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Vegas Catching Up With The Eastern Conference

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas 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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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 OTTAWA SENATORS 1 (5-5-0 10 PTS)

Recap:  It was a busy day for the Golden Knights in Ottawa, announcing the franchise-changing acquisition of center Jack Eichel followed up by a date with Senators.

Robin Lehner shut down several rushes in the opening period to keep the game scoreless. The Golden Knights offense woke up in the 2nd period scoring three times against the Senators. Ottawa would get one back but Vegas held a 3-1 advantage after 40 minutes.

The Golden Knights struggled again to score on the power play but defenseman Alex Pietrangelo stretched Vegas’ lead, wristing in his first of the season. Jonathan Marchessault iced the game late in the period with his second of the game.

The Golden Knights record improves to 5-5-0 after their commanding 5-1 victory in Ottawa. Vegas will travel to Montreal for a meeting with the Canadiens on Saturday. Puck drop in Montreal is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It was a fairly even game for the first two periods, but a wacky bounce and a couple defensive breakdowns helped Vegas get some much-needed scoring. Then, in the 3rd, we finally saw the defensive effort we’ve grown used to in the Pete DeBoer era. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Ottawa Senators game at Canadian Tire Centre.

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San Jose An Example How To Turn Around Canadian Road Trip

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was a tough start to their four-game road trip. Travel, time zone change and adding insult to several injuries, the Golden Knights were forced to cover Austin Matthews and Mitch Marner without another impact player. The Maple Leafs’ high-end talent took advantage of a beaten up Golden Knights lineup and eventually cruised to a 4-0 victory.

Their best players were on tonight. It was one of those nights, and with the lineup we’ve got right now, we’re going to have to red line every night in all areas in order to compete, especially against good teams, and that’s a real good team. -Pete DeBoer

Sure, the odds were stacked against Vegas but it was all but over after the second goal of the game. The Leafs are an excellent 35-2-3 when Marner and Matthews score in the same game, so it would have been nearly impossible for even a healthy Golden Knights roster to win under those conditions.

The focus now shifts to how the road trip finishes.

Big ask tonight when you look at what we’re dealing with. I think our effort actually wasn’t an issue. I thought we didn’t execute against a team that puts a lot of heat on you, and they put a lot of pressure on us in tough areas. -DeBoer

This season the Golden Knights are 2-2-0 on the road with three upcoming games to improve their record. Stealing 4-6 points over the next three games would send Vegas back home with their heads held high.

A couple of weeks back Pacific rival San Jose Sharks swept their trip to Eastern Canadian. Unlike Vegas, San Jose’s first matchup began in Montreal and ended in Toronto. Against the Canadiens, the Sharks scored two in the first four minutes to ignite a 5-0 victory. Montreal was/is reeling and San Jose pounced on them in several different ways. The Golden Knights have enough weapons in their current lineup to win in a similar fashion.

The Sharks received two goals from rookie Jonathan Dahlen, one from defenseman Erik Karlsson and two on the power play. Between Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez and Nic Hague, the Golden Knights have plenty of options from the blue line. Without piling on, Vegas can’t rely on their power play but they may have enough offense to win a low-scoring affair. Now would be the time for 20-year-old Peyton Krebs to start contributing and registering points. The 2019 1st rounder is young and learning on the fly but he’s pointless through nine games this season and has just 10 shots. Vegas could really use his offensive skill as one goal could change their road trip. No matter who’s in the lineup, there should be plenty of motivation to squash the Canadiens after last season’s six-game semifinal defeat.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 OTTAWA SENATORS 2 (25-19-6 56 PTS)

Recap: The Pete DeBoer era got off to an incredibly quick start in Ottawa. Paul Stastny gave the new coach his first lead :24 seconds into the game. Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall in the opening period stopping all 10 of the Senators shot.

The 2nd period featured a couple of dangerous chances for both teams but goaltending and team defense kept it scoreless. Mark Stone doubled up the lead with his 17th goal of the season. Vegas held a 2-0 edge in Ottawa after 40 minutes of play.

The Golden Knights took over the game in the 3rd period getting goals from Chandler Stephenson and Ryan Reaves. Ottawa would add two of their own but Vegas would close out the game 4-2. Snapping their four game losing streak.

