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Bum Slaying: VGK Gladly Collecting Points From League’s Worst

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

At the end of the NHL regular season when teams are planning for the postseason or the golf course, it’s unlikely for the players, coaches and managers to huddle around and go over how they reached their fate. For losing clubs, it’s a quick clean out of their lockers and get out of dodge to their summer destinations. For the fortunate 16, they’re preparing for a potentially long run in the playoffs. However, for prognostication purposes, it is important to note how successful teams got to their ultimate goals.

After last night’s 2-1 OT victory over the hapless Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas extended their Western Conference best record to 41 points. It wasn’t the prettiest, but a win is a win when fighting for a seat in the playoffs.

When you break down how the Golden Knights picked up their points, you’ll notice that they’re taking care of business when facing lesser competitors. This is exactly what all playoff hopefuls do throughout a long 82-game regular season. Call it bum slaying, padding stats, or anything you’d like but those points are vital to any team fighting for the postseason.

Points from Non-Contenders: (22)

  • 10/13: VGK 1 vs CHI 0
  • 10/25: VGK 4 @ SJ 2
  • 10/28: VGK 4 vs ANA 0
  • 11/03: VGK 5 @ OTT 4
  • 11/05: VGK 6 @ MTL 4
  • 11/10: VGK 7 @ BUF 4
  • 11/17: VGK 4 vs ARI 1
  • 11/21: VGK 5 @ VAN 4
  • 11/23: VGK 4 vs OTT 1
  • 11/28: VGK 3 @ CBJ 2
  • 12/03: VGK 4 @ DET 1
  • 12/08: VGK 2 vs PHI 1

Now to be fair, the Golden Knights have not taken advantage of all low-level opponents. Vegas lost three times to inferior lineups, all occurring at T-Mobile Arena. For the most part, all three were uncompetitive and the Golden Knights lost by a total of eight goals. In the trio of games, the road team scored two or more goals that went unanswered by Vegas. It’s okay to have a stinker but several at home vs sub .500 teams are wasting VGK fans’ hard-earned money. Thankfully, Jonathan Marchessault didn’t let that happen again last night in OT.

Missed Points From Non-Contenders (6)

  • 11/12: STL 3 @ VGK 2
  • 11/15: SJ 5 @ VGK 2
  • 11/26: VAN 5 @ VGK 1

For Vegas to keep up their 104-point pace they’ll need continue bullying inept franchises crashing for Connor Bedard. Half of the teams in the NHL have roster weaknesses and are capable of exposing on a nightly basis. Through 29 games, the Golden Knights have jumped on mistakes, ill-timed penalties, poor goaltending, and turnovers. It’s been the team’s identity all season under coach Bruce Cassidy. In addition to their 22 “bum slaying” points, Vegas will have 15 more opportunities against the league’s worst to cushion their conference and divisional lead.

Now of course the NHL is a professional league with incredibly skilled players. Even the worst organizations have the ability to defeat star-studded lineups. Just ask the Boston Bruins, who lost to the Arizona Coyotes last night in Arizona. That’ll wake up a team. Hopefully, not by Sunday evening.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 1 (20-8-1, 41 PTS) – OT

Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Philadelphia Flyers trying to get back on track after their 5-1 loss on Wednesday. Vegas jumped on the board first midway through the period. William Carrier scored his 9th goal of the season unassisted, giving the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Philadelphia took advantage of an early turnover by Vegas goaltender Adin Hill. Hill got lost behind his net and inadvertently passed the puck to a wide-open Flyer for the game-tying goal. The Golden Knights had an opportunity to take the lead on a man advantage, but Philadelphia killed off the only penalty of the game. The game was locked in a 1-1 tie after two periods of action.

The final period was tight and neither team gave up many quality chances on net. Vegas drew a late power play but couldn’t convert the opportunity into a game-winning goal. After 60 minutes in regulation, the game needed overtime to decide a victor. Jonathan Marchessault eventually ended the game with his 12th goal of the season

The Golden Knights record improves to 20-8-1 defeating the Flyers 2-1 in OT. Vegas will next take the ice on Sunday evening for the second and final game of the Cassidy Cup. Puck drop against the Boston Bruins is scheduled for 5P PT at T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A listless game that included two weird goals headed to OT where the Golden Knights needed someone to be a hero and Marchessault stepped up. VGK’s forecheck felt ineffective but they were good enough in the D zone and despite the error, Hill was strong enough to keep it to just the one goal. Not exactly the type of game VGK want to be playing, but they found a way to two points. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Philadelphia Flyers at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Taking care of business

Ken’s Three VGK Stars

*** Jonathan Marchessault
** Jack Eichel
* William Carrier

Both Flyers And Tortorella Have Been Tough On VGK

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Tonight the Golden Knights take on the Philadelphia Flyers at T-Mobile Arena. Sitting at 9-13-5 with a -24 goal differential and having scored the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference, on paper this looks like a great spot for the Golden Knights to get back on track at home.

