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NEW JERSEY DEVILS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (41-31-5 87 PTS)

Recap: The visiting Devils picked up the first goal of the game seven minutes into the game. The Golden Knights had several chances but couldn’t connect on the game tying goal. 

Most of the second period was back and forth. The Golden Knights registered 16 shots on net and we’re rewarded late in the frame. Keegan Kolesar evened the score with his seventh goal of the season. The game was locked in a 1-1 tie after 40 minutes. 

The Devils shocked the hometown fans by stretching their lead to 3-1 in the final frame. Vegas fought back and got within one late in the game. However, they couldn’t tie the game and lost a heartbreaker 3-2 at home. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 41-31-5 falling 3-2 at home to the Devils. Vegas failed to pick up two points and are in danger of running out of time. The Golden Knights get a chance to bounce back against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. Puck drop for a must-win game is set for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: In a game the Golden Knights absolutely could not lose, they failed to convert on the numerous chances they had, and the goalie allowed multiple terrible goals. A miserable result that likely dooms a season that will be probably remembered as miserable.  (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. New Jersey Devils at T-Mobile Arena.

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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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Islanders’ Barry Trotz On VGK: “They’re Legit”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was the perfect road trip for the Golden Knights last week along the Eastern Seaboard. Winning in Boston, New Jersey, and two in New York sent a loud message across the league. Vegas’ four-game sweep had some hiccups but collecting eight points was all that mattered. Three of their opponents were openly impressed by how the Golden Knights found ways to win.

They’re a legit, deep, big, fast, well-coached hockey team. A good sign for us. We measured up against a pretty good hockey team. -Barry Trotz, NYI coach

The Cup-winning coach knows Vegas well, and has had some success against them. We’re all aware of Trotz and the Capitals eliminating the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals but the results have been different in the regular season.

Outside of the postseason the current New York Islanders coach is 2-5-1 against Vegas. However, most games were tight and Trotz’ players were always prepared.

We played composed, we played with some urgency when we were down a goal to come back like this against a team like Vegas that keeps pressing. I thought we did a really good job tonight to come back and get the lead. It’s unfortunate to give up a goal at the end like this and lose that point. -Jean-Gabriel Pageau, NYI forward

The Islanders forced the Golden Knights into a hard-fought 60 minutes. Vegas’ skill and speed stood out to the Islanders, and specifically some of their quicker players.

You watch [Stephenson] play now, there’s no governor and he realizes it. He’s got himself to the next level. And he’s a good player. -Trotz

Vegas was sharp for several periods in New York and were hampered in others, but it never cost them in the end. Against the Rangers, the Golden Knights were completely in control of the game after the opening 20 minutes, but the remaining 40 were challenging.

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VGK’s Eastern Conference Invasion

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s been an up and down ride for the Golden Knights in games against Eastern Conference teams. In fact, their record was 4-5-0 against Atlantic and Metropolitan clubs before this road trip began. After their shootout win in New York the traveling Golden Knights have a chance to sweep their annual pre-holiday road trip on Sunday.

In nine periods, Vegas scored 12 total goals and trailed for just a combined 25 minutes. The Golden Knights got off to a fast start in Boston, essentially sealing their victory after the first 20 minutes. Sure, Boston was hampered with several key players out after testing positive for COVID. However, Vegas took advantage of a team in disarray and left the Bay State with two points. There were times Vegas looked disjointed in New Jersey and the final score reflected their messy 5-3 finish. Even coach Pete DeBoer knew the process was ugly but he only cared about the two points his club picked up.

We did just enough to win. We take the two points and move on. I liked our 1st period, hated our 2nd, and we were opportunistic in the 3rd. -Pete DeBoer

Give the Devils credit for making a late push but the Golden Knights got caught trying to close out a road game too early. Eventually, the visiting team came out on top and took care of business. Which is the only goal on non-conference trips. Pick up two, and pack your bags.

It wasn’t clean but it was another character win for the Golden Knights in New York. The Rangers opened the door by laying back which allowed an opening for Dylan Coghlan’s game tying goal. Vegas beat an emotional, highly talented team for their seventh come from behind or late game triumph.

When you step out there you definitely don’t want to lose to them. They chirp on the bench. You got to play them physical and frustrate them in all three zones. -Ryan Reaves, NYR forward

Thankfully for Golden Knights fans Reaves’ new team couldn’t frustrate the Golden Knights enough.

Earlier in the season Vegas struggled with foreign opponents and now they’re on track to beat four of them in their own territories. It’s safe to say the Golden Knights are making a league wide statement on this trip. Not only is Vegas healthier but their determination, force, and urgency are beginning to remind NHL teams why they’re regarded as a deep threat. And they’re an Alec Martinez and Jack Eichel away from a full (sort of) lineup.

