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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 LOS ANGELES KINGS 3 (1-0-0 2 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights 2022-23 season began with a divisional game on the road against the LA Kings. It was the first time since 2017-18 that Vegas opened the season on the road. 

The home team got on the scoreboard first shooting through traffic in front of the Golden Knights net. Reilly Smith had two quality chances late in the period but Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick held the 1-0 lead.

After an expiring power play Vegas took advantage of a tired LA team. Jonathan Marchessault tied the game 1-1, notching his first of the season 1:41 into the middle frame. Both teams had several opportunities throughout the period but Quick and Logan Thompson kept the puck out of their nets. 

Star center Jack Eichel broke the tie picking up a loose rebound and roofing the puck for the 2-1 VGK lead. The Kings evened the score but Alex Pietrangelo took advantage of a 3rd period power play. The defenseman drilled a shot pass from the blue line and William Karlsson deflected it by the sprawling Quick. Karlsson’s goal was the team’s first power play goal under new coach Bruce Cassidy. LA later scored the equalizer but Mark Stone scored the game-winner with under a minute remaining.

The Golden Knights defeat Los Angeles 4-3 to start their season with a (1-0) record. Vegas travels back for their home opener against Chicago on Thursday night. Puck drop against the Blackhawks is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights were the better team for a majority of the night. The forechecking was excellent and caused all sorts of problems for the Kings in the d-zone and neutral zone. It took a wild play to get the Golden Knights across the line with two points, but they earned that win. (Recap by Ken)

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 LOS ANGELES KINGS 4 (Preseason Game 6) (Shootout VGK 1-0)

Recap: The Golden Knights and LA Kings faced off in Salt Lake City for the return of the Frozen Fury. LA got off to a quick start when newcomer Kevin Fiala backhanded a puck by Logan Thompson 1:52 into the game. Minutes later the Kings doubled their lead sneaking one past the Golden Knights goaltender. Reilly Smith got Vegas within one scoring 16:36 into the opening 20 minutes.

Vegas tied the game 2-2 on a laser from defenseman Brayden McNabb 5:14 into the 2nd period. Chandler Stephenson, Brayden McNabb and Jonathan Marchessault were all credited with 2nd period goals to give the Golden Knights a 4-2 advantage.

The Kings were able to trim the Golden Knights lead but Smith sealed the deal with a 3rd period PP goal. A late empty-netter was added by Alex Pietrangelo. Vegas left Salt Lake City with a 6-4 victory.

The Golden Knights prepare for their final preseason game Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes. The two teams will meet up in Idaho for their preseason finales. Vegas will begin the opening season in LA on Tuesday night. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights slept through the 1st period but they really got it going in the 2nd. A weird play helped flip the score from 3-3 to 4-2 in favor of VGK which ended up being the difference in the game. VGK still have a ways to go before the regular season, which is not a ways away. (Recap by Ken)

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LOS ANGELES KINGS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (Preseason Game 2) (Shootout 6-5 VGK)

Recap: The Golden Knights got right back to business following their preseason loss yesterday in Colorado. Vegas hosted LA for their first divisional exhibition game of the 2022-23. Center Jack Eichel opened the scoring seven minutes into game slipping through the Kings defense for a breakaway goal. Linemates Phil Kessel and Reilly Smith picked up an assist on Eichel’s goal. After the opening 20 minutes the Golden Knights led 1-0.

The second frame was a battle on the boards fighting for possession. The game was so tight that neither team could control the puck for an extended amount of time. The Kings evened the score on a well-executed give-and-go by Kevin Fiala and Brandt Clark. The score was locked in a 1-1 tie after 40 minutes.

Both teams had quality chances in the final period but neither could break the tie in regulation. Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo committed a penalty in overtime which LA took advantage of. Adrian Kempe finished the game 2-1 with a sudden death power play goal.

The Golden Knights lose their second game of the preseason with four games remaining. Vegas will next host a rematch with Colorado on Wednesday night from T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Like many preseason games, it started out choppy. To VGK’s credit, they started to work through it and continued to make life difficult on the Kings along the way. The game opened up in the late 2nd and then returned to a bit of a slog in the 3rd. (Recap by Ken)

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VGK Set To Advance Next Postseason Against Weak Pacific

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Throughout team history, Vegas averages 102 points over an 82 game season. This season, 102 points would’ve earned Vegas a third place finish in the Pacific Division and a seven game series against Edmonton. There’s a strong case that a healthy Golden Knights roster would’ve given the Oilers a run for their money.

