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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 COLORADO AVALANCHE 3 (Round-Robin Game 3) – OT

Recap: It was a battle for the #1 seed in the West between the Golden Knights and Avalanche. Both goaltenders kept the game scoreless in the 1st period, but the scoring would come in the second.

Jonathan Marchessault gave Vegas the early 2nd period lead with his first goal of the postseason. The Golden Knights took advantage of the power play and nabbed the 1-0 lead. Colorado tied the game five minutes later on a power play score of their own. Later in the period, Vegas’ fourth line crashed the net and put their team ahead with a dirty postseason type goal. Nic Roy was awarded with his first career playoff goal to make it a 2-1 VGK lead. The lead wouldn’t last for long as the Avalanche tied the game again at 2-2.

Marchessault added another in a 3rd period penalty shot regaining the lead 3-2.  The Golden Knights did a great job of neutralizing the Avalanche’s high-powered offense for most of the period. However, Colorado pulled their goalie and tied the game with a minute remaining. The 3-3 tie would need an extra five minutes to decide.

In the winding minutes of a five minute overtime, Alex Tuch aimed a pinpoint shot to win the game 4-3 for Vegas. With their win the Golden Knights lock up the #1 seed in the West going undefeated in Round Robin play. Next up for Vegas will be a matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

(Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The 1st period was a defensive battle in which both team struggled to generate much offense. Things came unhinged a bit in the 2nd as a number of penalties led to the game opening up. Vegas controlled a good portion of the 3rd but a scramble goal forced it into OT. That’s where Tuch took over. What a freaking shot. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • Shea Theodore for Conn Smythe? (But seriously, an article about his passing)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Robin Lehner
** Jonathan Marchessault
* Shea Theodore

Dallas Coach Says Colorado’s The Team To Beat In The West

It’s bulletin board season and today’s material to be pinned to the wall comes from Dallas Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness.

The veteran head coach appeared on NHL Network’s NHL Tonight (video below) and was asked “which team is the biggest threat to your chances at winning the Cup?”

Unlike most coaches who would go with a cliche answer, Bowness did not hesitate and blurted out…

Colorado. In our conference Colorado. -Bowness, Stars interim head coach

The Stars are one of the four teams in the round-robin and their first real game comes against the Golden Knights. However, his sights are not set on Vegas, they’re set on a team his Stars defeated four times out of four this regular season.

Colorado has a lot of young, talented, high skill level players and they’re going to be coming at us with a lot of speed. Listen, nothing but respect for St. Louis, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Vegas, they’re a great hockey club, but Colorado’s a team that when you are coming out of a break like this and a short time to turn things around you’re going to rely on high skill level and speed and Colorado has a lot of that. -Bowness

Sure, the Avalanche have MacKinnon, Landeskog, Rantanen, Makar, and Girard, but the Golden Knights may be just as skilled. Stone, Pacioretty, Karlsson, Smith, Marchessault, and Theodore match up pretty well with the Avs top players. Plus, the Golden Knights have two goalies better than anything the Avs roll out.

The most surprising part of the answer was how quickly he gave it. Bowness wasted no time in jumping directly to the team second on their schedule.

Are the Golden Knights being overlooked by the best teams in the West?

Maybe, and that’s probably not the worst thing in the world.

Round Robin Adjustments – vs. Colorado Avalanche

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Complete series: Dallas, St. Louis, Colorado

It’s only three scheduled games, but the round-robin sets up to be a difficult week for the Golden Knights. Colorado, Dallas, and St. Louis are highly competitive teams that each have had their success against Vegas this season. In seven combined games, the Golden Knights winning percentage is .428 (3-4-0), and all three of their victories came in overtime. Thus, the Golden Knights collected six points in that seven-game span but gave out 11.

Over the next week, we will breakdown where things went wrong against each of the three round-robin teams and identify the areas in which the Golden Knights can adjust to correct the issues. Today we start with the Avs.

vs. Colorado: (0-2) 6-1 L, 7-3 L

Vegas was overmatched in both games against the Avalanche. In their first meeting, the Golden Knights allowed seven goals on 40 shots on net. The most goals and shot total from an opponent all season. In their second matchup, Colorado scored six goals and took 38 shots on net, the second most goals against, and third most shots allowed by an opponent.

