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A horribly sloppy 1st period dug the Golden Knights a two-goal lead that could have been three if not for an offside challenge. Vegas got it going early in the 2nd getting on the board with an Alex Tuch rebound tap-in, but six straight minutes of penalties could not be killed off restoring the Blackhawks two-goal cushion. As the period was winding down, a terrific shot by Ryan Carpenter got the Golden Knights back within one. It appeared Pierre-Edouard Bellemare tied the game but a “kicking motion” took the goal off the board. The game-tying goal did come on a weird angle shot by Paul Stastny. In OT, Shea Theodore skated directly at the goal and a fluky own goal ends up winning it for the Golden Knights.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on Jon Merrill

Ken’s Three Stars
*** Paul Stastny
** Shea Theodore
* Alex Tuch


Vegas wasted no time jumping all over the Blackhawks scoring just 1:28 in on a power play goal from Reilly Smith. Then, Deryk Engelland added his first goal of the season on a shot from the high slot. Then, Chicago stormed back and scored a pair to even it. It appeared as if Vegas had retaken the lead, but a goalie interference call went against them. A rough Nick Holden turnover led to the Hawks taking the lead, but the Golden Knights stormed back with two goals in 12 seconds. They even survived another goalie interference. Chicago made a late push and hit a post inside the final minute, but Fleury and the Golden Knights hung on.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena.

  • A breakdown of exactly how that first goalie interference/puck off net review went and what the rules are on all of what happened. (Likely, that article might be boring as hell, so we might not post it. Only time will tell)

Three Stars
*** Deryk Engelland
** Jonathan Marchessault
* Reilly Smith

Golden Knights Have A Lot To Learn From The Worst 5 Goal Win They’ve Ever Had

If Fleury was anything short of incredible, the game in Chicago would have been a disaster. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For a majority of this season we heard the same thing from players and coaches, they are playing well, but just not getting the bounces. You’ve also heard from us here at that the Golden Knights PDO is bordering on lunacy and they are headed for being one of the unluckiest teams in the history of the sport.

Then, last night’s game in Chicago happened. The hockey gods finally felt as though they had taken enough from Vegas, and they found it time to give it all back, all in a game that will go down as the Golden Knights’ franchise record for most goals scored.

But, what if I were to tell you that the game the Golden Knights played in Chicago may have been their worst of the season. Yep, worse than Opening Night against Philadelphia, worse than the debacles in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Washington, definitely worse than the embarrassing one in Montreal, and dare I say, it may have even been worse than the 7-2 drubbing in Calgary.

How though!?! How is that even possible? They won 8-3. They were up 3-0 and 5, 6, 7, and 8 to 2.

It’s because they were a mess defensively for the first 32 minutes of the game and the Blackhawks just simply didn’t finish their chances. To make matters worse for Chicago, they then turned around and made terrible plays to essentially hand Vegas goals.

We were up 3-0 after 1 but I didn’t think we played real well. Chicago had some great chances, Fleury made some real key saves. Truthfully, it probably should have been 3-3 after the 1st period, but then I thought we played a better game after that. -Gerard Gallant

3-3 is kind. It could have been 8-1 in favor of Chicago. I went through and watched the game again, and I counted 14 legitimate scoring chances and seven that I would consider Grade A chances. (I took notes over the 1st and 2nd period. They’re posted at the end of this article. If you can’t believe it was as ugly as described, check them out, or even worse, watch the game again.)

All five of these chances happened with the score 0-0, 1-0, or 2-0 and the Blackhawks did not score on any of them. In fact, the final one was the play that directly preceded Vegas’ third goal.

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The Golden Knights got off to a hot start taking a 3-0 lead into the intermission. They kept pouring it on eventually leading 8-2. Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore both put up two goals. All this being said, the Golden Knights did not play nearly as well as the score indicated. They allowed a ton of great chances on their own net that were either saved by Fleury or missed by the Blackhawks.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks at United Center

  • Steve Carp’s Wednesday column on Nick Holden
  • A look at why I thought VGK wasn’t actually that good. (Assuming what I saw is what I see again when I watch the game again.)

