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SAN JOSE SHARKS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (13-4-0 26 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights were looking to start a new winning streak hosting division rival San Jose Sharks. The opening 20 minutes were full of missed opportunities up until the final four seconds of the 1st period. Center Jack Eichel ripped home a one-time pass giving the Golden Knights a late advantage. 

The Sharks evens the score early in the 2nd period but the Golden Knights took advantage of another late opportunity. With under five minutes left in the middle frame, Jonathan Marchessault broke the tie registering his 7th goal of the season. The home team carried a 2-1 advantage into the 2nd intermission. 

San Jose immediately answered and tied the game in the opening minutes of the 3rd frame. Vegas had several chances including two power plays but couldn’t find the back of the net. Late in the game, the Sharks snapped the tie and added two empty net goals for a 5-2 road victory. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 13-4-0 falling to the Sharks 5-2. Vegas will have another chance to begin a winning streak on Thursday night against Arizona. Puck drop against the Coyotes is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights started the game well, especially defensively completely shutting down anything and everything the Sharks were trying to do. But as the game wore on San Jose gained more and more footing with the forecheck and it led to a few breakdowns in front of the Golden Knights’ goal. Couple that with a lack of danger at even strength and a power play that couldn’t get going, and it’s the first 3rd period blown lead of the year. (Recap by Ken)

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 SAN JOSE SHARKS 2 (6-2-0 12 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to San Jose for a divisional battle with the Sharks. On a historic night, Phil Kessel scored the 400th goal of his career in a game which he broke the Ironman night. Kessel’s goal gave Vegas a 1-0 advantage in his 990th consecutive game. 

The Sharks offense woke up in the 2nd period. San Jose took the lead 2-1, scoring early and adding a second goal with under a minute to go in the middle frame. 

Shea Theodore evened the score 0:55 seconds into the final period. William Karlsson broke the tie and moments later Mark Stone extended Vegas’ lead. 

The Golden Knights record improves to (6-2-0) defeating the Sharks 4-2 in San Jose. Vegas will return for two games against the Ducks and Jets. The home stand will begin on Friday night. Puck drop on Nevada Day from The Fortress is scheduled for an early 3:00 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It was a bit of a slog offensively for the first 40 minutes and a breakdown basically handed the lead to the Sharks late in the 2nd. But another dominant 3rd period by the Golden Knights rescued the two points and gave VGK their first perfect back-to-back of the year. (Recap by Ken)

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SAN JOSE SHARKS 7 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (Preseason Game 4)

Recap: The Golden Knights were a bit sloppy in the 1st period conceding an early goal to Erik Karlsson and allowing multiple other dangerous chances. They rallied back to tie it up with a 4-on-1 break that Jack Eichel buried. The period ended tied at one.

In the 2nd the slop fest ramped up majorly as the Golden Knights allowed three straight to the Sharks. Vegas headed to the 3rd trailing 5-2 after a late power play goal from Reilly Smith.

Things didn’t really get cleaned up in the 3rd either way as both teams scored early on weird miscues. A wacky one off the back wall completed the touchdown for the Sharks to just VGK’s field goal.

The Golden Knights drop their third exhibition game of the season to fall to 1-2-1 in preseason. Vegas will next host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night from T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Ken)

Analysis: For three straight preseason games the Golden Knights looked buttoned up in their own end, running the Cassidy system to a tee. That completely crumbled tonight as they were a mess for 60 minutes. Forgettable result but they must learn from what it looks like when it goes wrong as it did tonight. (Recap by Ken)

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VGK Set To Advance Next Postseason Against Weak Pacific

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Throughout team history, Vegas averages 102 points over an 82 game season. This season, 102 points would’ve earned Vegas a third place finish in the Pacific Division and a seven game series against Edmonton. There’s a strong case that a healthy Golden Knights roster would’ve given the Oilers a run for their money.

There are no excuses and we need to have a good start and go from there, but this is part of playoff hockey and you’re going to go through adversity. There are no easy games and no easy series, so we’re going to be prepared to go .-Ryan Nugent Hopkins, EDM forward

So far, only the Central Division has had a team eliminated. In a few days, it’s possible two of three Pacific Division teams are sent home packing as well. Sure, Calgary is up a game but Dallas hasn’t been an easy opponent. In the other western series, the Oilers have fallen right into the trap of the underdog Kings. It’s premature but none of the three Pacific teams are looking like favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Let’s say the Golden Knights are healthy enough next season to make the playoffs. If they top off at 102 points they would likely be the second or third team coming out of the Pacific. In that case, Vegas would be guaranteed to face off against a divisional rival. Chances are the familiar faces will be in play in 2022-23. Which statistically favors the Golden Knights.

