Last night the Golden Knights lost a frustrating game in shootout against Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks. Kane attempted to end the game in overtime but his last-second slap shot couldn’t beat the buzzer and the game was decided in a SO.
SO CLOSE. 😱
Patrick Kane's OT winner was called off after video review ruled that time was expired prior to the shot going in. pic.twitter.com/4PWT0ChLvy
While the goal didn’t count, Kane was highly noticeable to the thousand of fans, dozens of players, and about a handful of general managers. Most likely including the VGK’s front office.
I think Vegas is gearing up to do something. I think they’re looking at moves big and small. I think they’ve looked at the Ivan Barbashev. I think they’ve looked at the possibility of Patrick Kane. I have no doubt they’ve looked at the possibility of Timo Meier. –Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast
On Sunday the former Conn Smyth trophy winner looked like his old self again. Kane reminded the hockey world that he’s still threatening by recording a natural hat trick against Ottawa. His flash, shot, and skill were on full display as they were last night to a lesser extent against the Golden Knights. Although Kane came up empty with time expiring he still created several quality scoring chances.
Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to Chicago to try and extend their winning streak to six games. Vegas jumped out early on Keegan Kolesar’s 6th goal of the season. Later in the period, the Blackhawks evened the score at 1-1.
Jack Eichel scored the go-ahead goal for Vegas midway through the 2nd period taking a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Chicago had a few breakaways in the final period but goaltender Laurent Brossoit fended off the Blackhawks’ attempts. In the waning minutes of the game, Alex Pietrangelo was called for a delay of game which Chicago took advantage of. The Blackhawks tied the game 2-2 to force overtime. Chicago ended the game in a shootout 3-2.
The Golden Knights’ record drops to 34-18-5 losing to the Blackhawks 3-2 in shootout. Vegas will head back home for a two-game set against the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars beginning on Thursday. Puck drop against Calgary is scheduled for 6 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: The Golden Knights fell right into the trap that was a one-game trip to Chicago during a win streak. They were sloppy all night and couldn’t convert on the chances they were able to generate. Brossoit almost willed them to the win but a late penalty doomed them. Tough loss but even getting a point playing poorly is fine.(Analysis by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Even though the Golden Knights haven’t taken on the New York Islanders yet this season, VGK return home to a familiar situation. For the 5th time this year, Vegas will take on a team on the second game of a back-to-back.
Last night, the Islanders lost 5-4 to the Arizona Coyotes extending their losing streak to three. They are the third of the previous four teams to lose the front end of the back-to-back before taking on the Golden Knights.
VGK are 3-1-0 in the first four and there are lessons to learn about those games to help give perspective on what we might see tonight.
10/13 vs Chicago Blackhawks VGK win 1-0
Vegas 2nd game of the season they took on a Blackhawks team that had played the night before in Colorado. Chicago got blasted against the defending champions, allowing four power play goals. The game was 4-1 heading into the 3rd and Chicago ultimately fell 5-2.
The Hawks looked much better against the Golden Knights the following night. They came out and blitzed Vegas attempting 25 shot attempts and generating six high-danger chances in the 1st period. But, Logan Thomspon was tremendous stopping all 10 Blackhawk shots. VGK took over from there landing 17 scoring chances in the 2nd period alone while allowing just 10 the rest of the game. A goal from Paul Cotter was the only one of the game.
Chicago switched goalies from their game the night before in Colorado. Backup Alex Stalock took on the Golden Knights and was excellent in this game.
10/20 vs Winnipeg Jets VGK win 5-2
This one was the opposite of the Chicago game as the Golden Knights jumped all over the tired Jets, scoring four times in the 1st. Winnipeg also visited Colorado the night before and played into overtime where they defeated the Avs 4-3. Winnipeg held a 3-1 lead in that game but a pair of late 2nd period goals sent it to intermission tied at three where it would stay until OT.