Three Stars
*** Alex Tuch
** Cody Eakin
* Shea Theodore



The Golden Knights put on a clinic in puck control for the first 18 minutes or so getting off a total of 21 shots in the 1st and 35 through two. They were able to capitalize for three goals but gave up three themselves, mostly due to turnovers in their own zone. The Blackhawks got one right off the jump in the 3rd, but Vegas was able to get it back from Cody Eakin. Reilly Smith made an incredible poke check to start his own break and he finishes the game winner.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

  • 5-on-5 scoring, VGK’s ticket to playoff success.

Three Stars
*** Jonathan Toews
** Vinnie Hinostroza
* Reilly Smith

3 Moments = 1 Win For The Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Hockey games are 60 minutes long, we all know this because coaches, players, and management tell us in every answer no matter the question. However, sometimes there are tiny moments inside of games that stand out amongst the rest of the game, and the winners of those moments, win the game.

Hey everyone, look how good we are! (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

That was the case last night at T-Mobile Arena when the Golden Knights upset one of the NHL’s best, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Moment #1 (17:27 left in the 1st Period – VGK 0 CHI 1): The Blackhawks took a 2-minute tripping penalty 3:01 into the first period. 32 seconds later, a spill at the blue line by Nate Schmidt sent the Blackhawks a break and they scored a shorthanded goal. 3:33 into the game, the best team the Golden Knights have faced all season had just flipped the script on a power play and were in position to take control of the hockey game, much to the delight of about 70% of the crowd. Heck, I even tweeted this…

But the Golden Knights still had nearly 90 seconds on that power play, one that instantly became “Moment #1” of the game. They didn’t necessarily need to score, but they had to rescue the game over the next five minutes to keep the belief (especially of the goalie making his first career start) that they could still win. 21 seconds later, a shot from the point by Colin Miller gets tipped by William Karlsson, and the game was tied. There was a collective deep breath from the entire team. The game was back even, and the inevitable spiral appeared to be put back on delay.

Moment #2 (2:00 left in the 2nd Period – VGK 2 CHI 1): Brayden McNabb had just laid a monster hit on Nick Schmaltz. (Here’s the hit.) Weenie Ryan Hartman got mad and violently slashed McNabb and then grabbed him by the neck because he touched a Blackhawk too hard. That earned Weenie Hartman four minutes in the box, and the Golden Knights had a great opportunity to take a 3-1 lead late in the 2nd.

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Golden Knights give up a quick shorthanded goal, but respond with a goal on the same power play, and go on to score the next three. An absolutely dominant performance against the best opponent of the season. This team is truly something else.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena.

  • How good really are the Golden Knights? We ask the Blackhawks.
  • Two huge moments both went the Golden Knights way. We’ll examine those two moments.

Three Stars

*** Reilly Smith
** Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
* Oscar Dansk

A 2018 5th Round Pick For…

There’s an old saying, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” There’s another saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” There’s even another one that goes, “you can only see the tip of the iceberg.” Then there’s a trade in which the Vegas Golden Knights acquired Marcus Kruger for “future considerations” on Sunday and a 2018 5th round pick for Marcus Kruger on Tuesday. All of that belongs in one paragraph, believe me.

Prior to the Expansion Draft the Chicago Blackhawks were one of the many teams that appeared to be in a bit of a pickle. They were hampered with seven NMCs and a salary cap situation that needed to be resolved. So, George McPhee and Stan Bowman got to work.

An agreement was made, Vegas would select Trevor van Riemsdyk at the Expansion Draft, trade for Marcus Kruger afterwards, and the Blackhawks would take “The Pledge” to not make a move get in the way of any of it. It took some time to complete the process, because of a $2M bonus in Kruger’s contract that was to be paid by Chicago, but on Sunday night the deals were done and Vegas and Chicago’s interaction with expansion was over.

George McPhee then flipped both players selected to the Carolina Hurricanes. In the end, here’s what happened…

Vegas Golden Knights receive 
2017 2nd Round Pick (Jake Leschyshyn)
2018 5th Round Pick

Carolina Hurricanes receive
Trevor van Riemsdyk
Marcus Kruger
2018 7th Round Pick (from Vegas)

Chicago Blackhawks receive
Expansion Draft Considerations
Future Considerations
(Cap relief)

There are so many ways to look at what went down here, and all fans/armchair GMs are free to look at it which ever way they please because you as you know, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

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Golden Knights Expansion Trade Rumor Roundup

In less than a week George McPhee will finally have the protection lists in his hands and the Golden Knights will be on the 72 hour Expansion Draft clock. Until then, the hockey world will be buzzing about all the trades that are being discussed in the lead up. It’s time we take a moment to round em all up into one post, and try to make sense of what’s set to go down on June 21st.

