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Back-To-Back Winning Coach Highlights VGK’s Championship Net Security

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

By the time the Stanley Cup was handed over to Vegas captain Mark Stone, coaches and players league wide were scheming up ways to copy the Golden Knights championship formula. From defensive alignments, to deeper benches and undoubtedly goaltending efficiency. Some NHL teams have the right goaltender and not enough quality players. Whereas, others have the players but are unsure if they’re good enough in net.

This week Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan referenced the World Champion Golden Knights in his training camp opening press conference. It’s no surprise the two-time Cup winning coach mentioned Vegas because years back he had back-to-back Stanley Cup winning rosters. Like Vegas, the Penguins won using multiple capable goaltenders.

Vegas’ finals winning goalie Adin Hill went 11-4 in the postseason after injured starter Laurent Brossoit recorded five wins and two losses. The same smooth transition occurred with the back-to-back Stanley Cup winning Penguins. Old friend Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his second and third championship rings playing his role in a duel goalie tandem. Which clearly caught the attention of Sullivan and other coaches.

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(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

The Golden Knights have traded Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 3rd round pick.

The 3rd round pick is in the 2024 Draft. It is VGK’s original selection which was traded for Teddy Blueger.


Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the reeling Pittsburgh Penguins for their second game of 2023. Vegas got off to a really quick start receiving their first goal from Phil Kessel 1:53 into the opening period. After an 11-game absence, Jack Eichel doubled VGK’s lead to 2-0. It was Eichel’s 14th goal of the season and his first since December 3rd. Later in the period, Chandler Stephenson extended the Golden Knights lead 3-0 with a power play goal.

Pittsburgh outshot Vegas in the middle frame but couldn’t find the back of the net. The Golden Knights killed off a penalty mid-way through the period to hold the Penguins scoreless. Mark Stone tallied his 17th goal of the season with 0:11 left in the period. After 40 minutes the home team held a 4-1 advantage.

The Penguins finally got on the scoreboard early in the final period, but the Golden Knights continued to attack. Paul Cotter ripped a one-time pass from Kessel to register his 5th goal of the season.

The Golden Knights record improves to 27-12-2 drubbing the Penguins 5-2. Vegas will take the ice on Saturday for a divisional battle against the LA Kings. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights won this game with a dominant 1st period. They came out and were all Penguins from the opening faceoff. They scored quickly off a good forechecking play by William Karlsson, then got a pair more as they beat Pittsburgh in every facet. The 2nd was almost as bad as the 1st was good but Adin Hill came up big. They basically just protected their way to the win in the 3rd. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at T-Mobile Arena.

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The Golden Knights continued their four-game road trip with a matchup against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Vegas got off to a good start, scoring two goals in the opening period. Jack Eichel opened the scoring with his 12th goal of the season and Reilly Smith doubled Vegas’ lead on the power play. The Golden Knights held a 2-0 road lead heading into the 1st intermission.

Pittsburgh worked their way back in the middle frame, outshooting and outscoring Vegas. The Penguins evened the score 2-2 after 40 minutes played.

Special teams would come into to play in the final period for both teams. Shea Theodore regained the lead for Vegas with their second PP goal is the game. However, the Penguins would score on the man-advantage as well and eventually took the lead for good minutes later.

The Golden Knights record drops to (17-7-1) losing 4-3 in Pittsburgh. Vegas will make a short visit in Detroit for a matchup with the Red Wings on Saturday. Puck drop from Hockeytown is scheduled for 4P PT. (Recap by Jason)

(Analysis/Tweets by Alex)


Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to Pittsburgh to try and break their two-game losing streak. The Penguins took the first lead of the game late in the 1st period. After one Vegas trailed 1-0 in Pittsburgh. 

Pittsburgh added to their lead early in the middle frame giving them a 2-0 lead. Vegas wouldn’t stop fighting as two minutes later Jack Eichel cut the lead in half with his fourth as a Golden Knight. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tied the game 2-2 scoring his eighth goal of the season.

