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BUFFALO SABRES 7 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (33-21-7, 73 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights were looking to shake off their prior loss with a road victory in Buffalo. The Sabres opened the scoring 1:55 into the game catching the Golden Knights off guard. Vegas took nine shots but couldn’t even the score before the first intermission.

The scoring picked up in the middle frame as Buffalo took a two-goal lead a minute in, but the Golden Knights came storming back. First Brendan Brisson cut the lead in half on the power play and William Karlsson tied the game minutes later. The home team added one before the break to hold a 3-2 edge.

For the third straight period, the Sabres scored a goal within the first 140 seconds of the frame. A few shifts later Buffalo added to their lead and eventually took a commanding 7-2 advantage. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 33-21-7 losing to the Sabres 7-2 in Buffalo. Vegas will look to snap their two-game losing streak on Monday in Columbus. Puck drop against the Blue Jackets is set for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Another example of a game that Vegas gave away because of poor puck management. They did well to fight back in the middle frame but they couldn’t stop turning the puck over and it allowed a dangerous offensive team to get going.  Unfortunately, Toronto is looking like the outlier right now, not the new trend.(Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

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BUFFALO SABRES 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (20-6-5, 45 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights went into Friday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres riding a nine-game point streak. Vegas was awarded an early power play, but Buffalo stopped several quality chances from Vegas. Both teams had opportunities but the opening period ended in a scoreless tie.

Each team swapped power plays in the middle frame but neither would score on the man-advantage. Moments after the Sabres PP the visiting team took the opening 1-0 lead. Six minutes later Ivan Barbashev evened the score on the power play with his seventh goal of 2023-24. Late in the period, Jack Eichel drew a penalty which carried over into the final frame. After 40 minutes of action, the game was locked in a 1-1 battle.

Jack Eichel scored his 13th goal of the season to give Vegas their first lead of the game. Minutes later Buffalo came back and tied the game 2-2. Midway through the period the Sabres took a 3-2 edge over the Golden Knights. A few shifts later Buffalo’s Alex Tuch extended the visitors’ lead to 4-2. With time winding down the Sabres sealed their win with an empty net goal.

The Golden Knights record drops to 20-6-5 losing to the Sabres 5-2 from The Fortress. Vegas will next face off against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday evening. Puck drop against the Senators is scheduled for 5 PM.  (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights could not stop turning the puck over pretty much the entire night. For the first 45 minutes they were able erase a lot of the problems that were caused by the turnovers. The last 15, they couldn’t, and it got pretty ugly. They’ve had puck security issues before, but rarely this bad. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres at T-Mobile Arena.

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Vegas Needs To Finish The Year Strong Before The Heat Turns On In 2023

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night Vegas missed out on a golden opportunity to stash away more money in the bank before their busy season begins. So what, they lost to Buffalo. It’s only one game and a win tomorrow would keep Vegas on pace to cross the 50-point mark by year-end. We’ll get into January later, but for right now the Golden Knights have four more games to focus on in 2022.

Starting tomorrow night, the Golden Knights are set to play statistically some of the league’s worst defenses and offenses. Putting it lightly, the remaining schedule is as soft as Santa’s beard.

VGK’s Remaining 2022 Schedule

  • Weds, 12/21: vs. Arizona (10-15-5, 25 Pts)
    81 Goals Scored – 28th
    106 Goals Allowed – 22nd
    .414 Points % – 28th
  • Fri, 12/23: vs St. Louis (16-15-1, 32 Pts)
    92 Goals Scored – 22nd
    113 Goals Allowed – 26th
    68% Penalty Kill – 30th
  • Tues, 12/21: at Los Angeles (17-12-5, 39 Pts)
    109 Goals Scored – 6th
    122 Goals Allowed – 31st
    70.9% Penalty Kill – 28th
  • Weds, 12/22: at Anaheim (9-20-3, 21 Pts)
    77 Goals Scored – 29th
    133 Goals Allowed – 32nd
    3 Regulation Wins – 32nd

Some would argue that St. Louis and LA aren’t walkovers and they tend to get up for games against Vegas. However, both are struggling to keep the puck out of their own nets and have two of the worst penalty kill units in the league. The Golden Knights will likely attack the net knowing there are holes in each team’s defense. If it plays out, Vegas should be in a position to expose weaknesses in LA & St. Louis’ special teams. Both clubs are manageable but it won’t be as easy as the Golden Knights other two opponents.

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BUFFALO SABRES 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (22-11-1, 45 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Buffalo Sabres to wrap up their two-game season series. Vegas outshot Buffalo 10-6 but neither team could find the back of the net. After the opening 20 minutes, the game was locked in a scoreless tie.

Buffalo opened the scoring 1:53 into the opening period and added a second goal five minutes later. The Sabres would later tack on another to take a 3-0 lead into the 2nd intermission.