The advanced stats tell a much different story of the game in Vegas though. Despite scoring four times, per NaturalStatTrick.com Vegas landed just four scoring chances and none qualified as high-danger in the 1st period. It was an opportunistic effort from VGK scoring early and often against a backup goalie. The next two periods, like against Chicago, Vegas locked it down allowing just three high-danger chances.
The Jets also chose to play their starter in the front end of the back-to-back before facing the Golden Knights. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 of 33 in Colorado while David Rittich got lit up in Vegas allowing four goals on 13 1st period shots.
Recap: The Golden Knights struck first in Chicago, scoring on their first power play opportunity. Chandler Stephenson drew a penalty and went on to score the game’s first goal. After the opening twenty minutes Vegas led Chicago 1-0.
Reilly Smith doubled VGK’s lead quickly in the middle frame. Smith scored shorthanded 3:56 into the 2nd period for his 13th goal of the season.
Vegas extended their lead in the final period. Phil Kessel picked up his 6th tally of the season to give VGK a 3-0 advantage. The Blackhawks scored to get within two but Smith regained the Golden Knights three goal lead with his second goal of the contest.
The Golden Knights record improves to (22-9-1) defeating the Blackhawks 4-1 in Chicago. Vegas will return back to Las Vegas for a four-game homestand beginning on Saturday. Puck drop against the New York Islanders is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: The Golden Knights played down to their competition tonight, but the competition played even worse. VGK did almost nothing at even-strength but scored on a power play, shorthanded, into an empty net, and got an own goal from Chicago. It was a terribly boring game, but winning them is always better than losing them. (Recap by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Chicago Blackhawks for their 2022-23 season home opener. Both teams had chances in the 1st period but neither could find the back of the net. After 20 minutes the game was locked in a scoreless tie.
Midway through the second frame Golden Knights left wing Paul Cotter gave the home team a 1-0 advantage. It was Cotter’s first of the season and his third career NHL goal. After two periods of play Vegas held on to a slim 1-0 lead.
The game continued to tighten up in the final period which created a couple of power play opportunities for the Golden Knights. Vegas couldn’t convert on either and were forced to protect a one goal lead for the entirety of the frame. Cotter’s goal in the 2nd period was all Vegas needed to defeat Chicago 1-0.
The Golden Knights improve their record to 2-0 and look to stay undefeated when they take the ice on Saturday night in Seattle. Puck drop against the Kraken is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: For the first 20 minutes the Golden Knights were a mess in all three zones and needed a heroic effort from their goalie to keep them in the game. He delivered and then some keeping the game scoreless through one. From there, the defense picked it up and Chicago’s offense pretty much dried up completely. Offensively, there was a lot more there than VGK ended up converting, but if the other team doesn’t score, all you need is one, and Paul Cotter delivered it. (Recap by Ken)
Recap: The Golden Knights gave up the first goal of the game in Chicago late in the opening period. Michael Amadio responded immediately and evened the score 1-1. With :03 seconds remaining in the period Chicago added another to carry a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Quickly into the middle frame, Alec Martinez tied the score 2-2 with his 3rd goal of the season. A little more than a minute later the Blackhawks regained the lead but Max Pacioretty would respond before the period expired.
The two teams had several chances in the final period but neither could take the lead. Vegas was forced to play another overtime period and eventually a shootout.
The Golden Knights record drops to 42-31-8 falling to the Blackhawks 4-3 in shootouts. Vegas’ season is officially over with one game left on the schedule. The Golden Knights travel to St. Louis for their last game of the season. Puck drop against the Blackhawks is set for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: It was a game that was weird from the absolute start. Knowing they needed a result from Arizona in Dallas, there was a massive lack of urgency which led to Chicago taking three different leads. Credit to Vegas for coming back but they had to know it wasn’t likely to matter. Oddly enough, Arizona scored three times in the 3rd to make things interesting and the Golden Knights STILL couldn’t find a way. Eight games down the stretch, two wins. Unacceptable. And now the season is over. (Recap by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Chicago Blackhawks trying to win their second game in a row. Chicago took the first lead of the game midway through the opening period. Vegas had several chances but trailed 1-0 after the 1st intermission.
