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5 Most Anticipated Home Games On The Golden Knights 2021-22 Schedule

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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The Golden Knights have traded Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks for prospect Mikael Hakkarainen.

Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, quickly tweeted a response to the trade.

The Golden Knights did not retain any salary in the trade.

Hakkarainen has spent each of the last two seasons playing in both the AHL and the ECHL. He has not registered an AHL point in his 14 appearances. Kelly McCrimmon confirmed that Hakkarainen will remain with Chicago and likely play for the Rockford Ice Hogs.

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2020 Golden Knights Playoffs “Photo” Gallery

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“Heavy” Becoming Vegas’ New Label

Throughout their series, the Blackhawks used the word ‘heavy’ 31 times to describe the Golden Knights in press conferences.

Blackhawks captain Jonathon Toews uses “heavy” to describe two things. Vegas’ size, and their ability to hold the puck once they possess it. It’s no secret, the Golden Knights are big and most of their players are hard to bump off the puck. Which was apparent right from the start of the series.

Mark Stone is 6’4″, 219 pounds but also has the puck super glued on his stick. Alex Tuch is 6’4″ as well, and his skill, speed, and size make it difficult for a defender to strip the puck. Max Pacioretty is 6’2, with the lethal combination of power and a rocket shot. These are examples of being a heavy team, and playing like one.

They play a different game then the Oilers. They’re a very structured, simple team. They play a heavy game. You got to tip your hat sometimes, they play well as a squad. -Calvin de Haan, CHI Defenseman

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan used the word to describe differences between the Golden Knights and a faster, skill-based team like the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton has Connor McDavid, but what they didn’t have was the team structure and physicality Vegas has. The Golden Knights get scoring from multiple players, not just two, they defend, and rarely veer from their gameplan.

We know they’re an excellent team. They’re a heavy team, they get on the forcheck and try and hold you down… We gave them some easy ones, easy chances. They score 3-1 and during that stretch we just weren’t very good.-Jeremy Colliton, CHI coach

Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton called the Golden Knights a heavy team after three of the five games. Again, it wasn’t just their size, it was Vegas’ forecheck. When the Golden Knights push the puck with pressure they make teams feel like they’re being weighed down. All twelve forwards have that ability allowing Vegas the fortune to use all four lines.

Then there’s the natural use of the word.

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VGK vs CHI Series Stat Dump

It took the Golden Knights five games to put away the 12-seed Chicago Blackhawks and move on to the second round. Despite the score only favoring Vegas by just four over the five games, the Golden Knights dominated just about every other major statistical category. Here’s a look at the stats from the series.

*Stats are compiled from and**

Team Stats

VGK – 15
CHI – 11

VGK – 187
CHI – 123

Scoring Chances
VGK – 167
CHI – 117

Corsi For %
VGK – 58.1%
CHI – 41.9%

Power Play
VGK – 1/10
CHI – 1/12

VGK – 49.7%
CHI – 50.3%

VGK – 75
CHI – 69

VGK – 37
CHI – 44

VGK – 184
CHI – 140

Shots Blocked
VGK – 90
CHI – 100

Expected Goals
VGK – 17.44
CHI – 10.43

Shooting Percentage
VGK – 8.02%
CHI – 8.94%

Save Percentage
VGK – .911
CHI – .920

Individual Stats

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Recap: It was another possible clinching game for the Golden Knights who looked to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks in five games. With their backs against the wall the Blackhawks took the 1-0 lead midway through the first. Chicago extended their lead late but Max Pacioretty got Vegas within one :31 seconds before the period expired. After the opening twenty minutes the Golden Knights trailed 2-1.

Mark Stone tied the game 2-2 in the first minute of the 2nd period. Chicago regained the lead 3-2 with an even-strength goal a few minutes later. The Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez tied the game 3-3 with a 2nd period power play goal.

