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

(Photo Credit: 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 Flying Home Happy, But Still Not Satisfied

It’s December and once again the Golden Knights are red hot. They’re coming home from a four-game road trip with eight points in hand, wins in eight of the last nine, and the top spot in the Pacific Divison.

Here’s the crazy part… they still aren’t playing close to as well as they can, and they know it.

It was a big road trip. We got some lucky bounces. We didn’t necessarily play our best games the past few games, but tonight I thought we played pretty well. It was probably tonight and that game in Boston that were our best two games of the trip. -Jonathan Marchessault

The Golden Knights used 3rd period comebacks to rescue both games against the teams from New York and then won each game in shootout. They struggled in the 2nd period in each of the games, fighting turnover problems which led to much less puck possession than they prefer.

However, the resilience of this group continues to shine through.

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Recap: The Golden Knights took the first lead of the game on Jonathan Marchessault’s 14th goal of the season. The Islanders responded with one of their own to even the score in the 1st period. 

The game tightened defensively and both goaltenders made some key stops holding the 1-1 lock after 40 minutes. 

Early in the final frame Shea Theodore broke the tie with a power play goal from the blue line. Later in the period the Islanders took advantage of a Golden Knights turnover to tie the game 2-2. New York scored the go ahead goal with under three minutes to go ahead 3-2 but Theodore wasn’t through yet. The Golden Knights defenseman lined up another shot by the Islanders goaltender to send the game to overtime. Theodore and Nic Roy clinched the game in shootouts 4-3.

The Golden Knights record improves to 20-11-0 sweeping their four game road trip. Vegas next plays on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning at T-Mobile Arena. Puck drop against the Islanders is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers plagued the Golden Knights and led to them fighting to stay in the game the entire afternoon. However, they got enough goaltending, a bit of luck on an offside challenge, and a couple of bombs from Theodore in the high slot to drag the game to OT. Lehner wins another shootout and maybe that narrative needs to start shifting. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. New York Islanders game at UBS Arena.

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VGK’s Eastern Conference Invasion

(Photo Credit: 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 Catching Up With The Eastern Conference

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After defeating the Detroit Red Wings last night, Vegas clawed back to one game under .500 against Eastern Conference teams this season. The Golden Knights received three goals from defensemen, one from veteran Reilly Smith and rookie Paul Cotter added another. Whatever coach Pete DeBoer drew up before the game, it couldn’t have worked out any better than their well-rounded 5-2 result. It hasn’t gone as smoothly against other teams from the East.

On Tuesday, the Golden Knights faced a much more complete team and lost by two at home. Carolina is one of the NHL’s best overall clubs, and happen to be much healthier than Vegas. The Hurricanes high end forwards and mobile defense troubled the Golden Knights. Star forward Sebastian Aho shot seven times, registering 2 points and the Canes took 14 shots from defensemen. Carolina boasts 3.5 goals per game and like Vegas receive a good percentage of their offense from their blue line. Injuries aside, both rosters are among the elite and would make for an entertaining final.

The NY Islanders were another Eastern Conference team Vegas struggled with, losing 2-0 at T-Mobile Arena in late October. New York played defensively, waited out mistakes, forcing Vegas into bad shots and one and out opportunities. The Golden Knights fell into the Islanders trap and outshot New York two to one, but were out scored 2-0. Games against New York are consistently uneventful and Vegas will need patience and quality shooting to win a tight, low scoring contest. Unfortunately, the Golden Knights fell in similar fashions in back-to-back semifinals, so there’s plenty to learn from an Islanders loss.

At times in an NHL season it’s pick your poison night; a slow frustrating game or an exhaustive track meet. Earlier this month, Vegas traveled and lost by four in Toronto. The loss wasn’t the problem, the concern was the Golden Knights getting blanked 4-0. We’re all aware of Toronto’s weak defense and goaltending of the past, so at full strength Vegas should capitalize.

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Recap: Vegas needed a strong start to break their three-game skid but the Islanders began the scoring early on. Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner made some timely saves and held the one goal New York advantage after the opening twenty minutes.

The middle period was back and forth with both teams trading chances. Both goalies were flawless preserving a one goal game heading into the second intermission.

