Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to Colorado for a Western Conference clash against the Avalanche. The home team took advantage of an early Golden Knights miscue to take a 1-0 lead 0:14 into the game.
Mikko Rantanen scored his second goal of the game to double the Avalanche’s lead late in the middle frame. The Golden Knights trailed 2-0 heading into the second intermission.
Colorado continued to pressure in the third period but Vegas had opportunities. Midway though the Golden Knights were awarded a power play but came up short. The Avalanche fought off late attacks and added an empty net goal to shutout the Golden Knights 3-0
The Golden Knights’ record drops to 35-19-6 losing 3-0 to the Avalanche. Vegas travels back home for a three-game set beginning with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM.(Recap by Jason)
Analysis: The instant deficit certainly made things more difficult, but the Golden Knights were the worse team pretty much the entire night. VGK weren’t able to generate much offensively for multiple reasons. First, they weren’t strong enough on the puck in the offensive zone. Second, they didn’t generate much on the rush. Last, the power play couldn’t convert. (Analysis by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena.
Monday was an example of two NHL powerhouses at limited capacity. Several key weapons were missing in the Western conference battle, including the Golden Knights highly-skilled center and the Avalanche’s heart and soul. Nevertheless, one injured collection defeated another in an entertaining one-goal affair.
It’s a good hockey team we played. Effort was there. We had a lot of good looks in the third, really buzzing, which is a good sign. There’s no quit in our room, which is a good thing. Moving forward, we just need to get healthy, we just need to get healthy. Guys are battling but it’s tough. – Nathan MacKinnon, COL center
This season, both contenders have had players in and out of their lineups due to injury. At this point, the Golden Knights have adjusted quicker than their counterpart. Certainly, it’s worth noting there are various reasons for the Avalanche’s slow starts including injuries, chemistry, and possibly a championship hangover to boot.
Without impact players Jack Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault, and Shea Theodore the Golden Knights beat the reigning NHL champs with role players stepping up. Vegas received all three goals from depth players rising to the occasion. Elevated forward Michael Amadio evened the score in the 1st period continuing his current pace for the best offensive season in his NHL career. Versatile center Nic Roy added the game-tying and game-winning goals in the middle period, proving again the Golden Knights can win without their stars.
Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to Colorado for their first game of 2023. It didn’t take long for the Avalanche to take an early lead. The home team took a 1-0 advantage 0:25 into the game. The Golden Knights fought off a penalty and eventually tied the game late in the opening period.
Both teams had early chances in the 2nd period but neither could snap the tie. Midway through the game Nic Roy ripped a shot off the outside post giving Vegas a 2-1 edge. Roy later extended the Golden Knights lead to 3-1 with his second of the game.
Colorado got within one in the final period but Vegas fought off several late chances to hold on to a 3-2 lead.
The Golden Knights’ record improves to 26-12-2 defeating the Avalanche 3-2 in Colorado. Vegas will head back home for a meeting with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: Probably the best regular season game the Golden Knights have played against the Avalanche since the 7-0 Nevada Day whooping back in 2017. VGK were absolutely dominant at even-strength constantly generating chances while thwarting every Avalanche player not named MacKinnon. It got a little dicey at the end, but that’s about as good a game as you can ask for on the road against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. (Analysis by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena.
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 hosted the Colorado Avalanche for their second measuring stick game of the season. Colorado took control of the 1st period outshooting Vegas 11-5 and taking the early lead on a power play opportunity. However, the Golden Knights drew a penalty of their own and tied the game 1-1 before the opening 20 minutes expired.
Colorado took advantage of another PP opportunity breaking the tie 6:23 into the middle frame. Vegas had several chances of their own but couldn’t find the back of the net. After 40 minutes the Avalanche held a tight 2-1 advantage.
Vegas began the 3rd period on the power play, but they couldn’t even the score. Colorado took a two-goal lead but midway through the frame on a nifty goal by Val Nischushkin. Chandler Stephenson scored to make it a 3-2 contest. Vegas fought to the final second but couldn’t find the equalizer.