The Avalanche’s special teams were also a problem for Vegas. The Golden Knights totaled 17 PIMs in their 7-3 loss against the Avalanche on 12/23. Putting aside Deryk Engelland’s five for fighting, Vegas was called for tripping, cross-checking, delay of game, and two high-sticking penalties. It was the Golden Knights third-most penalty minutes served all season and it hurt them. The Avs took advantage scoring two power play goals and starting 56% of the faceoffs in the Golden Knights defensive zone. It wasn’t just Colorado’s power play that gave Vegas trouble. In total, the Avalanche scored three power play and two shorthanded goals this season against the Golden Knights.

Even more concerning is in six periods of play vs. the Golden Knights, the Avalanche scored two or more goals in five of them. So goaltending will need to be a big factor for Vegas, no matter which goaltender is in net. Oh and by the way, neither Marc-Andre Fleury nor Robin Lehner were able to hold the Avalanche from scoring.

Fleury vs. Colorado: 0-2, .713 GAA, .828 SV%
Lehner vs. Colorado: 1-1, 5.59 GAA, .822 SV%

Areas of Adjustment

  • Clean it up

It all starts with the penalties. Both games against Colorado were played under Gallant, when the penalty kill was actually more successful than it has been under DeBoer. However, no matter which PK strategy Vegas uses, Colorado has a high probability of shredding it. The Avs ability to enter the zone with speed will give the passive forecheck PK fits. The simple solution is to stay out of the box, but that’s easier said than done against a high-tempo team. The key will be to avoid the foolish penalties. No offensive zone penalties, delay-of-games, or too-many-men calls. If Vegas can avoid those, the three or four they give in the D-zone shouldn’t be the difference in the game.

Maybe as importantly, when the Golden Knights have the man-advantage, they absolutely cannot concede as they have twice this season against Colorado. It’s one thing to let power plays go without scoring, but giving up shorties can and will sink the Golden Knights.

Finally, clean exits of the zone will be crucial. In the first two games, the Colorado forecheck ate up the Golden Knights breakouts at times. That turned into quick offense for the Avs and Vegas falling into holes they couldn’t get out.

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COLORADO AVALANCHE 7 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (20-14-6 46 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Colorado Avalanche for their last game before the Christmas break. Unfortunately, for the Golden Knights the visitors scored the opening goal. Old friend Pierre-Eduard Bellemare put Colorado ahead 1-0 with a quick backhand passed Marc-Andre Fleury. Bellemare’s former linemate Ryan Reaves tied the game for Vegas midway through the period. However, the Avalanche took over the remaining ten minutes adding two more goals. After the opening period Vegas trailed Colorado 3-1.

There wasn’t much scoring in the early parts of the 2nd period but there were some fireworks. Deryk Engelland and Valeri Nichushkin dropped gloves, both earning five minute penalties. Max Pacioretty got Vegas within one with his 16th of the season, but the Avalanche continued to bring their offense. Colorado added two more, including another goal from Bellemare. After 40 minutes, the Golden Knights trailed 5-2.

William Carrier got Vegas back within two early in the 3rd period but Colorado would score and get that goal right back. The Avalanche defeated Vegas 7-3.

Vegas’ record drops to20-14-6 and sit with 46 points, tied with Arizona for the Pacific Division lead. The players will have a few days off for the holidays and get back on the ice Friday. Vegas will face the Ducks in Anaheim, face off is scheduled for 7PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It was far from the Golden Knights best game of the year but they didn’t play as poorly as the score indicated, especially through the 1st period. A number of poor giveaways led to Colorado chances and they cashed in on all of them. Meanwhile, Vegas created a number of solid chances but Francouz was solid. It hasn’t happened often in Vegas but the Golden Knights lost because their goaltender was outplayed by his counterpart. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Despite the poor game against Colorado, a positive article about Shea Theodore
  • Photo gallery from the game

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Max Pacioretty
** Ryan Reaves
* William Carrier

Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche Photo Gallery – October 25th, 2019

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COLORADO AVALANCHE 6 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (7-5-0 14 PTS)

It was Nevada Day and the Golden Knights celebrated with an afternoon matchup against the Colorado Avalanche. It was also old friend Pierre-Eduard Bellemare’s first return to Las Vegas.

