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Golden Knights Fend Off Doubt In Toronto As Guentzel Rumors Heat Up

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Until last night the Golden Knights hadn’t been on the right side of a lopsided result (against an NHL team, San Jose doesn’t count) since the All-Star break. Over that period the reigning champions were 3-4-1 and failed to win four of five home games. Yesterday’s offensive outpouring from Vegas wasn’t entirely unexpected but it came at the right time of the season.

Pretty good game for us, to be honest. I still think the leaders and the guys who have been in the league for a while have to step up in this little stretch, especially with Stoney and Jack out. Hopefully today was a turnaround for us. -Ivan Barbashev

When healthy, there’s no question the Golden Knights could put up five against a team as iffy on defense as the Maple Leafs. Doing it on the road, without several key players was reminiscent of last season’s extended results without captain Mark Stone.

Vegas received six goals from five different players, two from depth forwards. Along with their abundance of offense, the Golden Knights sturdy defense frustrated some of hockey’s most lethal weapons. The same formula catapulted Vegas to their first Stanley Cup championship.

They’re good enough to win. If you think you’re good enough to win then you go for it. There’s not a feeling of being easily satisfied. Last year was last year. I do believe they’re one of the teams in and around Jake Guentzel. The Penguins want guys that can help them now. If Pittsburgh is looking for young pros, (Vegas) have that in their organization. I find it very hard that Vegas is not going to take a swing at the biggest player available. – Elliotte Friedman on The Jeff Marek Show

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 2 (27-14-5, 59 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights were looking to stay hot with a victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Vegas was awarded two power play opportunities in the opening twenty minutes but failed to get on the scoreboard. Goaltender Logan Thompson held the game scoreless having to save only six shots on net.

Vegas came out strong in the middle frame limiting Pittsburgh’s chances on net. The Penguins heated up in the second half of the period scoring twice in five minutes. After 40 minutes the visiting team clutched a 2-0 advantage.

Jonathan Marchessault gave Vegas life early in the final frame. The sniper recorded his 20th goal of the season to trim Pittsburgh’s lead in half. Less than two minutes later Pavel Dorofeyev evened the score roofing a loose rebound into the Penguins net. Vegas took the lead with their third straight goal courtesy of rookie Brendan Brisson. The first-round draft pick gave Vegas a 3-2 lead with his first career goal.

The Golden Knights record improves to 27-14-5 defeating the Penguins 3-2 from T-Mobile Arena. Next, Vegas will hit the road for a four-game Eastern Conference trip beginning in New Jersey on Monday. Puck drop against the Devils is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: After a poor 2nd period, the Golden Knights turned on the jets in the 3rd. They were all over the front of the goal and found a pair of goals to get themselves back in it. Then, Brendan Brisson buried his first career NHL goal to win it. Great comeback win before the road trip. (Analysis by Ken)

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

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Golden Knights Are Smoking Eastern Conference Teams At Home, But Struggling On The Road

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Exactly half of the NHL’s 32 teams only get to travel to the greatest city in the world one time a year to play a hockey game. Typically in front of a throng of their own fans, you’d think they want to make the most of it by playing a great game against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Well, that hasn’t been the case so far here in 2023-24.

With last night’s drubbing of the current Metro Division-leading New York Rangers, the Golden Knights have now improved to 7-2-0 against the Eastern Conference at home this year. The win is VGK’s third straight against the East and the second consecutive against division leaders.

The Golden Knights have outscored their out-of-conference foes by a score of 31-21 and they have posted 3+ goal victories in five of the nine games at T-Mobile Arena.

On the flip side, the East has not been kind to the Golden Knights away from home. Vegas has traveled to the other side of the country twice this year to play a total of seven games. The Golden Knights are just 1-5-1 and are currently on a five-game losing streak.

Where VGK have a +10 goal differential against the East at home they are -13 on the road. The Golden Knights offense has been muted away from home as they score a full goal per game less (3.4 at home, 2.4 on road).

There’s good news and bad news with this trend on the upcoming schedule. The good news, the next game is at home against an Eastern Conference rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens shut the Golden Knights out in Pittsburgh earlier this year and the game wasn’t particularly competitive. However, Washington did the same thing, and when they came to Vegas, the Golden Knights thrashed them 4-1.

The bad news is that the last four games before the All Star break are all on the road against Eastern Conference teams. To make matters worse, they are scheduled as a pair of back-to-backs. The Golden Knights are 1-2-1 on the second leg of back-to-backs including that shutout to the Penguins.

VGK are playing much better over the past few games, being led by strong goaltending and an offensive resurgence from the captain. They are in a solid position as it currently stands in the playoff chase, but with the teams charging behind them, these next five games will go a long way toward setting the tone for the long break that follows them.

Golden Knights Remain In Decent Position Compared To Former Reigning And Eventual Champions

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have completed exactly half of their title-defending season. They started as hot as hot can be setting the new record for most wins in a row to begin a season for a reigning champion. Then, as injuries started to pile up, they hit the skids a little bit and have fallen to 10th in the league in points percentage.

It hasn’t been pretty for the last month or so, but Vegas still finds themselves in a solid position. At the midway post, the Golden Knights are still clearly in the playoff picture, sitting eight points north of the cut line.

After 41 games, the Golden Knights have a points percentage of .622. It’s the 4th best mark in their seven seasons, slightly below their franchise average of .659 at this point in the year. .622 equates to 102 points at the end of the season, which would be good enough to make the playoffs every single year since the current format has been adopted. And, .622 is the exact average points percentage at the halfway point of the season for the last six Stanley Cup runners-up.

Golden KnightsDefending ChampEventual ChampEventual Runner-Up
22-23 (COL/VGK/FLA).683.549.683.488
21-22 (TBL/COL/TBL).610.720.768.720
20-21 (TBL/TBL/MTL).707.707.707.573
19-20 (STL/TBL/DAL).561.707.643.610
18-19 (WSH/STL/BOS).585.659.463.610
17-18 (PIT/WSH/VGK).732.524.646.732
AVERAGE.659.644.652.622

VGK’s current points percentage has them behind all but one of the last six eventual champions at this point in the season. They are also now well behind where they sat a year ago. In 2022-23 the Golden Knights amassed 57 points through 41 games, six points better than they are right now.

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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 0 (13-4-2, 28 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights were hoping to bounce back Sunday in Pittsburgh after falling to Philadelphia on Saturday in overtime. The hometown Penguins quickly took the lead 2:13 into the game. Vegas was forced to kill off two Nic Hague penalties and went into the first intermission trailing 1-0.

Pittsburgh doubled their lead midway through the middle frame. The reigning Stanley Cup champions had multiple chances on net in the period but couldn’t get on the scoreboard.

Vegas outshot Pittsburgh and tried to close in during the final period but they couldn’t find the back of the net. The Penguins defense swept every puck away from their net and frustrated the Golden Knights’ offensive weapons. Late in the frame, Pittsburgh capped the game with an empty net goal.

The Golden Knights record drops to 13-4-2 losing to the Penguins 3-0 in Pittsburgh. Vegas will get chance to rest over the next two days and prepare for the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. Puck drop in Dallas is scheduled for 6:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It’s rare that the opposing team is clearly better than the Golden Knights on any given night. That was the case in Pittsburgh tonight. VGK just didn’t have the solutions to the questions the Penguins were throwing at them in the defensive zone. Second-time shutout in four games. Not great. (Analysis by Ken)

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

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

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas 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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VGK TRADE REILLY SMITH TO PITTSBURGH

(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.

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