The Blackhawks continued to frustrate and attack the Golden Knights in the middle frame. Chicago took advantage of some defensive breakdowns from Vegas and added two second period goals. After 40 minutes of action the Golden Knights were behind 3-0.
Down three the Golden Knights woke up quickly in the final frame. Vegas tied the game 3-3 in the first four minutes of the the 3rd period. Chandler Stephenson, William Karlsson and Jack Eichel all scored to even the score. Chicago regained their lead but :53 seconds later Alex Pietrangelo evened the score 4-4. The game would need an overtime period to decide a victor. Vegas completed the comeback as Evgenii Dadonov scored the game-winning goal in OT.
The Golden Knights record improves to 36-28-4 defeating the Blackhawks 5-4 in OT. Vegas will play their next two games in Seattle beginning on Wednesday night. Puck drop against the Kraken is set for 7P. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: In a noon start, the Golden Knights looked like they sleepwalked through the first two periods. Then in the 3rd, they exploded with a flurry of goals that felt like vintage 2017-18 Golden Knights. An overtime win may have saved the season, but there are still massive concerns with what happened in the opening 40 minutes. (Recap by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena.
This season, diehard VGK fan and legendary combat sports columnist Kevin Iole will be delivering columns a few times a month on Sundays. Kevin’s back today to take a look at a position of depth, one that’s been notoriously thin in years past.
Pete DeBoer was correct, of course, even though he called Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago at T-Mobile Arena “just another mid-December game.” It’s a long season and a loss to a lesser team in January isn’t anything to get too worked up about in the grand scheme of things.
I’m a lot more worked up about Keegan Kolesar’s lack of production and slowing development, and the lack of an identity for the fourth line, than I am about a loss to a weak team on home ice in the second week of January.
It’s how they lost that game that is troubling. It’s not as if the Blackhawks played an incredible game because they were fired up for Marc-Andre Fleury’s return and wanted to support their goaltender. Oh, the Blackhawks did defend hard in the final two periods in particular, and played solid hockey, but it was far from a Herculean effort by them.
The Golden Knights’ loss was more due to an uninspired effort which, if we’re being honest, has happened far too often this season for a team that fancies itself as a contender for the Stanley Cup.
On Saturday, the Knights badly missed William Carrier, who left seven minutes into the game with what the club later said was an upper-body injury. Carrier’s intensity can and often does have a trickle down effect. Without him, there were far too many passengers.
Nolan Patrick seemed out for a cruise. Kolesar’s big body is perfect for barreling over opponents and cruising to the net, but do you remember him doing that even once on Saturday? There was little urgency, or desire to win, from far too many players.
In an 82-game season, that’s going to happen, and DeBoer recognized that when he was dismissive of it.
But how could the Knights’ come out flat in a game against Fleury, a game surely they should badly want to win? Fleury was the second star, but that was mostly because no one else really stood out. Until a save on Evgenii Dadonov in the waning seconds, Fleury never made one of the five-star saves that have made him a surefire Hall of Famer. The Knights made it easy on him.
We’re still not to the halfway point of the season, and it’s happened far, far too often. They were on cruise control in two of their last three games and that’s unacceptable. Nashville played great in a 3-2 win on Tuesday, but the Golden Knights basically didn’t make it hard on them.
Then, after a stirring effort in a 5-1 win over old friend Gerard Gallant and his New York Rangers, the VGK laid an egg again against Fleury.
There’s not much DeBoer can do to change this, either. He doesn’t have the threat of making moves or sending guys down to inspire more consistently intense play.
On the surface, a Kolesar for Jake Leschyshyn swap in the lineup would probably be good, but to send Kolesar to Henderson, he’d have to clear waivers. That would be risky because he’d almost certainly be claimed.