Alex Tuch didn’t hesitate to give Vegas their first lead of the game scoring 1:34 into the final period. He thought he had another but was waived off by the officials. Starting goaltender Robin Lehner stopped 23 of 26 Chicago shots to secure the Golden Knights 4-3 victory.

Vegas becomes the first team to clinch their series by eliminating Chicago in five games. The Golden Knights will get some rest as they wait for their next opponent. Dates for the second round are to be determined. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights offense was there from the start creating plenty of chances but a number of turnovers in the defensive end allowed the Hawks to take an early lead. Vegas kept grinding away creating a bevy of dangerous chances on Crawford and eventually they started going in. Then, when they got the lead in the 3rd, they went into lock down mode and snuffed out Chicago. Plenty of time until the next series as the Golden Knights appear to be pretty healthy and getting healthier. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from Game 5 of the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1 series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • When the Golden Knights wanted to, they were able to flip a switch and shut down a powerful offense.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Alec Martinez
** Chandler Stephenson
* Alex Tuch

Sweeps Are Nice, But Plenty Of Teams Have Won The Cup Without Them

The Golden Knights looked like they were on their way to a quick, easy series against the Chicago Blackhawks. Even without playing their best, Vegas was finding ways to win and clearly displaying they are the better team. Last night, they couldn’t get the job done, missing out on the series sweep and all the benefits that come with it.

It’s widely believed that in the NHL playoffs, the fewer games you have to play, the better your chances of winning the Cup. But, all of the previous four Stanley Cup winners failed to sweep a series in the playoffs, and 11 of the previous 20 winners couldn’t win a series in four as well.

Cup Winners Without a Postseason Sweep

2002 Detroit Red Wings
2003 NJ Devils
2006 Carolina Hurricanes
2007 Anaheim Ducks
2013 Chicago Blackhawks
2014 LA Kings
2016 Pittsburgh Penguins
2017 Pittsburgh Penguins
2018 Washington Capitals
2019 St. Louis Blues

Obviously, extra rest allows an ailing team like Vegas to get healthier. Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Tomas Nosek have all missed time in Vegas’ first round series, so time off would be beneficial. A short series also gives the coaching staff more time to prepare for the next opponent. And while there’s no arguing against these added benefits, teams have proven in the past they are far from prerequisites on the quest to win 16 playoff games.

In 2018-19 the Golden Knights began their first postseason by sweeping the LA Kings. After winning in four straight, Vegas had to wait nine days until their next series. Then, after shutting down the Sharks in six, the Golden Knights sat for six days before facing Winnipeg in the Western Conference finals. After beating the Jets in five, the Golden Knights waited an additional eight days before the Stanley Cup finals began. In total, Vegas had a total of 23 days off in between series, and we know how that worked out for them.

Even without the sweep, Vegas can set themselves up for significant time off. Clinching a series in five or even six games can grants a club some extra healing time, practices, and rest. A little adversity in a series can quietly help a team’s focus as well. That’s what I suspect will happen after last night’s Game 4 loss.

Expect the Golden Knights to be at their best in Game 5, because series sweeps are overrated anyway.


Recap: On back-to-back days the Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks faced off for Game 4 and chance for Vegas to sweep the series. The 1st period didn’t go as planned for the Golden Knights. Chicago got on the board quickly to take a 1-0 lead four minutes into the game. The Blackhawks extended their lead 13:40 into the period, but :18 seconds later Shea Theodore cut the lead to 2-1. After the opening period the Golden Knights trailed for the first time in the best-of-seven series.

Vegas struggled to get their power play going in the 2nd period going 0/2. Thankfully, Chicago’s offense went cold as well. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made some key saves to keep the Golden Knights from tying the game. Chicago held their 2-1 advantage after two periods in the books.

Vegas poured on the pressure in the final period but couldn’t beat Crawford for a second straight period. The Blackhawks fought off a late Golden Knights push and added an empty net goal to stay alive winning 3-1.

