole winner.

The Golden Knights record improves to (19-7-1) defeating the Bruins 4-3 in shootouts. After a successful Eastern Conference road trip, Vegas will head home for a three game set against the Rangers, Flyers and Bruins. Wednesday’s game vs. New York is scheduled for 7P PT.

(Tweets/Analysis by Gold Medalist Connor Fields)

Bruce Cassidy Joins VGK’s List Of Coaching Candidates

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This week former Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy officially joined the available coaching class of 2022. With several other highly regarded head coaches on the market, you’d have to imagine the same suitors are reaching out to Cassidy, including the Golden Knights.

The 57-year old coach has strong ties to the Golden Knights organization. George McPhee hired Cassidy to his first NHL head coaching job in 2002. Subsequently, McPhee ended up firing the freshman coach after 110 games behind the bench. Cassidy was a young coach at the time and McPhee was known for his quick trigger finger. It was somewhat of a disaster.

Over the years the two matured and became successful NHL statesmen. However, both are still seeking their first championship.

It’s exhilarating to have that opportunity and that’s my goal to get my name on the Stanley Cup. –Bruce Cassidy on Zoom call with reporters

Some of the complaints McPhee dealt with in Washington were Cassidy’s inability to communicate with certain veterans and the amount of pressure he placed on young players. Both knocks followed him nearly two decades later to Boston. Thankfully, the Golden Knights are a roster full of desperate, hungry veterans.

However, Cassidy disputed the accusations that he’s hard on younger players in his recent Zoom chat with the Boston media.

When I came on board, we changed a lot of the players and we infused our team with a lot of young talent; Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen, Pasta was still young, Grzelcyk, Carlo, McAvoy. And I think a lot of those guys have gone and had real nice careers. I’m very proud of my record with young guys. –Cassidy on Zoom call with reporters

20 years later things are much, much different. Cassidy has successfully built up a strong resume, coaching the Bruins to the playoffs six times in six seasons. Including, an appearance in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.

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VGK Shedding Cap Rumors Continue To Swirl

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are not afraid to quickly erase their mistakes. As aggressive and encouraging as that is it usually ends up costing them a hefty price to do so.

Sort of like losing a deposit after terminating a timeshare you foolishly signed up for the day before. Of course, it sounded great at the time. The vacation club, the free drinks and lunch, the tour of the facility, heck they even threw in three free nights at Excalibur! How could you possibly say no to the guy pressuring you as if his life depended on your enrollment?!?

Now compare that to several notable subtractions made by the Golden Knights over the past few seasons.

It seems likely the Golden Knights will once again be wheeling and dealing for cap space this summer. Under their current situation, Vegas will need to rid themselves of several contracts this offseason.

It may be ridding themselves of contracts they recently signed (Martinez, Brossoit) one they traded for last Summer (Dadonov), or even a few that now look like overpays from the past (Karlsson, Pacioretty, Lehner). Whatever direction they head it won’t end well from a return on investment standpoint for the Golden Knights. Whether it be shipping expendable prospects, retaining salary, or most detrimental, trading away another draft pick with another unwanted player.

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BOSTON BRUINS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (30-21-4 64 PTS)

Recap: The Bruins took the first lead of the game six minutes into the 1st period. Vegas competed hard and took several quality chances on net. After the opening 20 minutes the Golden Knights trailed 1-0.

The Bruins extended their lead in the middle frame 2-0 but the Golden Knights responded later in the period. Center Jack Eichel cut Boston’s lead in half with a beautiful drive to the net for his second goal of the season. Vegas was behind after 40 minutes but carried momentum in the second intermission.

Boston turned it on in the final period. The Bruins stretched their lead 4-1 scoring two additional goals. Jonathan Marchessault scored VGK’s second goal of the game but the visiting team tapped in an empty net to seal their victory.

The Golden Knights record drops to 30-21-4 falling to the Bruins 3-2. Vegas’ rough patch continues pocketing only five points in their last eight games. The team will take a quick trip to Anaheim for a matchup tomorrow night with the Ducks. Puck drop is set for 7P.(Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights were outclassed by the Bruins in every facet of the game. It was most noticable in the neutral zone where Boston controlled what VGK were trying to do and it make the game tougher from there. You don’t often want a back-to-back on the schedule, but this one could be a blessing if they can go do what they normally do to Anaheim tomorrow night. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Boston Bruins at T-Mobile Arena.

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