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How 122 Minutes Changed The Direction Of The Golden Knights Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s amazing how quickly the tides can turn for a professional sports team. For example, the Atlanta Braves were floundering below .500 in late June, holding the tenth worst record in the National League. Now, Atlanta is three games away from winning the World Series. Okay, maybe the Golden Knights two game Central sweep isn’t of the same magnitude but the tone surrounding the team and the fanbase is a stark difference from what it was on Tuesday afternoon.

There’s no arguing who’s lineup was more talented over the past two games and especially on Tuesday night. Down to their bare bones the Golden Knights did something that not even the organization expected to happen, win back-to-back road games in Colorado and Dallas. It was a tall order but coach Pete DeBoer and his makeshift roster performed as if Mark Stone was leading the way. However, the absence of Stone and others were replaced with gutsy performances by the current, less-talented Golden Knights.

Clearly, DeBoer got through to his players before the road trip began on Tuesday. In case it wasn’t loud enough the de facto leaders (Pietrangelo, Marchessault, Smith, Karlsson, Martinez) made sure the message was heard. Based off their last six periods (and OT) the healthy players were highly motivated and reminded the league on back-to-back nights that their season wasn’t finished.

It was a gutsy road trip. It was a gutsy win again today, short bench, had more guys leave during the game, so we were basically playing three lines. Guys dug deep all week. Tough circumstances and guys found a way. It was a real character test and I thought we did a great job. -Pete DeBoer

One of the reasons Vegas was able to survive and collect four enormous road points was the brilliant play from their goaltenders. As expected, Robin Lehner was Colorado’s foil, and backup Laurent Brossoit put his team in a position to win the game down the stretch in Dallas. Without sharp goaltending this week would look a lot bleaker. Several times over the last two games Vegas could have lost confidence and let the game get away from them. Up 2-1 in Colorado, the Avalanche had more than a period to tie the game but Lehner and his teammates refused to let that happen.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 COLORADO AVALANCHE 1 (2-4-0 4 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights shockingly got off to a quick start scoring two goals in the first 9:37 of the game. Chandler Stephenson started the scoring with his third of the season and Reilly Smith stretched the lead to 2-0 with a shorthanded goal. Robin Lehner was strong in net stopping all 10 Avalanche shots.

Vegas continued to frustrate Colorado for most of the middle period. The game changed when Colorado’s Jack Johnson upended Keegan Kolesar and the Avs defenseman was punished with a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Golden Knights forward Nic Roy also received a game misconduct and a two-minute instigator penalty for protecting his teammate by jumping Johnson. On the ensuing 4-on-4 play, Colorado slipped one by Lehner. Vegas held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of action.

The final period began with a continuation of the matching penalties but the score didn’t change. Vegas fought off several Colorado rushes down the stretch and Keegan Kolesar poked in an empty net insurance goal.

The Golden Knights record improves to 2-4-0 after their impressive 3-1 over the Avalanche. Vegas will get right back to work tomorrow night in Dallas. Puck drop against the Stars is scheduled for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Looking to end a dreadful losing streak, and knowing goals were always going to be hard to come by, the Golden Knights brought their work boots to this one. They played a simple, smart game, and allowed the chances to come to them as they usually do against the Avalance. Once they got the lead, they started to play the way they can defensively and they earned themselves a much-needed victory. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche game at Ball Arena.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 7 COLORADO AVALANCHE 4 (Preseason Game 5)

Recap: The Golden Knights got off to another quick start against the Avalanche in their second preseason matchup. Vegas forward Keegan Kolesar scored 3:26 into the game and last week forward Patrick Brown gave his team the early 1-0 advantage 2:07 in the first period. Defenseman Alec Martinez doubled the lead late in the first period for the Golden Knights. 

The offense picked up for both teams as each registered two goals in the second period. William Karlsson and Reilly Smith scored for Vegas in the middle frame.

The Golden Knights took a 6-2 lead in the third period after Martinez scored his second of the game and Peyton Krebs added his first goal of the preseason. Colorado worked to get within two but Jake Leschysyn sealed the game with a late empty net goal.

The Golden Knights boost their preseason record to (3-2) with their 6-4 win in Colorado. Vegas will next play the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It was one of those preseason games where both teams decided to throw caution to the wind and have some fun trying to score goals. Tons of chances, lots of odd-man breaks, etc. Fun to watch for fans, the worst for coaches. Peyton Krebs was awesome too. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche preseason game at Ball Arena.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 COLORADO AVALANCHE 3 (Preseason Game 2) 2-1 COL Shootout

Recap: The Golden Knights got off to a quick start to their second preseason game taking a 1-0 lead 2:07 in the opening period. Vegas forward Patrick Brown scooped up a rebound in front of the net for his first goal of the preseason. Eight minutes later Colorado evened the score but Vegas would regain their two goal edge on special teams. Nic Hague ripped home the Golden Knights second power play goal in as many games. Vegas took a 2-1 advantage into the first intermission.

Colorado scored the only goal of the second period and took the 3-2 lead early in the final frame. Vegas veteran Alex Pietrangelo settled things down a few shifts later by rifling the equalizer by the Avalanche’s goaltender. Mainstay Jonathan Marchessault scored the game winning goal and Vegas’ second power play goal of the contest to capture their first victory of the preseason.

The Golden Knights even up their preseason record with their 4-3 win over the Avalanche. Next Vegas will travel north to Salt Lake City, UT to play divisional rival LA Kings on Thursday night. Puck drops at 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It was a penalty-ridden game that really didn’t have much of a flow to it. VGK had a few guys stand out but overall there wasn’t much to see in this one. (Recap by Ken)


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

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Postseason Loss To Golden Knights Still Fresh To Nathan MacKinnon

When the Golden Knights lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the conference finals last season it left a bitter taste in the mouths of the players and coaches. Go ahead and throw the fans in the mix as well, they were spitting out Bleu, Blanc, and Rouge all summer long. Clearly ending on a low note leaves plenty of room for motivation going into the next season. However, that goes for most teams in the NHL and especially one that lost in meltdown style.

No, I don’t need to (go back and watch the Vegas series). It was more of a mental thing than a physical thing for us and for me too. We got a little hesitant. –Nathan MacKinnon on 32 Thoughts Podcast

After the first two games of last season’s second round series, most Vegas fans feared the worst. Colorado looked to be the better team, were getting the lucky bounces and had won six playoff games in a row. With only two losses remaining before another season was cut short the Golden Knights woke up and stormed back to clinch the series in six games. It was by far the finest moment of Vegas’ 2021 season and one of the best in franchise history.

On the losing side of the handshake line, the Avalanche were shell-shocked. They believed their skill and speed would get them into the conference finals, especially when they were holding a two games to love lead. Learning now, Colorado wasn’t as comfortable as we may have thought after Game 2.

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

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas 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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Twitter Space Pre Game 6 VGK vs MTL – June 23rd, 2021

The Golden Knights truly have their backs against the wall here needing two wins to keep their fourth season alive. We review Game 5 to look for issues that plagued the Golden Knights and possibly solutions for Game 6.

Twitter Space w/ Jesse Granger Pre Game 4 VGK vs MTL – June 20th, 2021

The Golden Knights are starting Robin Lehner over Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 4. So, Jesse Granger from The Athletic joins me to talk about the decision. We’re also joined by poker superstar and VGK diehard Daniel Negreanu.

Most of the episode is on goalies but we touch on the power play as well as make predictions for Game 4.

Twitter Space Pre Game 3 VGK vs MTL – June 17th, 2021

In this Twitter Space episode, we are looking at Game 3 in Montreal. What the Habs did to turn things around and how the Golden Knights can adapt to get a win or two in Montreal. Plus, we talk about the center depth, future goalie situations, and so much more.

Block Party! Golden Knights Blocked Their Way To The Semi-Final

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have battled and bruised their way through 13 tough games this postseason and with two series under their belt and another a few days away, Vegas seem to have found a simple yet painful approach to beating their opponents. Blocking shots.

We presented the numbers after Game 2 against Colorado and the trend continued throughout the six-game series. The Golden Knights have become a shot-blocking brigade. After last night, the Golden Knights are 7-1 in the postseason when they block 18 or more per game. In their Game 6 clincher, VGK blocked 34 shot attempts from Colorado. We can only imagine the extra-long ice bath Alec Martinez needed after the 6-3 victory.

Playoff Blocked Shots By The Numbers

VGK 249 Total Blocked Shots (1st)
VGK 19.00 Blocked Shots Per 60 (2nd)
Alec Martinez 52 Blocked Shots (1st)
Alex Pietrangelo 36 Blocked Shots (2nd)
Zach Whitecloud 30 Blocked Shots (4th)

When Pete DeBoer took over as the Golden Knights coach he stated shot blocking would be a heavy factor in how the team defended and it was non-negotiable. Well, the coach wasn’t kidding. His players lead all playoff teams with 249 total blocked shots and have 47 more than the NY Islanders who are next with 198 blocked shots. Painful as it is, game after game the Golden Knights have sacrificed their bodies to frustrate snipers like Nathan MacKinnon.

Vegas’ next opponent the Montreal Canadiens will most likely fall victim to clogged shooting lanes and dud shot attempts as well. After two rounds the Canadiens opponents averaged 15 blocked shots per game. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets blocked a total of 170 shots in 11 games against the North Division champion. Vegas should be able to match if not exceed the average amount Montreal has faced all postseason.

The Golden Knights will need to be aware of facing shot-blockers like themselves. Defensemen Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmunson, and Jeff Petry log heavy minutes and average four or more blocked shots per game. It’s not in Martinez’s neighborhood but the Canadiens have guys that are willing to throw themselves into a hard slap shot as well.

Shot blocking isn’t the sole reason the Golden Knights have advanced to the semifinals but it’s been effective. If Vegas continues to frustrate sharpshooters and defensive weapons on the blueline they should be to limit Montreal’s offense, like they did to Colorado. Facing a goaltender like Carey Price, goals will likely be tough to come by. Relying on basic, fearless hockey could be the difference for Vegas in the penultimate series.

Just think, Martinez has 50 or so shots left to block before he can hoist the Cup. Luckily he’ll have plenty of time for his puck-sized bruises to heal in the offseason.

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