Okay, so they’re not the Beatles and they didn’t fly across the pond, but storming the Northeast like Vegas has should qualify as an invasion.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 NEW JERSEY DEVILS 3 (18-11-0 36 PTS)

Recap: The Devils took the first lead 1:41 into the game but Vegas would respond later in the opening period. Defenseman Dylan Coghlan ripped a shot on the power play from below the blue line to tie the game 1-1. 

Vegas took control of the game in the second period receiving a tie breaking deflection off the stick of William Carrier. The Devils outshot the Golden Knights 15-7 in the middle frame but still trailed 2-1 heading into the second intermission. 

William Karlsson and Nic Roy extended Vegas’ lead to 4-1 in the first eight minutes of the final frame but New Jersey scratched back. Former Golden Knight Tomas Tatar cut the lead in half and minutes later the home team scored again to threaten Vegas’ 4-3 lead. The Golden Knights settled down and regained their two goal lead with an empty net goal from Jonathan Marchessault. 

The Golden Knights record improves to 18-11-0 after defeating the Devils 5-3. Vegas’ road trip continues tomorrow for an emotional matchup against former coach Gerard Gallant’s NY Rangers. Puck drop against the Rangers is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Vegas conceded first, but they controlled the game for the majority of the first half of it. Holding on to a one-goal lead they let the Devils grow into the game, but the transition game came through twice in a hurry to basically put the game out of reach… even if they came back and made it close. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. New Jersey Devils game at Prudential Center.

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Can Vegas Find A Friend in New Jersey?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights are opposites in every which way. They both play on different coasts, the Golden Knights are built to win right now, and the Devils are way under the cap. However, the Devils are a team that may end up being one of the busiest clubs of the offseason. Sure, they’re interested in building a roster and spending money on the open market but 31 other teams might bring it directly to them. Including the Golden Knights.

We’ve talked about the Vegas goaltending and I think Lehner is the guy they’re kind of looking at. Fleury’s got one more year, who knows what he’s going to be looking at in a year. Lehner’s got some term. That one makes a bit of sense for me for Jersey. –Elliotte Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

Based on consistent comments by the organization it’s unlikely Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner gets dealt but it’s interesting to hear that there is a market.

I do think they legitimately want to improve. I don’t think for them this is simply going to be about eating deals to help out other teams. I think they want functionality. –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

The Devils like their young goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood but by no means are they solidified in net. Clearly, if New Jersey traded for the Golden Knights secondary starter it would be a major upgrade. So what would Vegas get out of the deal?

With $31.5M in cap room the Devils are in a position to act like an old chum to financially strapped teams. As Friedman explains New Jersey wants to get better but is willing to take advantage of cap-strapped teams looking for a bailout.

Would it hurt the Golden Knights organization if they were to pay a high tax (picks, prospects) to unload $5M in flexibility? Of course, but it depends on what the end result is. Without Lehner the goalie tandem wouldn’t be the best in the NHL, but one of the best teams in the NHL became $5M more dangerous in the playoffs. With a creative front office like the Golden Knights have, anything is possible with that amount of cap room.

The definite feeling about the Golden Knights is they want to open up some cap room. The Devils can do that, they can take advantage of that. I don’t think it’s simply going to be ‘Hey, we’re going to use our cap space to help other people get out of theirs.’ I think it’s ‘Hey, we’re going to use our cap space and if you want us to take some one you may have to pay us.’ –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

The Devils aren’t just useful to the Golden Knights by helping them unload a goaltender but they could take on other contracts as well. It just depends on how badly Vegas wants to shed salary and get out of cap stress.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 NEW JERSEY DEVILS 0 (37-23-8 82 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the New Jersey for a midweek, non-conference matchup. The game got off to a slow start but Vegas began to get going on a late period power play. They wouldn’t convert but the Golden Knights had control heading into the first intermission. After the opening 20 minutes the game was scoreless.

Max Pacioretty gave Vegas the 1-0 lead :45 seconds into the 2nd period. Robin Lehner continued to stop every shot on net by the Devils. New Jersey had two power play opportunities but Vegas’ new goaltender kept the visiting team scoreless through two.

Leading 1-0, the Golden Knights gave themselves some cushioning :37 into the 3rd period. William Karlsson played catch and shoot with Nic Roy giving Vegas a 2-0 edge. Ryan Reaves added his 8th goal of the season eight minutes later to give the Golden Knights a three goal advantage. Vegas finished off the Devils 3-0 earning his first shutout as a Golden Knights.