Vegas’ record improves to 25-19-6 and win their first game under new coach Pete DeBoer. The Golden Knights continue their road trip and next face the Montreal Canadiens. Game is scheduled to start at 4P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A goal in the first minute always makes a game a lot easier on the team that scores it. Vegas really needed a lead, especially after all that’s transpired the last few days. They kept the foot on the pedal for most of the 1st and 2nd but weren’t able to bury any more until late in the 2nd. From there, they continued playing well but a few breakdowns in their own end could have really cost them if not for the tremendous goaltending from Fleury. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre

  • Something about Pete DeBoer probably

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Paul Stastny
** Marc-Andre Fleury
* Mark Stone

Golden Knights vs. Ottawa Senators Photo Gallery – October 17th, 2019

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 OTTAWA SENATORS 2 (5-3-0 10 PTS) – SO (3-2)

The game began like a heavyweight title fight. Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves (6’2) and Ottawa Senators forward Scott Sabourin (6’3) dropped gloves 2:27 into the game. Both players were penalized five minutes for fighting. A couple of minutes later the Golden Knights offense went to work. Reilly Smith scored his sixth goal of the season to give Vegas the early lead.

Vegas had an early 2nd period power play but couldn’t convert. Ottawa took some chances but Marc-Andre Fleury made some tremendous saves to keep it a one goal lead.

JG Pageau score the game-tying goal for Ottawa 4:25 into the 3rd period. Both teams had chances throughout the period but both goaltenders were brick walls down the stretch. The game would need an overtime period, and eventually a shootout to decide the winner. Jonathan Marchessault would win it for the Golden Knights.

Vegas improves their record to (5-3). The Golden Knights travel to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins on Saturday evening. Puck drops at 4P PT. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Ottawa Senators at T-Mobile Arena

  • VGK assistant coach shares how/why they pick D-pairs
  • 4th line scoring usually leads to wins
  • Photo gallery from tonight’s game.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Nic Hague
* Marc-Andre Fleury

 

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 OTTAWA SENATORS 3 (7-8-1 15 PTS)

After killing off an early penalty in their own zone, the Golden Knights scored not one, but two power play goals in the 1st period. With new power play lines, Jonathan Marchessault netted the first one for the new top PP line, while Shea Theodore got the second one for the other unit. The Golden Knights extended the lead to 3-0 with a goal from Nick Holden, his first as a member of the team. Then, following a fight with Ryan Reaves and Mark Borowiecki, the Senators got on the board. Ottawa climbed all the way back to tie it at three, but a pair of “4th line” goals by William Carrier and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare restored Vegas’ lead and gave them the win.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at  Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre

  • Respected hockey voice says Pacioretty and Stastny have slowed VGK down.

Three Stars
*** Jonathan Marchessault
** Thomas Chabot
* Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 OTTAWA SENATORS 3 (5-5-1 11 PTS) – OT

Things did not get off to a great start at T-Mobile Arena with Vegas giving up the first and second goals in the game. However, a huge response down the stretch of the 2nd period got the Golden Knights even heading into the 3rd. An incredible goal by Alex Tuch spanning the entire ice got Vegas on the board and then a power play tap-in by Ryan Reaves tied it. The Senators scored to take another lead, but Vegas got another goal from Tuch to equalize. In overtime the Golden Knights drew a penalty shot that Jonathan Marchessault put home to win the game!

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Ottawa Senators at T-Mobile Arena.

  • How a five-minute stretch helped get a point and may be the spark to turn around the offensive woes.

Three Stars
*** Craig Anderson
** Jonathan Marchessault
* Alex Tuch

OTTAWA SENATORS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 (41-18-5 87 PTS)

Vegas got a goal within the first minute of the game by Reilly Smith, but it seemed to unravel on them for the rest of the first 40 minutes. Missing Nate Schmidt and Luca Sbisa on the blue line and James Neal and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, the Golden Knights were a complete mess in their own end. Four of the next five goals went to the Senators and Vegas took a two-goal deficit to the locker room after two. The Golden Knights stormed back in the 3rd getting a shorthanded goal by Ryan Carpenter to tie the game but moments later the Senators regained the lead, one they would hold until the game’s end.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Ottawa Senators at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Is it just health or have the Golden Knights really fallen apart on defense recently?

Three Stars
*** William Karlsson
** Erik Karlsson
* Mark Stone

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 (9-4-0 18 PTS) OTTAWA SENATORS 4

Golden Knight score first, give up goals that tie the game at 1-1 and 2-2 and then Vegas stormed out to a 5-2 lead. A big penalty kill with about 7 minutes left allowed the Golden Knights to coast until the final minute. A late Ottawa goal made it interesting for the final :30, but Vegas holds on.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre.

  • Tomorrow is Sunday, we’re taking the day off. See ya Monday for the Leafs game. (Watch party at The Game at SunCoast)

Three Stars

*** Jonathan Marchessault
** David Perron
* Erik Haula

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