It’s not just about scoring. There’s a lot more to the game than that.-Daryl Sutter, CGY coach

Since 2017-18, Vegas has a total of 464 points. The Golden Knights have earned more than a third from inside their division. Excluding the now Central Division Coyotes, the Golden Knights have tallied 176 Pacific Division points in 119 games. That’s a hearty .676 winning % against the teams Vegas faces most and in the opening rounds of the playoffs.

Golden Knights fans have now watched how predictable the Pacific division has been for half a decade. LA in and Vegas out was the only real surprise over that period. The landscape will likely stay the same next season.

When the oddsmakers set the lines for next season’s divisional leaders the Golden Knights are likely to be the favorite. Other teams have areas to address as well. Calgary will have to make some big decisions, so will Edmonton, San Jose and Vancouver. LA’s quick climb to the postseason will be interesting if it keeps up, especially if a healthy Vegas team is rolling. In year six no matter what changes have been made the Golden Knights will have a chance to fight for the division and form a path to another conference final. It’s that easy, depending on offseason changes.

SAN JOSE SHARKS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 (41-31-6 90 PTS) – SO (1-0)

Recap: The Golden Knights allowed the opening goal for the sixth straight game giving the Sharks the first lead. Minutes later Chandler Stephenson evened the score 1-1 with a power play goal.

Max Pacioretty gave Vegas their first lead of the contest 7:46 into the middle frame. At the midway point of the period William Carrier buried a one time pass from Keegan Kolesar to extend the Golden Knights advantage 3-1. The Sharks scored late in the period to get within one.

Nic Roy stretched the Golden Knights lead 6:35 into the final 20 minutes. Shockingly, the Sharks were able to even the score and force overtime. Vegas eventually lost in a shootout missing out on a very important point.

The Golden Knights record improves to 42-31-6 falling to the Sharks 5-4 in shootouts. Vegas picks up only one point and trail Dallas by three points for the final Wild Card position. The Golden Knights travel to Dallas for the biggest game of the season on Tuesday night. Puck drop against the Stars is set for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights put on a forechecking clinic against a team that struggles to break out of the defensive zone. They parlayed that into a bundle of shots and enough chances to put a bunch past James Reimer. However, Vegas fell asleep for a couple minutes down the stretch with the SJS goalie pulled and blew a two goal lead. Then, they couldn’t capitalize on a power play in OT. Then they didn’t score a single goal in shootout. They drop a point and they no longer control their own destiny. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena.

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“Best Time Of The Year, It’s Balls To The Walls”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On Tuesday night Vegas coach Pete DeBoer became the 27th winningest coach in NHL history. The 15-year veteran coach clinched his 500th career win against the franchise he coached to the Stanley Cup finals in 2017. DeBoer admitted beating the San Jose Sharks for his milestone win was a little sweeter.

It did. I coached in San Jose for five years, went to a Stanley Cup final, got fired. It wasn’t a revenge thing. There’s a bunch of people on that other team that really contributed to that 500 number. It is a big number. 28 guys in the history game. When you start putting in that perspective it’s pretty special. –DeBoer with Jim Rome

The Golden Knights head coach jumped on the Jim Rome show to chat about his 500th victory and the diversity his club has faced this season. Rome asked DeBoer about the extended injuries Vegas has dealt with and the coach didn’t use that as an excuse for their latest rough patch.

We’ve dropped four or five of our last six in different ways. We hadn’t play poorly but we hadn’t put it altogether for 60 minutes. It was an important win for our team. We had been stumbling, spinning our wheels a little bit. We needed to get some momentum. We’ve got the two busiest months of the year coming up against some really tough teams. –DeBoer with Jim Rome

One reason why it’s difficult to hammer the Golden Knights’ latest stretch is the introduction of center Jack Eichel into the lineup. After a few injured teammates, Eichel has become the biggest offensive focus for opponents. DeBoer mentioned how vital the newest Golden Knight will be in the near and distant future.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 SAN JOSE SHARKS 1 (30-20-4 64 PTS)

Recap: It didn’t take long for the Golden Knights to get on the board as Keegan Kolesar fired home a nifty feed from Brett Howden. Vegas got numerous odd-man breaks through the rest of the 1st but couldn’t extend the lead past 1-0.