The Golden Knights record drops to 4-2-0 losing their first matchup 3-2 against the Avalanche this season. Vegas will try and bounce back on Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck drop from T-Mobile Arena is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: Colorado lived in the Vegas end for a good portion of the 1st period which led to very little offense for the Golden Knights. However, the escaped it with just a power play goal a side. It improved a bit in the 2nd and then much more in the 3rd as Vegas pushed back hard and made a game of it. Outscored on the power play and an awesome individual play on the other end were the difference. (Recap by Ken)
Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Colorado Avalanche for a preseason rematch. The Golden Knights got off to a quick start as Zach Whitecloud and William Karlsson connected for the game’s first goal. Karlsson deflected an open pass in the high slot from Whitecloud. Forward Gage Quinney notched his first of the preseason 10 minutes later. Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson held the early lead stopping several quality chances by the Avalanche in the opening 20 minutes. VGK lead 2-0 after one.
The home team came out hot again in the middle frame when forward Michael Amadio extended Vegas’ lead to 3-0. Amadio’s first of the preseason was assisted by Karlsson and Whitecloud. Vegas’ Paul Cotter, Keegan Kolesar, and Kaedan Korczak all found the net later in the period to extend their team’s lead to 6-0.
Colorado finally jumped on the board 4:47 into the final period. However, the Golden Knights did a good job of limiting chances down the stretch. Chandler Stephenson tacked on the extra point to make it 7-1 with a little more than five minutes left. Thompson was sharp in net playing the entire 60 minutes in a winning effort.
The Golden Knights win their first preseason game 6-1 with three remaining. Vegas will next host the San Jose Sharks on Friday night from T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: The 1st period wasn’t pretty for the Golden Knights offensively. Even though they scored twice, they generated almost nothing. The 2nd was the complete opposite. They were all over the Colorado Eagles Avalanche. Colorado simply didn’t show up, credit to VGK for embarrassing them for it. (Recap by Ken)
Recap: Golden Knights hockey is officially underway as the team faced off against the Colorado Avalanche for their first exhibition game of the 2022-23 season. Vegas took the first lead of the game with under a minute to go in the opening 20 minutes. Henderson Silver Knights forward Paul Cotter scored on Vegas’ second power play of the period.
The second frame was a bit messy like the first. Vegas committed three penalties and Colorado added two more. All in all through 40 minutes, 20 of them were spent on special teams. The Golden Knights penalty killers and goaltenders did a good job of shutting down the Avalanche’s power play. After two periods Vegas held a 1-0 advantage.
Colorado quickly came storming back in the final period; tying the game in the opening minute and taking the lead 12 minutes later. The Avalanche tacked on a late empty net goal to cap off a 3-1 final.
The Golden Knights get right back to work tomorrow night against the LA Kings. Vegas will take the ice at T-Mobile Arena for the first time since late April. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: The few moments in which the game was played at even-strength, VGK were pretty good. But, they took nine penalties and drew six more of their own so the 5-on-5 time was few and far between. A lot of the youngsters stood out though. From Cotter to Leschyshyn to Dean to Morozov, it was a positive first preseason game for sure, despite the result. (Recap by Ken)
In 14 lifetime games against the Vegas, Connor McDavid, the world’s most electric player, has 17 total points. That’s an average of 1.21 points per game. It’s exciting for the fans but not for the Golden Knights. To be fair, most NHL franchises have been torched by McDavid as he’s averaged 1.58 points per game over the past four seasons.
However, in the Western Conference Final, the Colorado Avalanche seem to have figured out how to at least slow him down. Through three WCF games, the Avalanche have held McDavid to 3 points. Well below his 1.44 career points per playoff game and 2.17 he had in the first 12 playoff games this year.
Colorado deserves high marks for successfully executing a plan to slow down Edmonton’s captain. It’s similar to how the Golden Knights handled Avs superstar Nathan MacKinnon.