The game opened up in the 3rd period with the Penguins controlling play. Pittsburgh added a 5-on-5 goal, a power play goal and an empty net goal to seal the game. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 32-24-4 falling 5-2 to the Penguins. The Golden Knights drop another of their five game road trip and have lost three straight. Next, Vegas will face Columbus on Sunday. Puck drop is set for 4 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Vegas looked somewhat like itself for a good portion of the 2nd period which gave some hope that the tide was turning. But losing another player to injury (Pacioretty) and seeing more points slip away due to a poor 3rd period leaves the feeling still the same as it has been. The Golden Knights must improve, and in a hurry, or things will get much worse. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.

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Recap: The Golden Knights took the first lead of the game on Chandler Stephenson’s 11th goal of the season. Evgenii Dadonov and Nic Roy added offense giving Vegas a 3-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Pittsburgh started to warm up in the 2nd period scoring on an early power play opportunity. Less than a minute later the Penguins got within one. After 40 minutes the Golden Knights held a 3-2 edge. 

It didn’t take long for Pittsburgh to tie the game in the 3rd period. The Penguins evened the score :28 into the final frame and took the lead two minutes later. They later added an empty net goal to score five unanswered goals. The Golden Knights had several late pushes but couldn’t close the gap. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 23-15-1 falling 5-3 to the Penguins. Vegas next faces the team that knocked them out of the playoffs on Thursday night. Puck drop against the Montreal Canadiens is set for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: For 20 minutes, the Golden Knights could do no wrong. They dominated the run of play, they drew penalties, they scored on the rush, and they were excellent in front of the goal. Then, intermission hit, and that was the end of it. Pittsburgh whipped the Golden Knights all over the ice for the final 40 minutes, scoring five unanswered. Brutal loss on what is turning into a miserable homestand. (Recap by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Pittsburgh Penguins game at T-Mobile Arena.

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Fleury To Former GM: “Get Me To Vegas”

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This past offseason most Golden Knights fans thought the face of the franchise would be traded. Based on reports, it almost happened. However, that face, Marc-Andre Fleury, made it known publicly that he desired to stay in Las Vegas and hadn’t asked to be moved. Luckily for the Golden Knights front office, a deal never materialized.

The front office that gifted the Golden Knights with the future Hall of Famer knew long before, that Fleury wanted to resume his career in Las Vegas.

I knew he had lots, lots left in him. In Fleury’s case, when he knew that he was the odd man out he came and met with me and said ‘if there’s any way you can get me to Las Vegas, that’s where I’d like to go.’ So, I made sure I made that happen. I felt like I owed that to him. –Jim Rutherford, former Penguins GM w/ Cam & Strick podcast

Long before his name was called by The Creator in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, Fleury was focused on becoming the starting goaltender for the Golden Knights.

After being drafted by Vegas, the 33-year-old, at the time, went on to have one of the best seasons of his career. After losing his starting position in Pittsburgh, the “I’ll show them” motivation factor was high for Fleury. Sort of like what’s happening this season.

I’m emotionally connected to guys that I win a championship with. The Marc-Andre Fleury trade was the hardest one for me, because I love the guy. He’s a special, very special person. –Rutherford, former Penguins GM

Last night’s 1-0 defeat to Minnesota was only Fleury’s fourth of the season. In those four losses, the goaltender allowed eight goals combined. He’s second in the league with a 2.04 GAA in losses, and number one overall with a 1.57 GAA. Win or lose, the numbers show that Fleury keeps his team in the game more than any other goalie in the NHL.

Of course, they’ll be no way to prove it but the handwriting was on the wall for the goaltender and the new franchise. Pittsburgh knew they had to move on, Fleury was aware and the Golden Knights were opportunistic. It was the perfect second marriage, and both parties were excited to form a union of misfits.

I make a lot of trades, I’m not going to get them all right. When I don’t get one right I’m not afraid to say it. I move on. –Rutherford, former Penguins GM

It was set up to be a storybook ending for Fleury in Vegas, but questionable decisions seemed to derail that path, until now. He told Rutherford in 2017, and Golden Knights fans in 2020, the goaltender wanted to be in Vegas and didn’t want to leave Vegas. His performance this season is showing that.