There are no excuses and we need to have a good start and go from there, but this is part of playoff hockey and you’re going to go through adversity. There are no easy games and no easy series, so we’re going to be prepared to go .-Ryan Nugent Hopkins, EDM forward

So far, only the Central Division has had a team eliminated. In a few days, it’s possible two of three Pacific Division teams are sent home packing as well. Sure, Calgary is up a game but Dallas hasn’t been an easy opponent. In the other western series, the Oilers have fallen right into the trap of the underdog Kings. It’s premature but none of the three Pacific teams are looking like favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Let’s say the Golden Knights are healthy enough next season to make the playoffs. If they top off at 102 points they would likely be the second or third team coming out of the Pacific. In that case, Vegas would be guaranteed to face off against a divisional rival. Chances are the familiar faces will be in play in 2022-23. Which statistically favors the Golden Knights.

It’s not just about scoring. There’s a lot more to the game than that.-Daryl Sutter, CGY coach

Since 2017-18, Vegas has a total of 464 points. The Golden Knights have earned more than a third from inside their division. Excluding the now Central Division Coyotes, the Golden Knights have tallied 176 Pacific Division points in 119 games. That’s a hearty .676 winning % against the teams Vegas faces most and in the opening rounds of the playoffs.

Golden Knights fans have now watched how predictable the Pacific division has been for half a decade. LA in and Vegas out was the only real surprise over that period. The landscape will likely stay the same next season.

When the oddsmakers set the lines for next season’s divisional leaders the Golden Knights are likely to be the favorite. Other teams have areas to address as well. Calgary will have to make some big decisions, so will Edmonton, San Jose and Vancouver. LA’s quick climb to the postseason will be interesting if it keeps up, especially if a healthy Vegas team is rolling. In year six no matter what changes have been made the Golden Knights will have a chance to fight for the division and form a path to another conference final. It’s that easy, depending on offseason changes.

Playoffs A Reminder Health Isn’t Only Factor For Success

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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)
  • Edmonton 4.25
  • Minnesota 3.25 (2 ENG)
  • St. Louis 3.00 (1 ENG)
  • Dallas 2.00 (2 ENG)
  • Nashville 2.00
  • LA 2.50 (1 ENG)
  • Calgary 1.0

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.

Vegas Needs Consistency To Manage Challenging Schedule

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Overall, it wasn’t a great weekend for the Golden Knights. They were unable to secure more than three points on their three-game road trip. The Kings, Predators, and Stars all won games as well. Time is running out. So, after an unrewarding weekend the Golden Knights need to quickly find consistency in their game and will need a little luck along the way as well.

Let’s start off positive. The Golden Knights play the 26-42-7 New Jersey Devils tonight at home. NHL computer models predict Vegas will defeat New Jersey fairly easily, so tack on two points to their total. That places them with 89 points, one point behind LA, and two behind Dallas and Nashville. With five games left that keeps Vegas in the hunt. At this late stage of the season that’s all you can really ask for.

We knew we weren’t going to run the table. We talked about that two weeks ago. We were going to drop some points along the way. We’re still right in the thick of things. -Pete DeBoer

After tonight’s game against the Devils, the Golden Knights schedule becomes more demanding. On paper, Vegas has the lineup to win out. Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty’s legs and lungs are building back to form. Thinking optimistically, if they contribute in all remaining games the Golden Knights can win most, if not all.

We’ve got to find a way to score goals in these tough games. In tight, especially. Teams are going to really tighten up in the D-zone here moving forward so we’ve got to find a way to bear down up front. -Alex Pietrangelo

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 LOS ANGELES KINGS 1 (34-26-4 72 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights came out strong against the Kings at T-Mobile Arena. Late in the period Evgenii Dadonov gave Vegas the first lead of the game with his 15th of the season. 

Just :39 seconds into the middle frame Chandler Stephenson doubled VGK’s lead 2-0. LA got within one mid-way through the period but Vegas responded five minutes later. Mattias Janmark regained the Golden Knights two goal lead with a shorthanded goal. After 40 minutes Vegas held a 3-1 advantage. 

The Kings had several chances heavily outshooting the Golden Knights in the final period. Logan Thompson was strong in net to preserve Vegas’ lead. Alex Pietrangelo and Michael Amadio sealed the game with two late period goals. The Golden Knights win back-to-back games for the first time since March 6th.

The Golden Knights improve their record to 34-26-4 dropping the Kings 3-1. Vegas will try and make it a three game winning streak on Monday in Minnesota. Puck drop against the Wild is set for 5P PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: For the second straight game the Golden Knights looked like the Golden Knights, but in different ways each night. In this one, they were stellar through the neutral zone and made life very difficult on the Kings the whole night. Penalty killing was a massive story as well with the Golden Knights killing off three while adding a shorty. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena.