The game got off to a quick start for the former Golden Knight, as he scored :28 seconds into the game for his new team. Avalanche held a 1-0 lead for most of the period but William Karlsson was able to tie up under two minutes in the period. The lead wouldn’t last long as Colorado regained the lead with :47 seconds left in the period. After 20 minutes Vegas trailed 2-1.

Colorado would add to their lead after picking up their third goal midway through the period. Vegas had a chance to score on a Power Play but couldn’t convert. The Avalanche would go on to score again and Marc-Andre Fleury was eventually pulled for backup Garrett Sparks. Sparks would allow another, and Colorado took a 5-1 lead into the 2nd intermission.

The Golden Knights jumbled their lines in the 3rd (67-71-19, 26-21-92, 81-9-61, 75-73-28), but nothing really came of it as the only goal of the period was a shorthanded goal for the Avs.

Vegas’ record drops to (7-5-0) and will next play the Anaheim Ducks at home on Sunday. Puck drop is scheduled at 5PM. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena

  • Let’s try to figure out what’s going wrong. (Hopefully my trip to the locker room and Gallant’s press conference provide some insight)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Hmm?
** Uh?
* Nah, I’m good.

 

COLORADO AVALANCHE 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (Preseason Game 5)

The Golden Knights came out firing against the Avalanche but missed shots and couldn’t find the back of the net. Midway through the 1st period Colorado struck first on a Matt Calvert dart passed Malcolm Subban. The two teams traded power plays but neither could convert. After twenty minutes the Avalanche held a 1-0 lead.

The 2nd period was all Colorado as they expanded their lead to 3-0. Vladislav Kamenev scored 1:37 and Logan O’Connor added a third goal on the power play ten minutes later. Vegas’ offense went quiet only producing 4 shots on net in the middle frame.

It was more of the same in the 3rd period. The Golden Knights couldn’t string together enough of an attack to threaten Colorado’s goaltender Pavel Francouz. The Avalanche scored once more to make it 4-0. Curtis McKenzie got the Golden Knights on the board in the final 20 seconds.

The Golden Knights get back to action on Friday night at the T-Mobile Arena. Vegas will face the LA Kings. Puck drops at 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche preseason game at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Highlighting one of the “little things” Cody Glass does well

Ken’s Three VGK Stars

*** Um
** No
* One?

 

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 COLORADO AVALANCHE 0 (Preseason Game 2)

On Sunday night the Golden Knights came out strong and cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. In their second preseason game, Vegas traveled to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche with a completely different lineup.

Vegas forward Valentin Zykov opened up the scoring on a weird, puck pinball play off of his stick and past the Avalanche goaltender. Vegas and Colorado both went scoreless on their power plays, however it was notable that forwards Alex Tuch and William Carrier play some minutes on the penalty kill.

Early in the 2nd period veteran scoring forward Brandon Pirri made it a 2-0 game on an accurate high slot shot. Tomas Nosek and Nate Schmidt were given assists on Pirri’s first goal of the preseason. The Golden Knights fought off an Avs two-man advantage midway through the period, but failed to score on their two-man advantage. The 2nd period ended with Vegas up two.

Young defensive prospect Nic Hague scored the Golden Knights third goal of the night, and center Nicholas Roy added the team’s fourth :46 seconds later. Pirri would add his second and the Golden Knights second Power Play goal of the contest to stretch the lead 5-0. Goaltender Garrett Sparks gave Vegas a strong performance stopping all 23 shots on goal by Colorado to secure the shutout.

The (2-0) Golden Knights will get back to action on Thursday night in Los Angeles. Vegas’ third exhibition game will begin at 7:30P against the LA Kings. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche preseason game at Pepsi Center.