Vegas’ record improves to 37-23-8 and remain in first place with 82 points. The team goes on a five game road trip starting off in Winnipeg on Friday night. Game time is scheduled for 5P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The 1st period was one of fairly little action but a few high-danger chances that were thwarted by excellent periods by the goalies. Then, Pacioretty’s laser opened the scoring and the Golden Knights were off and running. They controlled the rest of the game and kept the Devils chances to a minimum. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs New Jersey Devils at T-Mobile Arena

  • DeBoer and goalies in the playoffs

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nic Roy
** Chandler Stephenson
* Robin Lehner

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 NEW JERSEY DEVILS 3 (15-11-4 34 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights took on the New Jersey Devils on a back to back, and with a new player in their lineup. Vegas would be forced to stop and block a barrage of New Jersey shots in the 1st period. The Devils would take advantage of a poor line change by the Golden Knights and take the 1-0 lead.

The newest Golden Knight would get Vegas right back in the game early in the 2nd period. Chandler Stephenson scored his 4th of the season and his 1st as a Golden Knight tying the game 1-1. The Devils would regain the lead later in the period giving his team a 2-1 edge.

Jonathan Marchessault took over the game himself and scored a third period hat trick, giving his team the lead 4-3. Vegas fought off a 6-on-5 empty net situation and picked up their second win on the road trip.

Vegas’ record improves to 15-11-4 and extend their winning streak to four games. The Golden Knights will finish off their road trip on Thursday against the New York Islanders. Game time is scheduled for 4PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A far from perfect effort from Golden Knights was good enough to beat the lowly Devils. Vegas came out flat in the first period and couldn’t establish much of any offense. Defensively they hung in there despite allowing 17 shots. As the game went on they got better and better with the best performance of the season from Jonathan Marchessault. Subban played well in his fifth straight game and the new guy Chandler Stephenson was solid for his debut. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center

  • VGK December dominance

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Chandler Stephenson
** Alex Tuch
* Jonathan Marchessault

 

Carp: Knights Will Be Tested On Big Apple Road Trip

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2019-20 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

NEW YORK — When the NHL schedule came out last July and the Golden Knights were on the docket for three games in the New York metropolitan area, two things jumped out at me:

One, the Knights were going to have to go to Long Island for the first time when they played the Islanders on Dec. 5 after playing in Brooklyn the first two seasons.

Two, this was a trip I wanted to try and make.

Second things first. I’m here amid the cold, the rain and the snow for the entire week. And yes, the game at Nassau Coliseum Thursday became the toughest of the three, which you couldn’t say was the case back in July.

My initial thought was the Devils game Tuesday in Newark would be the toughest for Vegas. New Jersey had significantly upgraded its roster. It had the No. 1 overall draft pick in Jack Hughes. Hell, the Devs even snagged Nikita Gusev from the Knights and there was a lot of hand-wringing among the SinBinners that Gusev was going to emerge as a superstar in Jersey and replace Filip Forsberg as George McPhee’s biggest gaffe as a hockey executive.

The Rangers? They’re on a youth kick, though veteran center Mika Zibanejad has had some nice games against the Knights. Still, the Knights had won in Madison Square Garden before and they figured to put enough offensive pressure against the Blueshirts’ defense corps and get a couple pucks past Henrik Lundqvist (if he plays), or more likely Alexandar Georgiev. Plus a matchup between the pipes of The King vs. Marc-Andre Fleury, both of who are headed to the Hall of Fame, would be worth the flight to the Big Apple.

As for the Islanders, I thought they would regress after last year’s amazing turnaround, especially losing goalie Robin Lehner, who was nothing short of outstanding. Of the three games, I thought this would be the best chance for the Knights to pick up two points on the trip.

That was my thought process back in July. Obviously, things have unfolded quite a bit differently since to change my mind.

The Devils may be the NHL’s biggest disappointment. The Rangers are inconsistent and despite having a winning record, struggle to finish games.

The Islanders? They figure to be the toughest opponent on the Knights’ three-game roadie which begins Monday at Madison Square Garden with the Rangers and continues Tuesday in Newark against the Devils. And not just because they’re currently the best of the three teams the Knights will face, their building is a bitch to play in.

Mat Barzal, the Isles’ all-star center, said while the team has had success both in Brooklyn and at the Coliseum, he admits the vibe is a little different at the place Islander fans call “Fort Neverlose.”

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Nikita Gusev Traded To The New Jersey Devils For Future Draft Picks

Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee announced today, July 29, that the Golden Knights have acquired a third round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and a second round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Nikita Gusev.

We did our best to accommodate Nikita and his salary request but were unable to do so. He is a good person, a good player and we wish him well in New Jersey -George McPhee

When you have a roster comprised of players who are deserving of a certain salary range you are not always able to make room for everyone. This is the reality of having a good team in the salary cap world. After this trade, we now own nine picks in the first three rounds of the next two drafts. These picks will help boost our organizational depth and add to our pool of prospects. Although we were not able to make this work I am really happy with where we are at with our roster. -McPhee

Gusev was signed by the Golden Knights to a one-year, entry level contract on April 14, 2019. The team acquired Gusev’s rights during the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round (202nd overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

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