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LOS ANGELES KINGS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (28-18-4 60 PTS) – OT

Recap: The Golden Knights looked to end their losing streak by hosting the LA Kings for their third of four matchups this season. Vegas’ offense started off hot scoring two goals in the 1st period. Top forwards Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith gave the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead. LA cut the lead in half late in the period trailing Vegas by one in the opening frame.

The Kings evened the score :30 into the 2nd period with a power play goal. Pacioretty regained Vegas’ lead adding his second of the night. LA tied the game 3-3 late in the period and took the momentum into the 2nd intermission.

Both teams played conservatively and defensively in the final period. Neither team allowed any quality opportunities and the game needed an overtime period to decide a winner. LA took the two points with a beautiful passing sequence for the game winning goal.

The Golden Knights record drops to 28-18-4 falling to the Kings in overtime. Vegas hits the road for the next two games beginning in San Jose on Sunday evening. Puck drop is set for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights had a strong game in the offensive zone but they struggled to get there and stay there with any consistency. They took advantage of their chances when they did though. A few transition chances and a power play goal let the Kings back in it. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 LOS ANGELES KINGS 3 (21-12-0 42 PTS)

Recap: The opening 20 minutes in Los Angeles were wild. Both clubs looked sluggish to start but around the midway point of the period the game opened up. First Reilly Smith gave Vegas a 1-0 lead on the power play and Keegan Kolesar tipped in another :26 seconds later. LA immediately answered to cut the lead in half but Jonathan Marchessault regained Vegas’ two goal lead moments later. Altogether, the two teams combined for 4 goals in 1:16.

Vegas continued to pressure LA in the second period scoring twice to take a 5-1 advantage. LA would earn one back with a shorthanded goal to pull within three.

The Golden Knights took a 6-2 lead after Marchessault’s second goal of the game and 16th of the season. LA inched closer but never threatened Vegas’ advantage.

The Golden Knights record improves to 21-12-0 defeating the Kings 6-3 in LA. Vegas returns home for a six-game homestand beginning on Friday. The Golden Knights and Ducks will face off on New Year’s Eve. Puck drop is set for Noon. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The game was messy for about the first five minutes. Then the Golden Knight started scoring and never stopped. It wasn’t exactly the best hockey game in the world, but the Golden Knights were much better than the Kings. Like much much much better. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings game at Crypto.com Arena.

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VGK’s Head-To-Head Dominance Over Pacific Division Slipping

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the Golden Knights entered the NHL they’ve done nothing but dominate the Pacific Division.

Not just in the overall standings, in which the Golden Knights have won the division two of the three years they’ve competed in it, but also in the postseason where Vegas has been the last team standing three of the four playoff seasons.

One of the main reasons for this dominance has been the head-to-head play between the teams. Of the six teams still in the division (Arizona left for the Central), the Golden Knights had a combined record of 68-21-8 record coming into this season. That’s 144 points in just 97 games or a points percentage of .742. Against all other teams, VGK have earned 226 points in 194 games for a points percentage of .583.

Literally almost 40% of the points the Golden Knights have earned in franchise history have come on the backs of just six teams. But this year it hasn’t gone as well.

Record against ANA, CGY, EDM, LAK, SJS, and VAN
21-22: 2-4-0 (.333)
20-21: 21-3-0 (.875)
19-20: 13-5-2  (.700)
18-19: 18-8-3 (.672)
17-18: 16-5-3 (.729)

The Golden Knights have won just two games against Pacific Division opponents not named Seattle while dropping four. They’ve lost both division games they’ve played on the road (at LAK, at ANA) and have allowed their opponent to grab at least a point in every game but one, a game they trailed 2-0 six minutes in (vs VAN).

Winning in the division has been a staple for the Golden Knights’ success and one has to wonder what their overall record will look like if they are not amassing huge point totals against the Pacific Division.

Obviously, Seattle has helped as Vegas has beaten them twice in two tries, both in regulation. However, those games were both at T-Mobile Arena and the Kraken appear to be improving as the season progresses. The next two matchups in late March and early April may not be as easy.

There are still 18 games left against division opponents. Including Seattle, the Golden Knights have recorded eight points in the first eight games. To reach their normal pace against the division (.742), they’d need to go 15-2-1.

Making that even trickier, 10 of the 18 games are on the road, including a pair in Edmonton and Calgary who are in 1st and 2nd in the division.

Adding this all up, the fact of the matter is, the Golden Knights are going to need to play much better out of division than they ever have before to reach the playoffs.

There’s no better time than now to start that as nine of the next 10 games are out of the division.

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