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Recap: The Golden Knights and LA Kings met up for the final time this season in an important divisional matchup. After a goal was taken back from LA, the home team took the lead seconds later. After Phil Kessel gave VGK a 1-0 advantage, a minute later Ivan Barbashev doubled the lead. Chandler Stephenson took advantage of a collision in front of LA’s net and made it 3-0 Golden Knights. On an ensuing power play, Nic Roy scored his 14th to open up a commanding four-goal lead.

Vegas added to their lead 1:02 into the middle frame. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 27th goal of the season by roofing the puck into LA’s net. The Kings drew a penalty towards the end of the period which they took advantage of. Three minutes later the Kings stunned the Golden Knights with a shorthanded goal. After 40 minutes the Golden Knights possessed a 5-2 lead.

The game tightened up in the 3rd period as Vegas protected their three-goal advantage. The Golden Knights skated out the period and held onto a 5-2 lead in an impressive divisional victory.

The Golden Knights’ record improves to 49-22-8 defeating the Kings 5-2. The Golden Knights will fly to Dallas for one game on Saturday afternoon. Puck drop against the Stars is scheduled for 12:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights came out and laid a smackdown on the Kings in the first 12 minutes of the game. They forced the Kings to turn the puck over and took advantage of a wide-open neutral zone to build a quick 3-0 lead. Then, the Kings resorted to loser hockey and Vegas started to stretch the lead. There was some pushback, but nothing concerning from a VGK standpoint. (Analysis by Ken)

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

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Jonathan Quick Won’t Give Sound Bites Motivating Former Team Or Other Contenders

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Although it may have looked strange, goaltender Jonathan Quick suited up in his golden armor for the first time last night.

Quick was on the bench backing up Adin Hill looking surprisingly comfortable in another Pacific Division’s team hat and jersey. The lifetime LA King is now a member of the team he lost to in the 2018 playoffs and is prepared to make a run with his new team in 2023.

I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I’m coming into a locker room where I’ve played with seven or eight of these guys. The comfort level is there right away. I’m just looking forward to helping this team, win some hockey games. I don’t want to give sound bites. I am excited for this opportunity. It’s a great organization, it’s a great group of guys that I’m looking forward to working with them. I’m looking forward to helping them win this division and make a big run in the playoffs. –Jonathan Quick on ESPN’s The Point

Not only was the trade from LA to Columbus to Las Vegas a shock to the 37-year-old netminder but to many across the league. Kings’ leaders Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar expressed a range of emotions to the media after their backstop and dear friend was replaced with Joonas Korpisalo.

The last two days affected us a lot. It was really sad and unexpected. It sucks seeing one of your best friends of your life leave. I expected to play with him for the rest of my career. It’s hockey, it’s business and sometimes things happen that you’re not going to like. -Drew Doughty, LAK defenseman

Captain Anze Kopitar echoed Doughty’s comments.

It’s a very hard day. It was unexpected and sad. I was thinking that Quickie was a King for life, and we’d be playing with him for the rest our careers, Bottom line is we have to deal with and look to the road ahead.  -Anze Kopitar, LAK center

Even former Kings player and TV analyst Jim Fox had a hard time describing the scene after the deal was announced to the team.

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Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the LA Kings for a divisional battle between the two teams with the most points in the Pacific. LA scored the opening goal of the game late in the opening 20 minutes. Both teams had power play opportunities, but the Kings fought off Vegas’ man-advantage and held on to a 1-0 edge going into the 1st intermission.

Leading 1-0, the Kings offense continued to heat up in the middle period. LA picked up a shorthanded goal midway through the frame and extended their lead to 3-0 seven minutes later.

Vegas’ offense continued to slump in the 3rd period. The Golden Knights generated a handful of quality chances but couldn’t take advantage of any of them. LA added a fourth goal and an empty netter in the last twenty 20 to seal the game for the visiting team. VGK did get one late to continue the streak of not being shutout this season.

The Golden Knights’ record drops to 27-13-2 losing to the Kings 5-1. Vegas will have a few days off to rest and prepare for the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: VGK just did not play well at all in this game. It really materialized most in the neutral zone where the Golden Knights couldn’t seem to find any success on their entries and struggled to make life tough on the Kings. As that continued, Vegas started to lose puck battles and then the goaltending fell apart. Just an all around terrible game. (Analysis by Ken)

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

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Recap: Fresh off their Christmas break the Golden Knights traveled to LA for a battle against the Kings. LA got on the board first but Vegas quickly responded on the ensuing power play. After 20 minutes the game was locked in a 1-1 tie.

Brayden McNabb broke the tie in the 2nd period, registering his first goal of 2022-23. The Kings later evened the score, taking a 2-2 game into the second intermission. 

LA took the lead midway through the final period and was able to fend off any real threat from Vegas. The Kings later sealed the game with a late period empty net goal. 

The Golden Knights’ record drops to 24-12-1 losing 4-2 in LA. Vegas will play the Ducks tomorrow night for the second game of their Southern California back-to-back trip. Puck drop against the last place Ducks is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights played a fairly decent game despite being down a ton of regular players. It really just came down to mistakes, which VGK made a few more of than the Kings. It may have been the best game of the year for the Rondbjerg, Leschyshyn, Dorofeyev line, but they didn’t score. Pachal was solid too. Big guys didn’t score, and when they don’t VGK don’t often win. (Analysis by Ken)

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

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Vegas Needs To Finish The Year Strong Before The Heat Turns On In 2023

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night Vegas missed out on a golden opportunity to stash away more money in the bank before their busy season begins. So what, they lost to Buffalo. It’s only one game and a win tomorrow would keep Vegas on pace to cross the 50-point mark by year-end. We’ll get into January later, but for right now the Golden Knights have four more games to focus on in 2022.

Starting tomorrow night, the Golden Knights are set to play statistically some of the league’s worst defenses and offenses. Putting it lightly, the remaining schedule is as soft as Santa’s beard.

VGK’s Remaining 2022 Schedule

  • Weds, 12/21: vs. Arizona (10-15-5, 25 Pts)
    81 Goals Scored – 28th
    106 Goals Allowed – 22nd
    .414 Points % – 28th
  • Fri, 12/23: vs St. Louis (16-15-1, 32 Pts)
    92 Goals Scored – 22nd
    113 Goals Allowed – 26th
    68% Penalty Kill – 30th
  • Tues, 12/21: at Los Angeles (17-12-5, 39 Pts)
    109 Goals Scored – 6th
    122 Goals Allowed – 31st
    70.9% Penalty Kill – 28th
  • Weds, 12/22: at Anaheim (9-20-3, 21 Pts)
    77 Goals Scored – 29th
    133 Goals Allowed – 32nd
    3 Regulation Wins – 32nd

Some would argue that St. Louis and LA aren’t walkovers and they tend to get up for games against Vegas. However, both are struggling to keep the puck out of their own nets and have two of the worst penalty kill units in the league. The Golden Knights will likely attack the net knowing there are holes in each team’s defense. If it plays out, Vegas should be in a position to expose weaknesses in LA & St. Louis’ special teams. Both clubs are manageable but it won’t be as easy as the Golden Knights other two opponents.

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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: 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: 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.

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