VGK have been installed as nearly three to one favorites with a moneyline of -267. In fact, the game is essentially a toss-up on the puckline meaning the expectation is for the Golden Knights to not only win, but win by multiple goals.

This season, the Golden Knights have been strong when entering the game as heavy favorites at home. They’ve been -220 or more in games at T-Mobile Arena on six occasions and have won five of them. They’ve allowed one or fewer goals in four of those five wins while scoring at least four in four games as well.

However, the history of the opponent tells us this one might not be such a walk in the park for Vegas.

The Golden Knights are 3-5-0 all-time against the Philadelphia Flyers including losses in three of the last four. The last time Vegas defeated Philadelphia was nearly three years ago, on January 2nd, 2020. The home record is worse than away too. VGK are 1-3-0 against the Flyers in Vegas and have allowed four or five goals in each and every game.

To make matters worse, Vegas also struggle against Philadelphia’s new coach, John Tortorella. The Golden Knights are 2-4-0 against the fiery bench boss and have been shutout twice in those six games. Vegas averaged just 1.83 goals per game against Tortorella’s Blue Jackets teams over the three seasons the teams faced off between 2017-2020.

Plus, the Golden Knights will be without Alex Pietrangelo, Jack Eichel is a game-time decision, and backup Adin Hill gets the nod in goal.

There’s no doubt the Golden Knights are the better team in this matchup and if they put together anything resembling their best game they’ll win with ease. It won’t be easy though despite the Flyers’ rough start to the season. The Golden Knights could really use this one too, because an angry Bruins team is up next.

Bruce Cassidy Not The Only Coach Frustrated With Preseason Defeats

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This weekend the Golden Knights had their worst outing of the preseason. Vegas lost 7-3 to the San Jose Sharks and their head coach was not happy with their effort.

It’s an attention-getter. You’ve played your games you’ve been at Training Camp, we’re not nearly where we need to be so we’ve got to get the hell back to work the next time we reconvene. That to me is the message that will be sent when we get back together. -Bruce Cassidy

In most cases, exhibition games are considered tune-ups and extended tryouts for prospects. However, with the brief time Bruce Cassidy has had with his new club, every shift counts. With only eight days before Vegas opens the 2022-23 season, it’s vital the Golden Knights continue to learn and execute their leader’s instructions.

After three preseason contests Vegas looked as if they had absorbed their coach’s new defensive look. On Friday night it fell apart. So of course Cassidy was frustrated with the results. This weekend, the Golden Knights coach wasn’t the only one to voice his concerns after lopsided defeats.

Tonight, a lot of the pressure in our D-zone we couldn’t handle it. We couldn’t handle their speed. Consequently they get the opportunities. We’re going to get better but it’s just not happening as quickly as I’d like it to be. -Bruce Boudreau, Canucks coach

After a 4-0 shutout, Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan told the media he was reluctant to talk about his team’s effort. In Pennsylvania’s other metropolis, Flyers bench boss John Tortorella was focused on his player’s confidence. In St. Louis, coach Craig Berube was at a loss for words.

Not enough. We didn’t do enough all around. It wasn’t a very good game. We should’ve played better for them, it was a great crowd.-Craig Berube, Blues coach

This very well could be a ploy from Cassidy and other veteran coaches to get their players’ mentally before regular season action. If you ignore the score, there were several positives to take away from Vegas’ fourth exhibition game. Offensively, Jack Eichel looks dangerous and heathy, while Mark Stone flashed his play-making abilities in his return, and Paul Cotter continued his seemingly undeniable run at a roster spot.

Also, it should be noted that Jake Leschyshyn dropped gloves and defended himself after landing a clean but hard hit on a Sharks player. That’s the character and culture stuff that un-frustrates Cassidy and other coaches.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (32-22-4 68 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights got off to a rough start in Philadelphia. Robin Lehner struggled to find the puck allowing two goals in eight 1st period shots. After the opening 20 minutes the Flyers held a 2-0 advantage.

After going 0-2 on the power play in the 1st period the Golden Knights settled down on their third man-advantage. Evgenii Dadonov tallied his first goal in 17 games to cut the lead in half. Vegas trailed 2-1 heading into the 2nd intermission. 

The Golden Knights continued to fire shots on net in the final period. Vegas was awarded a late game power play but couldn’t score tying goal.