Lehner continued to shine in net frustrating the Islanders in the third period. However, Vegas’ defense created a costly turnover which New York cashed in on. The Golden Knights couldn’t get anything going offensively for the third straight period and lose their fourth game in a row.

The Golden Knights record drops to 1-4-0 after losing 2-0 to the Islanders. Vegas hits the road for the next two games beginning on Tuesday in Colorado. Puck drop against the Avalanche is scheduled for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Vegas conceded early to a team that is not fun to play from behind against. They created plenty of chances, but the age-old story of not finishing them continues for the Golden Knights. Now, it’s a quick road trip against two tricky teams in Colorado and Dallas. They have to find someone who can finish chances, otherwise 1-6-0 could be on the horizon. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. New York Islanders game at T-Mobile Arena.

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Recap: The Golden Knights were looking for their first back-to-back wins at home since January 4th. The game began with a heavy weight battle seconds after the puck was dropped. Ryan Reaves and Ross Johnston matched up and threw a bevy of punches. Both were sent to the penalty box for five minutes. Ten minutes later, Nick Holden and Anders Lee squared off earning five minute majors of their own. After 20 minutes the game was a scoreless tie.

The 2nd period was less physical, but again strong defensively for both teams. Reilly Smith opened up the scoring with :34 seconds left in the period. It gave Vegas a 1-0 lead with one period remaining.

Vegas continued to offensively attack New York in the 3rd period. The Golden Knights did a great job limiting the Islanders to 3 shots on net in the first 15 minutes of the 20 minutes. Marc-Andre Fleury secured the 1-0 shutout by saving all 19 shots by New York.

Vegas’ record improves to 30-22-8 and raise their point total to 68 points. The team will hit the ice next on Monday afternoon against the Washington Capitals. Puck drop is scheduled for 3P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: This one is all about the Golden Knights defensive effort. They stymied the Isles time and time again in the neutral and defensive zones and it allowed the offense to get to work and finally beat a great goaltending performance from Varlamov. It was the cleanest defensive game the Golden Knights have put in under DeBoer and Marc-Andre Fleury rewarded them by posting just the second home shutout of the season. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs New York Islanders at T-Mobile Arena

  • Carp’s Sunday column on the 1980 Miracle team celebrating their 40th anniversary at T-Mobile Arena

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Shea Theodore
** William Karlsson
* Marc-Andre Fleury



Recap: Malcolm Subban got his fourth straight start in net for Vegas, hoping to help his team sweep their three game road trip. Subban and the Golden Knights did a great job of keeping the Islanders off the board in the 1st period. Both teams went scoreless after the first period.

The Islanders opened up the scoring in the 2nd period on an odd-man rush resulting in a 1-0 NY lead. Vegas would fight back, picking up the pressure in the Islanders zone. Alex Tuch tied the game scoring his third goal of the road trip. The second period ended 1-1.

New York would break the tie early in the period and take the lead 2-1. The Islanders locked down defensively for most of the 3rd period but Vegas didn’t give up. With under five minutes remaining in the game, Jonathan Marchessault tied the game 2-2 adding his fourth goal in his last two games. The Golden Knights hard work forced an overtime period.

The Islanders offense forced a late overtime 4-on-3 power play. Seconds later NY would beat Subban and take the game 3-2.

Vegas’ record drops to 15-11-5 snapping their four-game win streak. However, they finish their road trip picking up solid 5 out 6 points. The team will travel back to Vegas for a quick two-game homestand. Vegas will host the NY Rangers on Sunday. Game time is scheduled for 4PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights kind of fed into what the Islanders wanted to do playing them to a defensive struggle. New York was certainly the better team but Vegas did well enough in their own zone to limit dangerous chances and take advantage of a few the other way. Overtime remains a struggle where this time they not only struggled with possession, but also took a penalty.  (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

  • The 3rd line is good, should be here to stay.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Alex Tuch
** Nate Schmidt
* Cody Glass

Carp: Knights Will Be Tested On Big Apple Road Trip

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to 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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Golden Knights vs. New York Islanders Photo Gallery – December 20th, 2018

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