Chandler Stephenson scored his 8th of the season in the final period to get Vegas within two. Jonathan Marchessault had a chance to make it closer but failed to convert on a penalty shot. Reilly Smith scored late on a 6-on-5 to make it a one-goal game with two minutes remaining, but the Golden Knights couldn’t force overtime.

The Golden Knights’ record drops to 22-11-1 losing to the Sabres 3-2. Vegas will stay home and prepare for the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. Puck drop against the Coyotes is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It’s a lot of the same for the Golden Knights at home. The first issue has existed for a while and continues now. They just don’t finish at a high enough clip. The chances were there all night, from breakaways to power plays to extended time in the 3rd period, and they couldn’t beat Luukkonen enough. The second issue is in their breakouts. Too often they turn it over and then can’t recover in time to put out the fire created. Finally, and this is one I don’t agree with Cassidy as much, is goaltending. The better goalie has been in the other net most nights recently at home. I’m not sure it’s completely VGK’s goalies’ fault, Cassidy seems to think at least a part of it is. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres at T-Mobile Arena.

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VGK Team Chemistry On Full Display In Buffalo

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was clear that last night’s 7-4 victory in Buffalo was an emotional game not just for Jack Eichel but the entire Golden Knights locker room. Realistically, the team could have been caught looking forward to their flight home, but Vegas came out like it was the biggest game on the road trip. From the comments by the players after the game, it sure seemed like it.

He’s one of the more impressive teammates I’ve ever played with, if not the best player I’ve ever played with. It’s all about support in this locker room. Everybody supporting each other and I couldn’t be happier for the guy, he deserves it. -Mark Stone

We noted earlier this month that the long Eastern Conference road trip could help grow an already healthy team chemistry and it showed against the Sabres. Sure, OT winners in Washington and Toronto should be considered taxing victories but neither felt as important as the contest up in Northern New York. From the players to the coach, anyone in white and gold was emotionally invested in shutting up the heckling fans in Buffalo. Bench boss Bruce Cassidy made his declaration on the intense, revenge game when he spoke with ESPN in the 1st period.

The puck has found Jack a couple of times in great spots, hopefully he buries one. -Bruce Cassidy, on ESPN broadcast

Eichel’s retribution was important to him but possibly even more to his teammates. Leaving Buffalo with two points was the club’s only mission and they were well prepared for a passionate battle against the Sabres. Last night could have been the loudest confirmation of how strong the bond is in the 13-2-0 Golden Knights locker room. Unbeaten in nine straight games, five on an eleven-day road trip and finishing with a statement win in Buffalo is exactly how a tight group travels back home.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 7 BUFFALO SABRES 4 (13-2-0 26 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights were looking to make it a clean sweep on their five-game road trip by taking on the Buffalo Sabres. Both teams had extra motivation going into the game; Vegas wanted to pick up the win for teammate Jack Eichel and the entire city of Buffalo were hoping to send their former captain back to Nevada empty-handed. Chandler Stephenson set the table for the Golden Knights with a power play 5:44 into the game. Buffalo later evened the score with a PP goal of their own.

Phil Kessel snapped the tie early in the 2nd period giving Vegas a 2-1 advantage. The Sabres added another PP goal, but Paul Cotter gave the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission.

The 3rd period was the Jack Eichel show. He assisted on the first goal and then scored three straight to net his first hat trick as a Vegas Golden Knight.

With the 7-4 win, the Golden Knights record improves to 13-2-0 and sweep their five-game Eastern Conference road trip. Vegas will travel back home and prepare for the struggling St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. Puck drop against the Blues is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Eichel. (Recap by Ken)

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Table Is Set For Eichel To Lead VGK’s Offense To The Postseason

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy will be Jack Eichel’s sixth in his seven-season career. Some point fingers at the 25-year-old and say it’s a pattern. Others are willing to give him a pass based on Buffalo’s inability to dress a competitive team. No matter which side you are on, all are hoping that Eichel has his best years under Cassidy.

You can’t win the Stanley Cup unless you get in the playoffs. When I came here, the standard here is the Stanley Cup. And that’s our goal. Obviously, I think we all understand the situation that we’re in. -Jack Eichel, May 2022

In Buffalo, Eichel had his best seasons playing for head coach Phil Housley. In 2018-19, the former Sabre totaled 82 points (28 Goals, 54 Assists) and finished in the top 25 in both points and assists. Eichel had another strong campaign in 2019-20, averaging (1.15 PPG) more than a point a game. However, he watched the playoffs from home.

Eichel’s Top Three Seasons

  • 2018-19: 82 Points (28 G, 54 A), 77 Games, 1.06 Points Per Game, 26 Power Play Points
  • 2019-20: 78 Points (36 G, 42 A), 68 Games, 1.15 Points Per Game, 27 Power Play Points
  • 2017-18: 64 Points (25 G, 39 A), 67 Games, 0.96 Points Per Game, 20 Power Play Points

*One Season w/ Vegas: 25 Points (14 G, 11 A), 34 Games, 0.74 Points Per Game, 8 Power Play Points

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