A couple of mental mistakes, a couple of positioning mistakes. That’s what a team like Colorado does to you. The second that Colorado was up a couple of goals they went into lockdown mode. Colorado knew they had enough to win then they locked it down. That’s what good teams do in the playoffs. –Matt Kassian, Oilers Analyst and Former player to TSN
By limiting McDavid the Avalanche have taken away the Oilers’ biggest weapon and their identity. Edmonton isn’t as effective, fast, nor as threatening without their one-two punch of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Watching the Stanley Cup playoffs certainly has a different feel without the Golden Knights as participants. As we’ve been over many, many times since their season finale, injuries played a significant role in why the team is on the outside looking in. Halfway through the first round, it’s clear Vegas needed more than just their health to advance.
Western Conference Playoff Summary
14-0 Team Scoring First
8-6 Home Team
4.25 Winning Team Average Goals
3.22 Average Goal Differential Per Game
1.8 Power Play Goals Per Win
10-4 When Scoring PPG
Down the stretch, the Golden Knights had trouble picking up the first goal of game, received very little output from their power play, and lacked the ability to climb back and win from behind. On most nights in the playoffs, those elements would be a recipe for disaster. Not surprising, early consistent scoring is paying off in the postseason. So far, there have been 14 games played in the Western Conference, the team that scored the opening goal went on to win to all of them.
Naturally, lower-scoring teams focus on winning defensive battles helping them survive in a long series. Last night the LA Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 and evened the series by playing their signature suffocating style. The Oilers are +7 in goal differential but are in no better shape than the Kings.
The sixth highest-scoring team in the NHL’s regular season has only mustered up three goals in three games. The Calgary Flames averaged 3.55 goals per game in the first 82 but have been held to 2 goals or less in the last three. Yet, the 2.84 goals per game Dallas Stars hold a 2-1 series lead.
Western Conference Goals Scored Per Game
Colorado 5.33 (1 ENG)
Minnesota 3.25 (2 ENG)
St. Louis 3.00 (1 ENG)
Dallas 2.00 (2 ENG)
LA 2.50 (1 ENG)
Subtract empty netters, and the averages decrease for several Western Conference contenders. Making most games much tighter than the averages show. No matter who Vegas faced off against their periodic offensive struggles could’ve haunted them in the first round.
Turn back the clock to Vegas’ run to the semifinals last year. In six games against the Montreal Canadiens, the Golden Knights averaged 2.18 goals per game, scored the opening goal twice, and were blanked on the man-advantage.
Without a doubt, the Golden Knights’ front office is tuning in nightly like all of us. We’ve heard dozens of times the NHL is a copycat league, it’s possible VGK execs are picking up plays for their grease board. Why not take a few notes on Colorado’s lethal PP, or some offensive strategies from Edmonton, Minnesota, or St. Louis. Maybe, it’s best to watch Dallas and LA’s suffocating, everything to the outside type of defense. It may be the difference between making semis or the finals.
Recap: The Golden Knights tried to shake off a disappointing loss last night in Arizona by hosting the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas took the early lead when Chandler Stephenson scored his 14th goal of the season. Jack Eichel picked up another point earning an assist on the play. The Avalanche evened the score 1-1 right after the Golden Knights killed off a penalty. However, Vegas continued to pressure Colorado in their own zone and it paid off. Team leading goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault regained Vegas’ lead 2-1.
The game tightened up in the middle frame as both teams were forced to kill penalties. Laurent Brossoit was strong in net stopping all 12 shots on net.
Colorado tied the game five minutes into the final period and took the lead :26 seconds later. The Golden Knights took several quality chances down the stretch but Avalanche defense and goaltending smothered every rebound.
The Golden Knights record drops to 29-20-4 falling to the Avalanche 3-2. After losing two straight Vegas will get a chance to regroup before they play next on Tuesday night. Puck drop against the San Jose Sharks is set for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: For 59 minutes of a 60 minute hockey game the Golden Knights were detailed, played with high intensity, and did much of what they want and need to do to beat the Avalanche. But a breakdown in the offensive zone followed by a turnover leading to an Avs rush flipped the game from a VGK win to a loss. It’s a very tough pill to swallow for a team that’s starting to need points in the standings. (Recap by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena.