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Golden Knights To Face Incredibly Difficult Back-To-Back

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tonight and tomorrow may be the biggest two-game challenge the Golden Knights will face this entire regular season. Mired by injuries to multiple key starters, Vegas travels to Colorado tonight before heading home to face a Boston team already waiting for them at T-Mobile Arena.

The Golden Knights fared well in their first matchup with the Avalanche, torching Colorado 7-0 back in early November. However, the two teams come into this game in much different forms.

Colorado ripped off six straight wins to start the season, but then went back-to-back games without scoring a goal losing 4-0 to both Pittsburgh and Buffalo. They beat St. Louis right before playing the Golden Knights, but the loss in Vegas marked their third time being shutout in four games. Their offense is in a much different place right now.

The Avs have won seven of their last nine games amassing 37 goals, or more than four per game. They’ve scored at least four goals in 10 of their last 14 and have posted at least five in six of them. Their power play is clicking at 36% since mid-December and they are outshooting teams by a wide margin nightly.

Colorado’s last win was a shootout victory against VGK’s next opponent, the Bruins. Boston is currently on a two-game losing streak but they’ve recorded points in seven of their last eight and rattled off a four-game winning streak as the calendar turned to 2024.

They too have been scoring goals at a rapid pace. Boston has tallied 36 times in their last eight games, 4.5 per game. They’ve scored at least three in every game they’ve played since Christmas, and have posted five or more in four of the last eight.

Vegas enters tonight’s contest in Colorado as +122 underdogs at William Hill. This will be the 9th time the Golden Knights will play a game as underdogs. They are 3-5 in the first eight but have lost each of the last four by a combined score of 21-11. VGK have allowed at least four goals in all four of those games and were only within one goal once.

This is 10th consecutive time the Golden Knights are underdogs when visiting Colorado. Vegas has fared fairly well in the last nine though, winning five. Things have not gone as well against Boston, especially at home. The Golden Knights have lost four straight home games against the Bruins including a 3-1 loss as underdogs in December of last season.

Adin Hill appears to be making his return tonight, but if the Golden Knights want to start stacking some wins together, they’ll have to slow down some red-hot offenses as underdogs in a back-to-back with travel. No one is saying Vegas can’t do it, but unlike most situations this season, they aren’t expected to.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 7 COLORADO AVALANCHE 0 (11-0-1, 23 PTS)

Recap: The Stanley Cup champions hosted the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday looking to stay undefeated in regulation. Vegas was awarded two early power plays  but couldn’t find the net on eight shots on net. Later in the frame Mark Stone took the lead 1-0 scoring Vegas’ first shorthanded goal on 2023-24. After the opening 20 minutes the 2023 Stanley Cup champions lead the 2022 Stanley Cup champions 1-0.

Vegas continued to pressure Colorado in the 2nd period. Jack Eichel scored his first of the game 9:35 into the frame, followed by William Carrier’s tap in from Stone. Fifty-two seconds later Eichel made it 4-0 Golden Knights with his second of the contest.

The Stanley Cup champions didn’t slow down in the final frame. Stone added his second of the night and William Karlsson joined the scoring party minutes later to stretch VGK’s lead to 6-0. Karlsson wasn’t finished and scored another for the Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights record improves to 11-0-1 defeating the Avalanche 7-0. Vegas’ torrid winning streak continues into Sunday’s game against Anaheim. Puck drop vs the Ducks is scheduled for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The game was fairly close for a little while… then it wasn’t. VGK absolutely destroyed the Avs from the middle of the game on and would not let up. A fanny wacking of the highest degree against a darn good team. (Analysis by Ken)

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

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VGK Gearing Up For “Difficult Weekend Of Hard Hockey”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights remain atop the standings in the NHL with a .955 points percentage through their first 11 games. 10-0-1 is impressive no matter who you play, but there’s no question Vegas has been blessed with a fairly fortunate schedule so far.

They currently have the 29th-ranked strength of schedule, have played seven of the 11 games at home, and have won three games in the shootout.

Prior to Thursday’s game against Winnipeg, the team was outwardly being pretty hard on themselves. They knew they could be better and despite the nearly immaculate record, they hit the ice for a pair of practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We were winning some games but we weren’t playing our best game. So it was good to get out there and practice and we got rewarded with a great game. -Marchessault

Head coach Bruce Cassidy wanted to jump-start the process of getting his team back on track. He also knew the next stretch of games was going to be far and away the toughest the Golden Knights have faced all season.

Tonight with a familiar opponent that we’ve built a little animosity with I think is food for us and I think Colorado will be the same. We know how good they are and I think they respect how we play the game. We can carry that over into Saturday and to be quite honest Sunday for that matter. Anaheim is playing really well, they’re feeling really good about their game and they are sitting there waiting for us. -Cassidy

The Avalanche visit T-Mobile Arena tonight in a battle of two of the best teams in the Western Conference. For the first time all season, the Golden Knights are underdogs. Then, directly after the game, VGK hop on the plane to Anaheim where the Ducks are riding a five-game win streak and haven’t played since Wednesday.

It’s going to be a difficult weekend of hard hockey so it’s good for us to get into that mentality. -Cassidy

Clearly, the Golden Knights have nothing to prove at this point in the season. They’re the reigning Stanley Cup champions and they’ve rattled off an 11-game point streak including 10 wins to open the season. That being said, these games will have a bit of a bigger game feel, especially tonight’s against the Avs.