San Jose answered back early in the 2nd, but the Golden Knights responded with a classic Misfit Line transition goal by Reilly Smith. After two, VGK had only conceded 10 shots on goal.

Smith tacked on another one early in the 3rd on a beautiful play from Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson. From there, the Golden Knights clamped down on defense allowing almost nothing of danger the rest of the period.

The Golden Knights win their 30th of the season and earn Pete DeBoer his 500th career victory pushing their record to 30-20-4. Next up is an Eastern Conference foe, the Boston Bruins. Puck drop at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday is at 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis:  San Jose is terrible. VGK baited them into giving up transition chances all night, and the Sharks obliged. I still wouldn’t say Vegas has broken out of their scoring funk, but they finished enough to win this game. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 SAN JOSE SHARKS 1 (29-18-4 62 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to San Jose with the intention of snapping their three-game losing streak. Vegas wore down San Jose during a 1st period four minute power play allowing Keegan Kolesar to score his fifth goal of the season. Four minutes later Jack Eichel scored his first as a Golden Knight to stretch Vegas’ lead 2-0.

In the opening minutes of the middle period Max Pacioretty snapped a puck on net that fooled San Jose’s goaltender. The scoring play was reviewed but the refs awarded Pacioretty his 15th goal of 2021-22. 

The Golden Knights continued to control the game in the final frame. Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson was sharp in net stopping all but one of San Jose’s shots on net. Chandler Stephenson put the game out of reach with a last-minute empty-net score.

The Golden Knights record improves to 29-18-4 defeating the Sharks 4-1 to break their three game losing streak. Vegas will have a few days before they take on the Coyotes Friday night in Arizona. Puck drop is set for 6:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Vegas came out in the first period and did enough offensively to grab a lead against a reeling Sharks team. From there, they kind of let San Jose grow into the game, but they were strong enough to never really feel threatened. Thompson was excellent all night. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

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VGK’s Head-To-Head Dominance Over Pacific Division Slipping

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the Golden Knights entered the NHL they’ve done nothing but dominate the Pacific Division.

Not just in the overall standings, in which the Golden Knights have won the division two of the three years they’ve competed in it, but also in the postseason where Vegas has been the last team standing three of the four playoff seasons.

One of the main reasons for this dominance has been the head-to-head play between the teams. Of the six teams still in the division (Arizona left for the Central), the Golden Knights had a combined record of 68-21-8 record coming into this season. That’s 144 points in just 97 games or a points percentage of .742. Against all other teams, VGK have earned 226 points in 194 games for a points percentage of .583.

Literally almost 40% of the points the Golden Knights have earned in franchise history have come on the backs of just six teams. But this year it hasn’t gone as well.

Record against ANA, CGY, EDM, LAK, SJS, and VAN
21-22: 2-4-0 (.333)
20-21: 21-3-0 (.875)
19-20: 13-5-2  (.700)
18-19: 18-8-3 (.672)
17-18: 16-5-3 (.729)

The Golden Knights have won just two games against Pacific Division opponents not named Seattle while dropping four. They’ve lost both division games they’ve played on the road (at LAK, at ANA) and have allowed their opponent to grab at least a point in every game but one, a game they trailed 2-0 six minutes in (vs VAN).

Winning in the division has been a staple for the Golden Knights’ success and one has to wonder what their overall record will look like if they are not amassing huge point totals against the Pacific Division.

Obviously, Seattle has helped as Vegas has beaten them twice in two tries, both in regulation. However, those games were both at T-Mobile Arena and the Kraken appear to be improving as the season progresses. The next two matchups in late March and early April may not be as easy.

There are still 18 games left against division opponents. Including Seattle, the Golden Knights have recorded eight points in the first eight games. To reach their normal pace against the division (.742), they’d need to go 15-2-1.

Making that even trickier, 10 of the 18 games are on the road, including a pair in Edmonton and Calgary who are in 1st and 2nd in the division.

Adding this all up, the fact of the matter is, the Golden Knights are going to need to play much better out of division than they ever have before to reach the playoffs.

There’s no better time than now to start that as nine of the next 10 games are out of the division.

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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