The Golden Knights record drops to 32-22-4 falling 2-1 to the Flyers. Vegas continues their road trip with a stop in Upstate New York on Thursday. Puck drop for Jack Eichel’s return to Buffalo is set for 4 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Well, we’ve seen this story before. Vegas plays against a team that plays simple compact hockey and refuses to give away transition chances and the Golden Knights can’t find a way to break them down. A single goal that came on the power play isn’t enough for a team that has this much offensive talent. (Recap by Ken)

Listen to our postgame Twitter Space vent session with plenty of “calls” from fans.


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.

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PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (15-11-0 30 PTS)

Recap: Philadelphia took the early lead at T-Mobile Arena, scoring the game’s first goal 4:20 into the opening 20 minutes. It took a while but the relentless Golden Knights tied the game with :49 remaining in the period. 

The Flyers regained their lead on a rebound after a flurry of shots on starter Laurent Brossoit. Trailing 2-1, Vegas again tied the game late in the period when Max Pacioretty scored his eighth goal of the season. After 40 minutes the game was locked up 2-2.

Vegas quickly trailed by two after Philadelphia scored two unanswered in the first ten minutes of the period. Pacioretty added a late power play goal but the Flyers went on to win 4-3 at T-Mobile Arena, breaking their ten-game winless streak. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 15-11-0 after falling to the Flyers. Vegas finishes their homestand with a matchup against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday evening. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: In a game dubbed by Pete DeBoer “as dangerous trap game as you are going to get” the Golden Knights fell right into the trap. Playing without Chandler Stephenson the Golden Knights struggled to deal with the Philadelphia centers, but the real problem was special teams. They went 0 for 5 on the power play before tallying one very late and allowed 2 goals on three Flyer power plays. That’s a game the Golden Knights normally win. Tonight they did not. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Philadelphia Flyers game at T-Mobile Arena.

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Timeline – Robin Lehner Speaks Out

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the weekend the Golden Knights became the big story around the league and I’m sure it caught them off guard. It was probably even more unsettling as the club was bonding and preparing for the long season ahead up in Montana at owner Bill Foley’s ranch. The tweet storm might have made for some awkward moments at team breakfast.

Let’s rewind to earlier last week when outspoken goaltender Robin Lehner joined the boys at Spittin’ Chiclets to chat about an array of topics. As Vegas fans have learned in a little more than a year, Lehner’s honesty is refreshing.

Tuesday, September 28th – Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast Released

  • Lehner discussed his status in net and how he professionally handled the Marc-Andre Fleury goaltending controversy.

I respect what he did actually, he stuck up for his client. It screwed me a bit. It wasn’t the greatest time… It turned up the heat. It really did. This is probably the most pressured season I’ve had coming into this year. It’s fueled by the narrative of how everything was left and the whole (Fleury) trade.-Robin Lehner on Spittin’ Chiclets

  • Lehner also spoke about the Jack Eichel injury standoff with Buffalo and had heavy criticism for the Sabres organization.

I hate it. I know they put investments into us but I still think your body is your body. End of story. If Eichel wants to make his surgery and they are scared of protecting their investment, how hard could it be to have him sign a waiver? Is something goes wrong he doesn’t get paid. It bothers me because Jack Eichel is a world class talent. We didn’t always see eye to eye but I respect him as a person. Am
I saying this to trash the Sabres? No I’m not. If I wanted to hurt the Sabres I would have but they destroyed my ankle that year.- Lehner on Spittin’ Chiclets

  • The Golden Knights goaltender suggested the NHL has stale “dinosaur” type executives and coaches that control the league and push their agenda’s even though sports and the world have changed.

We’re all robots. Everyone says the same thing. I understand 20 years ago but it’s 2021 now. Am I going to tell a player to be open and honest now? I know a lot of people have but yes they’re going to be punished.-Lehner on Spittin’ Chiclets

Wednesday, September 29th – Lehner plays first preseason game

  • Lehner suited up for his first start of the preseason getting some important ice time. The #1 starter stopped 20 of 22 shots.

Friday, October 1st – Lehner tweets his feelings about the Jack Eichel situation in Buffalo

  • Lehner stressed that it should be the players choice when it comes to their body.

  • Lehner also shows disappointment with the NHL Players union and their silence.

Saturday, October 2nd – Lehner tweets picture of ankle from his injuries in Buffalo

  • Lehner accuses Buffalo of screwing up his ankle and pushing pain killers.

https://twitter.com/robinlehner/status/1444348543330828290?s=21

Sunday, October 3rd – Lehner calls out Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault for his tactics handling injured players

  • Lehner labels Vigneault a dinosaur coach and calls for his firing.

  • Lehner accuses Vigneault, the Flyers and other organizations for irresponsibly handing players prescription drugs.