Win them both, and people will start looking at Boston’s record season last year and asking if the Golden Knights can top it. Lose them both, and the schedule is going to start looking like it did Vegas some favors to get off to a hot start.

There aren’t many truly exciting games in a regular season. Tonight and tomorrow, the Golden Knights have them.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 COLORADO AVALANCHE 3 (Preseason Game 6)

Recap: The 2023 Stanley Cup champion hosted the 2022 Stanley Cup champion for an exhibition game at T-Mobile Arena. The Avalanche quickly jumped on the board with a goal 1:57 into the game. Ten minutes later Colorado doubled their lead. Vegas trailed 2-0 after the opening twenty minutes.

Nathan MacKinnon added to the Avalanche’s lead in the second period but Nic Roy got one back minutes later. The Avalanche held a 3-1 advantage heading into the second intermission.

Pavel Dorofeyev snapped a quick shot off a faceoff to cut the deficit to one. Midway through the period Jonathan Marchessault tipped home a Shea Theodore shot to tie it. And then, Paul Cotter slammed the door shut to help VGK overcome a three-goal deficit and beat the Avalanche.

The Golden Knights wrap up their preseason on Saturday with an afternoon matchup against the LA Kings. Puck drop for the final exhibition game is scheduled for 1 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: VGK looked very sleepy for a good portion of the beginning of the game. They did start to get it going as the game went on, and then really turned it up in the 3rd and came back to win, which was nice. (Recap by Ken)

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COLORADO AVALANCHE 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (Preseason Game 2)

Recap: Some different faces were on the Golden Knights bench for their second of a back-to-back exhibition game. Sheldon Rempal opened the scoring for Vegas before Colorado capped off the first period leading 2-1.

The Avalanche took a 3-1 lead in the final period but Vegas’ Lukas Cormier got his team within one. Colorado held off Vegas late in the game to pull off a 3-2 victory. 

After two preseason matchups the Golden Knights are (0-2)… who really cares about the score anyway? The Golden Knights are still Stanley Cup champions.  (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights did very little of substance in this game. It felt like there would be 10 minutes between every shot. Not a great showing, but not a lot of care given. (Recap by Ken)

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5 Most Anticipated Road Games

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the reigning champions, every single road game this season will be a special occasion for the opposition. No matter how things are going, the Golden Knights will be a measuring stick game for every single team. Of the 41 road games this year, here are the five I’m looking forward to most.

5) November 14th, 2023 at Washington

The game itself is not all that exciting, or at least on paper it’s not. But, the Golden Knights have three days off before this game so it will almost certainly be their chance to visit the White House.

Politics aside, it’s always been a really neat tradition to see the champions of each league make the visit. It typically results in a funny comment or two from the sitting president and a chance to see the players a bit out of their element.

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VGK Drops To 2nd In Mid-Summer Power Rankings

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s difficult to take any NHL power rankings seriously in early August. However, it didn’t stop Sportsnet from dropping their newest power rankings this week. Surprisingly enough, the current Stanley Cup winners were ranked second behind the 2022 NHL champions.

1. Colorado Avalanche:

The 2022 champs didn’t advance past Round 1 in 2023, but the Avs are poised to make noise again. Colorado knows captain Gabriel Landeskog is going to be on long-term injured all season, so it can stuff his $7-million salary there. Ryan Johansen and Ross Colton give a nice, new look to the centre crew and Jonathan Drouin is a fun bounce-back bet. Unlike last season, the Avs should be rested and hungry when the puck drops in October. –Ryan Dixon on Sportsnet.ca

By no means was Sportsnet’s Ryan Dixon taking a swipe at the Golden Knights by anointing the Avalanche as the league’s best team going into next season. Let’s be honest, the past two NHL champs are not far away from each other. Both have an elite center, game-changing wingers, dynamic defensive units, and strong coaching. Would anyone be surprised if Colorado and Vegas faced off in the 2024 Western Conference Finals?

The Golden Knights will try to not stub their toe like the Avalanche did this past postseason by being eliminated in the opening round. Of course, four playoff series, a championship parade, and dozens of “Day with the Cup” parties may create a hangover but VGK’s overall talent should keep them in contention. Sportsnet agreed.

2. Vegas Golden Knights:

Recency bias? Maybe. But the Knights have largely kept the band together and Jack Eichel just had his coming out party in the 2023 playoffs. Mark Stone missed half the season last year and the Knights still managed to win the Pacific Division. This balanced squad is going to be right back challenging for the Cup. –Dixon on Sportsnet.ca

With the exception of Reilly Smith’s departure to Pittsburgh, the core of Vegas’ Stanley Cup roster is fully intact. Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Alex Pietrangelo are all returning for a back-to-back attempt in 2024. Coach Bruce Cassidy will need repeat performances from all of his players, especially in net from Adin Hill, who was handsomely paid after his all-world postseason performance.

Expectations are high for Eichel and his linemates to lead the Golden Knights’ offense as they did in the playoffs. Pietrangelo will be relied upon to carry a heavy workload again and Stone will try and stay on the ice for as many regular season games as he can. As long as all of them are dressed for Game 1 of the 2024 NHL playoffs, Vegas will be considered a favorite to repeat, no matter where the out-of-town media has them ranked by April of next year.

For the record, Edmonton was listed third on Sportsnet’s power rankings. Considering how that econd round series played out, Vegas shouldn’t worry about dropping beneath them.

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