  • Nate Schmidt played on the left in this game, but Gallant said he’ll play on the right in season. If that’s the case, what’s it mean for the rest of the lineup?
  • The difficulty for veterans playing with rookies in preseason games

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Brandon Pirri
** Valentin Zykov
* Garret Sparks

 

COLORADO AVALANCHE 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (42-29-6 90 PTS)

The Golden Knights needed one point to clinch a playoff berth, but the Colorado Avalanche wouldn’t make it easy. Vegas coming off a two-game skid traveled to Denver in search of a win.

The Avalanche were flying on the ice creating heavy pressure on the Golden Knights defense. Matt Calvert scooped up a centering pass and wristed past Malcolm Subban for the 1-0 Avs lead. Three minutes later Vegas center Paul Stastny took a costly high-sticking penalty in the Colorado zone. Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon doubled up the score 2-0 on the ensuing power play for his 38th goal of the season.

Down two, the Golden Knights would have some work to do if they were to get back in the game. Both teams traded chances for half the period when Paul Stastny got Vegas on the board with a beautiful wraparound goal. Four minutes later Reilly Smith scored his 19th goal of the season getting Vegas within one. Two and half minutes later Colorado made a two-goal game again leading 4-2 after two periods of action.

Vegas would begin the final period on the power play down 4-2. The Golden Knights would be turned away on their man advantage and had trouble generating offense for most of the period. Colorado tightened up their defense with under five minutes but Alex Tuch punched a high rebound into the net for Vegas’ third goal of the night. Subban was pulled with 1:10 to go in the game giving Vegas the 6-on-5 advantage. After some really close chances the Avalanche evaded an overtime period beating Vegas 4-3.

The Golden Knights record drops to (42-29-6) and remain in the Pacific Division’s third place position, with five games left to play. Vegas still needs one point to clinch a playoff berth. The team will get back on the ice Friday night in Vegas against the Minnesota Wild. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7PM.(Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center

  • Fleury is getting his rest, but how much is too much for playoff performances

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Alex Tuch
** Paul Stastny
* Mark Stone

How The Golden Knights Can Clinch By Sunday

The Golden Knights clinched last year on March 26th. They can actually do it sooner this year.

Having won 10 of the past 11 games the Golden Knights have soared well above the playoff cut line and it’s only a matter of time until it becomes official that Vegas is heading to the postseason.

But, like everything in sports, nothing is a sure thing until it’s actually a sure thing. It can become a sure thing soon though, as soon as Sunday afternoon.

The Golden Knights currently have 89 points with eight games left to play. The first team out of the playoff picture is Arizona with 78 points, also with eight to go.

Thus, the easiest way for the Golden Knights to lock in their place is to eliminate the Coyotes. Using our “Points to Elimination” tool, it takes six points to do so (and only five VGK clinches the tiebreaker).

Arizona plays at New Jersey tomorrow and at the New York Islanders on Sunday. Vegas hosts Detroit tomorrow. If the Golden Knights win in regulation or overtime, and Arizona records only one point in those two games, Vegas will clinch.

If Arizona records two or more points, the Golden Knights still have a chance to clinch.

The attention would then turn to the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and Chicago Blackhawks. With a Vegas win tomorrow, the Golden Knights would need just one more point to eliminate Chicago and three to eliminate Minnesota and Colorado.

The Wild have a back-to-back in Washington and Carolina tonight and tomorrow while Chicago and Colorado have a home-and-home back-to-back against each other Saturday and Sunday.

So, if Vegas wins tomorrow, they would need Minnesota to record one or zero points in their two games, and Chicago and Colorado would have to split (with Colorado’s loss coming in regulation).

VGK win + ARI loss to NJD + ARI loss to NYI

OR

VGK win + MIN loss to WSH + MIN loss to CAR + COL/CHI Split 2 Games

If any piece of both of those scenarios falls short, the next Golden Knights attention will turn to Monday in St. Louis.

It could happen Sunday, it could not, but either way, it’s happening soon. Once that’s locked up, the focus is going to start to shift towards San Jose, who as of this article are five points ahead of Vegas with eight to go. It’s a tall task, but if the Golden Knights can knock off the Sharks again on the 30th, things could get very interesting that final week.

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