Before we start though, we need to clarify something. While McPhee is making calls and probably coming to agreements, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed no deals will be made official, or even be announced, prior to June 21st. So, tread carefully out there, everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves.

Chicago Blackhawks – The chatter with Chicago started in late May from a pair of tweets from TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

The main question is which way the picks would be going, if any are involved. Chicago has three defensemen with NMCs, so van Riemsdyk would have to be exposed unless one of Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, or Niklas Hjalmarsson waives their NMC, and/or is traded. So, in theory, Vegas would be getting picks in exchange for taking on Marcus Kruger‘s salary, and simply select van Riemsdyk in the Expansion Draft.

Many news outlets, including most notably a news anchor from Kansas City (why?), have reported that Kruger to Vegas is done. The most common return is a 3rd round pick from Chicago. But there’s likely another piece to the puzzle here that’s missing. Whether that’s Chicago “moving a core player” as reported by WSCR’s Jay Zawaski, or Kruger being flipped through Vegas is yet to be seen. Either way, it’s highly probable McPhee makes a deal (or two) with Chicago, but the details out there currently, are likely not telling the whole story.

Columbus Blue Jackets – In Elliotte Friedman’s “30 thoughts” column he mentions murmurs of trade discussions here. The name mentioned is David Clarkson, who is Expansion Draft exempt due to a long term injury. Clarkson’s back will likely keep him off the ice in 2017-18 and could be career ending, however, his cap hit remains at $5.25 million through 2020 (three more seasons). Freidman mentions the 24th overall pick as well as “some young forwards at the AHL level” as possible compensation for Clarkson’s contract. Once again, the details are fuzzy because this would occur outside the parameters of the Expansion Draft. Vegas would still have to select a player from Columbus, so there’s another piece in the mix. Joonas Korpisalo just signed a team-friendly deal, is he involved? Vegas would get rewarded handsomely for taking Clarkson off Columbus’ hands, but there still has to be an Expansion pick, so more is certainly to come on this one.

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Scott Darling Not Coming To Vegas, Unless He And McPhee “Cheat” The System

The name Scott Darling is one Golden Knights fans will consistently hear between now and June as a possible option to be in net for Vegas’ inaugural season. I’m here to tell you it’s not going to happen, unless Vegas cheats.

Before we even get into why Darling won’t be under contract with the Blackhawks come June, let’s just play the game as if he were.

Take a quick peek at the Chicago Blackhawks roster as it pertains to the Expansion Draft. They have eight players with NMCs. EIGHT! Four forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie (Corey Crawford). In other words, they can either protect three forwards using the 7/3/1 method, or protect a single defenseman using the 8/1 method. Marcus Kruger, Richard Panik, Ryan Hartman, Andrew Desjardins, Dennis Rasmussen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Brian Campbell are just some of the names the Hawks have to choose from. Either method they choose, they are at the mercy of McPhee.

For those of you who have played fantasy sports, you understand the term positional scarcity. Those who don’t, let me explain. It means that players in a deeper pool of talent are not as valuable despite their higher skill, than those in a shallower pool. In fantasy football, that means TE Greg Olsen is more valuable than QB Ben Roethlisberger because there are way fewer quality tight ends than quarterbacks.

In the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, positional scarcity lies in skaters, not goalies. There will be upwards of 10 acceptable goalies of which McPhee and his staff will have the opportunity to either select or sign. He can only take three, likely keep two, and only start one. Meanwhile, he needs at least six playable defensemen and twelve forwards.

Scott Darling is good, but if he’s the selection off the Blackhawks, his value is limited. There’s a massive opportunity cost to skipping over the chance to get Panik, Kruger, or van Riemsdyk.

But all this is assuming Darling re-signs with the Hawks and is left exposed… which he won’t be.

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