Oh, and make no doubts about it, Fleury has a little motivation to prove them wrong. He didn’t need to but he does nightly.


Recap: The Penguins came out strong scoring first 2:53 into the opening period. Eventually Mallin netted his 12th of the year with a nifty backhand over Marc-Andre Fleury. Patric Hornqvist added another goal giving Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes played.

Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead with 4:18 into the second period on a power play goal. Max Pacioretty would bury his 19th goal of the season keeping Vegas alive. Paul Stastny got his team even closer picking up a power play for the Golden Knights. After two periods the home team trailed 3-2.

The Penguins would extend their lead 4-2 early in the 3rd but Reilly Smith would later get Vegas back to within one. The Golden Knights had a late power play and pulled Fleury for an extra attacker but wouldn’t score the tying goal. After a strong effort, Vegas fell 4-3 to the Penguins.

Vegas’ record drops to 24-16-6 and fall into second place in the Pacific Division. The Golden Knights will next face off against the LA Kings on Thursday night. Puck drops at 7PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Yet again the Golden Knights found themselves in a 3-0 hole, however this time it was a bit different. A terrible turnover, a power play goal, and a quick play off a draw meant the Penguins capitalized on all three good chances. That’s about all they had, which can’t be said about the Blues game. Vegas took a bit to start creating dangerous chances, but the Stone, Stastny, Pacioretty line started to do so and did it in a big way. However, the Golden Knights didn’t get enough from everyone else. Overall there were three issues. First, the goalie simply wasn’t good enough. Vegas allowed 15 shots and four goals, two of which he absolutely could have stopped. Second, there wasn’t enough from the other three lines. All the offense had to come from the one line and you aren’t winning much that way. Third, careless mistakes from multiple players early. When they made them, Pittsburgh scored. In the end, it’s not the worst loss in the world, but it’s a frustrating one nonetheless. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Pittsburgh Penguins at T-Mobile Arena

  • Unintended consequences of VGKD 2.0

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Max Pacioretty-Paul Stastny-Mark Stone
** Shea Theodore
* Max Pacioretty-Paul Stastny-Mark Stone


Former Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury kept things close making some outstanding stops early in the 1st period against his old teammates. Pittsburgh riffled 11 shots on net but couldn’t slip one past Fleury.

After a scoreless twenty minutes, the 2nd period began quickly with the Golden Knights getting on the board first. Paul Stastny scored his 4th goal of the season on the power play to give his team the 1-0 lead. Vegas’ defensive unit did a good job of limiting Pittsburgh’s offensive stars.

Holding a 1-0 lead, the Golden Knights continued to lock down defensively in the 3rd period. The Penguins would go on back-to-back power plays but would come up empty on great efforts by Tomas Nosek, Deryk Engelland and Brayden McNabb. Fleury also made two crucial saves to preserve the one-goal lead. William Karlsson and Mark Stone added empty-netters to secure the 3-0 shutout.

Vegas improves their record to 6-3-0 on the season. The Golden Knights next play on Monday in Philadelphia against the Flyers. Puck drops at 4PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena

  • Carp’s Sunday column on VGK’s consistent struggles with Russian players

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Jake Bischoff
** Mark Stone
* Marc-Andre Fleury


Pittsburgh started out the period on fire controlling the game and peppering Marc-Andre Fleury’s net. They got on the board first, but then the Golden Knights got hot and scored three straight, including two in under a minute and had multiple other chances. It didn’t take long into the 2nd for Pittsburgh to storm back in as they tied it early. Then, a reviewed goal that went in Vegas’ favor on a Penguin PP seemed to ignite the Golden Knights. A misplay by Casey DeSmith led to Jonathan Marchessault’s first goal, he then tallied another to restore the two goal lead heading to the 3rd. The game cleaned up a bit defensively in the 3rd as William Karlsson got on the board for the first time in a while. Marchessault sealed it with the empty netter to become the 2nd player in VGK history to score a hat trick.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Pittsburgh Penguins at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Carp on Miller’s return

Ken’s Three Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Colin Miller
* Jonathan Marchessault

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