Vegas loses their first game of the postseason and now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1. The Golden Knights will attempt to clinch again on Tuesday. Locally, the game will air on AT&T Sports Network. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights did absolutely everything they could for 60 minutes to score on Corey Crawford and they could only sneak one by him. Only in hockey can a team’s best offensive game come in the game where they score the fewest goals, but that’s exactly what happened. Play that game 100 times and the Golden Knights win 99 of them, tonight was the one. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from Game 4 of the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1 series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • Maybe not sweeping wasn’t that bad

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nic Roy
** Nick Cousins
* Alex Tuch

Room For Improvement, But There’s Nothing Wrong With 3-0

The Golden Knights are up 3-0 in their first round series with a chance to earn their 4th series win in franchise history later today. They’ve outscored the Blackhawks 10 to 5, have scored first in every game, and haven’t trailed in the series.

All in all, life is good for the Golden Knights, but like any team with aspirations of winning the Cup, despite winning games they know they can be better.

You can ask our group, we lit into em pretty good after last game about some of our play through the neutral zone and some of our puck decisions. -DeBoer

That was after Game 2, he had similar messages following Games 1 and 3.

Yeah there’s areas we need to improve on. I didn’t like us through the neutral zone. I thought we didn’t have good support and we didn’t play fast enough and we turned pucks over. So that’s something we can clean up. I thought as the game it got better. -DeBoer after Game 1

I didn’t mind our start out thought we had a pretty good first 10 minutes but then we took some penalties. It’s the first game we really got in some penalty trouble I think we took three and really lost any momentum we might have started to build. -DeBoer after Game 3

We didn’t handle the rush real well, they gapped us out in some situations. It hasn’t been a problem finding ways to improve our game and our guys want that. -DeBoer after Game 2

Aside from the penalty issues that cropped up in Game 3, the concern has mostly been with their play through the neutral zone. In this series, Chicago’s best chance to create dangerous chances is off the rush. When they gain possession of the puck, they come through the neutral zone with speed and create chances quickly. Vegas has fed into that at times by turning the puck over, having poor gaps against the Chicago rush, and not supporting the puck as they transition from defense to offense.

The Hawks have scored multiple goals that way but have also been kept out on many Grade A chances by both Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury. DeBoer has been harping on these issues not only to help the Golden Knights continue to beat Chicago, but they’ll need to clean up those areas no matter which of the much better teams they may face in the next round.

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Recap: Vegas got off to quick start in Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks. William Karlsson did what he does best and gave Vegas the early 1-0 lead with his second career postseason shorthanded goal. Mark Stone fed a nice pass to the middle of the ice for Karlsson to scoop and score. Marc-Andre Fleury got the call in net and had a flawless 1st period.

Fleury was strong again in the second as he shut out a buzzing Chicago team. It took awhile but Vegas doubled their lead on Patrick Brown’s first career playoff goal. After two periods the Golden Knights held a 2-0 edge.

Chicago got on the scoresheet six minutes into the 3rd period but Vegas held them to only one goal. Fleury had a strong performance stopping 26 of 27 shots.

The Golden Knights win 2-1 and go up three games to none. Vegas can clinch the best-of-seven series tomorrow afternoon and be the first team to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Game 4 is slated to begin at 330P PT. Locally, the game will air on AT&T Sports Network. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis:  The Golden Knights looked far from the #1 seed in the West through the first 50 minutes of action in this game. They got a classic William Karlsson shorthanded goal and then a hard-working goal by Patrick Brown with a lot of help from Alex Tuch. But overall, this is not at all the type of game the Golden Knights wanted to put in… until the last 10 minutes. In the final 10, they were terrific. Blocking shots, challenging entries, supressing just about all of Chicago’s offense. That was what Vegas looks like when they are at their best. They were lucky to have had such an incredible effort from Marc-Andre Fleury to stay ahead for the majority of the game. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from Game 3 of the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1 series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • It’s all about the neutral zone.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** William Karlsson
** Zach Whitecloud
* Marc-Andre Fleury

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