Guys who are 6-2, 230 pounds, and can skate like he doesn’t are rare commodities in today’s NHL. Kolesar’s a big guy and big men often take longer to develop than other players do. Kolesar seemed on a nice upward trajectory early and looked as if he’d turn into that rare third- or fourth-line big man who could skate, contribute 12-15 goals, play well defensively and create havoc with his physical presence.
The Knights are going to be fighting the salary cap for several years, and it makes little sense to give up now on a guy like Kolesar who has the ability to develop into that kind of player and who has a relatively low salary.
There were some fans pining for the VGK to sign Evander Kane to a one-year deal at the league minimum after his release from the Sharks. But while Kane, though smaller, is a much more effective big man, he brings far too much baggage, and his issue with gambling means Las Vegas is the last place he should play.
It’s not a no or a NO, it’s a “HELL NO, ARE YOU CRAZY?” type of pass on Kane.
Putting Leschyshyn in for Kolesar isn’t likely to happen because it would make the Knights more vulnerable to big, physical teams.
So they’re going to have to make do with what they have and figure out a way to overcome this disconcerting trait of coming out flat far too often.
This is a good team and you have to pick to find problems. They’re the kind of problems teams like Buffalo and Arizona and Seattle and Columbus would love to have.
But when your stated goal is the Stanley Cup, you have to be picky and you have to be ruthless. The kind of effort the Golden Knights gave on Saturday and have given too often this season is unacceptable, and the leadership group needs to impress that upon the players sooner rather than later.
You can’t give away games in the NHL when home-ice advantage will be so crucial against the Colorados and Tampas and Carolinas of the world. And these games in January count every bit as much in the standings as the ones in late March or April when the playoff position push is on.
Recap: The night began with a wonderful video tribute to Blackhawks goaltender and Vegas fan favorite Marc-Andre Fleury. Vegas didn’t take long to get going as Ben Hutton scored his first of the season five minutes into the game.
Chicago picked up the pace in the middle frame scoring one early and one late. Fleury stopped all 12 second period shots to hold a 2-1 Blackhawks advantage.
Fleury silenced Vegas’ offense in the final period to preserve a 2-1 Chicago victory. The former VGK goaltender was sharp in net stopping 30 of 31 total shots on net.
The Golden Knights record drops to 23-14-1 falling 2-1 to Fleury’s Blackhawks. Vegas next faces the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. Puck drop is set for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: Uninspired is the word that jumps to mind to describe this game for the Golden Knights. On a night where you’d expect them to be rearing to score on their buddy, they just looked like they were content to play an easy game and it didn’t turn out that way for them. It’s not often we see three consecutive periods without the passion needed to win in the NHL, but that’s what we got tonight. (Recap by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks game at T-Mobile Arena.
After a year that involved 56 games against the same seven teams and sparse crowds throughout, it’s great to be back to a normal 82 game schedule that includes all 31 teams making an appearance at sold-out T-Mobile Arena. Here are the five home games that jump off the schedule as the most anticipated matchups of the year.
5. December 27th, 2021 – vs Colorado Avalanche
It’s a shame the first time these two teams meet won’t be at the site of the Avs demise last season, but there’s no secret these two are likely to be the class of the Western Conference once again. The collision course in the playoffs will probably be played up all year and every game between the two will be highly engrossing.
4. December 21st, 2021 – vs Tampa Bay Lightning
If there’s one thing we missed more than anything else with last year’s horrendous schedule, it was measuring stick games. About a month into the season everyone knew exactly how everyone else matched up against each other in the division, so the remaining 40+ games were essentially useless. This year, there will be plenty of those measuring stick games and this is the king of them all. The two-time defending Cup champions come to T-Mobile after the Golden Knights return home from a tough four-game road trip. VGK vs TBL games have always been a blast, this one should be no different.