Monday, October 4th – SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman tweets the league is aware of Lehner’s accusations

  • The NHL would like to have a conversation with Vegas’ netminder.

  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reacts to Lehner’s tweets and
    suggested players shouldn’t be forced to tweet out internal information. Bettman also added that the league has services available to players.

We take his comments seriously and we’d like in short order to be in a conversation with him so we can hear his concerns directly and we’re going to follow up to see what merit there may be to his concerns. You don’t have to tweet to get our attention. We have an 800 number people can call. You can call us directly, we’re an open book. But if he has concerns we want to hear them and see how they need to be addressed.-Gary Bettman with SportsNet’s Jeff Marek

  • Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault responds to Lehner’s strong accusations.

I consider myself experienced. A dinosaur? You could say with experience you become a dinosaur maybe. But I do know I’ve been coaching a few years and I am tough, I am demanding but I care about my players. Through the years probably there are some guys who liked me and probably some a little less, but I’ve done it with the best intention (and) with respect.- Alain Vigneault, Flyers coach

  • Vigneault was confused and disappointed about the idea of him pushing prescription pills.

I was obviously very disappointed, as far as me pushing pills, I don’t need another income. I have no idea where that comes from. I don’t know what else to say. I have no idea.- Alain Vigneault, Flyers coach

Chances are the league and possibly the Golden Knights front office are scrambling to squash the accusations, but would also like to listen to Lehner’s concerns. Expect more developments to come down this week.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 4 (23-15-6 52 PTS)

Recap: The Flyers got the game’s first goal but the scoring was just beginning to heat up. The Golden Knights would get four first period goals. Shea Theodore, Max Pacioretty and Jon Merrill gave Vegas a two goal lead. Pacioretty scored twice, and Merrill scored his first goal as a forward. The Golden Knights held the 4-2 lead after one period.

Cody Glass picked up his 5th goal of the season midway through the 2nd period. Philadelphia got back within two with a second period goal of their own. After 40 minutes Vegas held a 5-3 edge.

Philadelphia would score :15 seconds into the 3rd period threatening Vegas’ lead. Vegas killed off the clock and won the contest 5-4.

Vegas’ record improves to 22-15-6 with a total of 52 points. The team will next hit the ice Saturday afternoon against the reigning Stanley Cup champions St. Louis Blues. Game is scheduled for 1PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: A wild game from start to finish began with a bit of sloppiness in the Golden Knights zone. They didn’t really clean it up much in the 1st but were able to spring forward for 4 goals to basically offset any defensive shortcomings. As the game progressed the Golden Knights got better and better in their own end and continued to create chances offensively. A couple tough penalties put them in a tough spot but they were able to overcome it, especially the wild 6-on-3 chance at the end of the game. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Philadelphia Flyers at T-Mobile Arena

  • The 1st defenseman trade domino has fallen. Examining the price that’s been set.

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Paul Stastny
** Max Pacioretty
* Jon Merrill

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 6 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (6-4-0 12 PTS)

After playing in all nine of the Golden Knights games Marc-Andre Fleury got a well-deserved night off in Philadelphia. The Flyers jumped out early scoring a power play goal past Fleury’s replacement Oscar Dansk. The Golden Knights would make a charge late in the 1st period but head to the locker room trailing 1-0.

Philadelphia would continue to offensively attack the Golden Knights early in the 2nd period. The Flyers would score two goals in under a minute on Dansk to take a 3-0 lead. It would continue to snowball for Vegas, as they would fall back 5-0 after the end of two periods.

The Golden Knights would finally get on the board with an early 3rd Period power play goal by Jonathan Marchessault. Reilly Smith would score his team-leading 7th goal of the season on a 4-on-4 situation. Unfortunately, the Flyers would add another and win the game 6-2.

Vegas’ record drops to 6-4-0 on the season. The Golden Knights get right back to it tomorrow night in Chicago. Puck drops against the Blackhawks at 5:30 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center

  • What’s with all the penalties?

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** That’s all I could come up with
** William Carrier
* Reilly Smith

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 0 (2-4-0 4 PTS)

Fairly sloppy 1st period ended without a score. Marc-Andre Fleury sprung into action in the 2nd making highlight save after highlight save including two on breakaways. Fleury continued his heroics in the 3rd keeping the Flyers off the board the entire night. Cody Eakin put in a great effort to keep the puck in the zone and then got rewarded with a perfect pass that he put into the top corner. Big win the Golden Knights really needed.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.

  • Cody Eakin has energized the 3rd line in a big way.

Three Stars
*** Brian Elliott
** Marc-Andre Fleury
* Cody Eakin

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