Recap: The Golden Knights opened the preseason in San Jose in front of a raucous crowd (lol). San Jose opened the scoring quickly potting the first of the game just 24 seconds in. The Sharks ran out to a 3-0 lead before the Golden Knights got on the board for the first time. Pavel Dorofeyev made an excellent pass to Ivan Barbashev who continued his goal scoring ways.
The score got worse in the 2nd as the Sharks took a 5-1 lead before Vegas finally tallied again with a Brett Howden goal.
The teams basically skated in circles in the 3rd period. There were a bunch of penalties.
The Golden Knights drop their first preseason game 5-2 and fall to 0-1-0. VGK are right back at it tomorrow night in Colorado with what’s expected to be a completely different roster. The game is scheduled for 6 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: Imagine playing Stanley Cup Final Game 5, and then the next game you play is a preseason game in San Jose in front of 150 people. Would you care? Didn’t think so. (Recap by Ken)
It’s been no secret that over the past six seasons, the Pacific Division was regarded as one of the leagues least competitive. Let’s face it, for basically the entirety of the Golden Knights’ existence three or four teams were annually counted out of contention before the puck hit opening night ice. Vegas is the only team to reach the Stanley Cup Final in that span and the Golden Knights became the first Pacific division team to win the Cup since 2014.
Heading into the 2023-24 season, the division looks to play out the same way it did last year. Of course, it’s foolish to eliminate teams before the season begins but would anyone be surprised if Anaheim, San Jose, or Vancouver missed the 2024 playoffs? According to Sportsnet, they wouldn’t be.
Whether it’s a repeat from Vegas, a breakthrough for Edmonton, or something of a Cinderella story from Los Angeles or Seattle, might the 2024 Stanley Cup champion come out of the Pacific Division again? Might this division also house the team that “wins” the first-overall selection? –Sportsnet.ca
According to William Hill, the Pacific Division is expected to be conquered by the Edmonton Oilers (+180), the reigning champions (+210) or the LA Kings (+440) in 2024. The divisional odds are not much different from last season’s expected winners. Vegas came away with division with Edmonton and LA filling out the top three Pacific clubs. As you go further down the list, the prices drastically get larger, suggesting that it would be a major surprise if any team outside of the top three took the division.
Earlier this week the San Jose Sharks traded away Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The move wasn’t surprising to anyone as the superstar defenseman and San Jose marriage was due to end at some point. Expectations were low to start with but without Karlsson, the Sharks became even less of a threat in 2023-24. The path for the Golden Knights to repeat as Pacific Division champions just got easier.
Erik Karlsson w/ San Jose vs. Vegas
Games: (19) Regular Season, (7) Playoffs
Points: 6 Assists, 9 Playoff Assists
Minutes: 24:30 ATOI, 27:15 Playoff ATOI
Penalty Minutes: 10 PIM. 4 Playoff PIM
Power Play Points: 1 Assist, 3 PP Assists
W-L-OTL: (4-13-2) 10 Points, (4-3) Playoff Record
Not only will it be easier to defeat San Jose in 2023-24 but one of the league’s best playmakers was shipped out to the Eastern Conference. Let’s face it, Vegas would likely win with or without the three-time Norris winner. It’s a move with a purpose that’ll likely weaken the rebuilding Sharks offense and strengthen the confidence of opponents in low-scoring affairs.
Since Karlsson arrived in San Jose, the Sharks eliminated the Golden Knights in the first round of the 2019 playoffs and then proceeded to hit rock bottom. In 19 games, Vegas won 15 and picked up points in 18. The trend should continue this season when the Golden Knights and Sharks meet four times in 2023-24. Thankfully for the reigning champs, they tend to feast on teams with anemic offenses.
You’re not going to find a fan in this region that will disagree about the importance of acquiring Adin Hill last summer. The Golden Knights surprisingly added a fourth goaltender to their roster via trade with the woeful San Jose Sharks. San Jose’s front office were likely satisfied to receive a fourth-round pick for a player that was not in their plans, while Vegas got a future Conn Smyth candidate in return. Looking back, it’s as lopsided as a deal can but in reality, neither FO believed Hill would do what he did in the postseason.
Tops among this group has to be Hill, who was plucked from the San Jose Sharks by Vegas in August for a fourth-round pick. The journeyman backup had played five seasons when that trade sent him to Vegas, having spent the first four years of his career in Arizona before a 2021 trade had sent him to San Jose. He’d excelled in brief spurts for both clubs, but overall had gotten little opportunity to prove what he was capable of. –Sonny Sachdeva on Sportsnet.ca
To be fair, the national hockey media hadn’t realized before Vegas’ championship run how high Hill climbed to be in the starting role by Game 2 of the second round. Of course, the third-string goaltender was highly profiled in the later rounds, but the general public hadn’t caught up with his rise.
Most NHL defensemen are handed assignments on which opposing player they’ll need to shadow before each game. On a nightly basis, Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is tasked with defending stars, All-Stars, and even future Hall of Famers. On Thursday in San Jose, top defensive prospect Henry Thrun was given the challenge of covering Vegas’ superstar Jack Eichel.
His game transfers and it continued to transfer tonight. All of the things he was good at Harvard, he was good at here. He’s just got a real swagger to his game and he’s confident, and comfortable. He’s out there defending Jack Eichel and doing a good job. He got tested tonight, and he answered the bell. -David Quinn, SJ coach
On a nightly basis, Eichel can create problems for any team, especially a team with 42 fewer points than them. However, no matter how experienced or sought-after a defenseman is, VGK’s top center will need to be more of a factor. Against the Sharks, Eichel skated 21:40 minutes, had a secondary assist on the power play, was 33% from the dot, and was limited to one shot on net. A repeat performance on Thursday will not cut it against top pair d-men in the postseason. It’ll be even more of a problem without the security of captain Mark Stone for the early stages of the 2023 NHL playoffs.
Maybe Eichel and the Golden Knights were victims of their own success on Thursday night after finding out they were the first team to clinch a Western Conference playoff spot. It’s natural to relax and play down to the competition after reaching one of their season-long achievements. Tonight, against the red-hot Wild is not time for positive reflection.
Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to San Jose for their last game of the season against the Sharks. Both teams had quality chances, but San Jose took the early lead on their first shot on net. The Sharks doubled their lead with a power play goal 14:31 into the game. Minutes later Nic Hague slapped a puck into the Sharks net to get Vegas within one. San Jose held a 2-1 advantage going into the 1st intermission.
Vegas was awarded an early second power play and the visiting team took advantage of the opportunity. Forward Ivan Barbashev evened the score with his 15th goal of 2022-23. Midway through the second frame the Sharks regained their one-goal lead. After 40 minutes the home club led 3-2.
With ten minutes remaining in the contest Michael Amadio tied the game with his 14th goal of the season. The game was deadlocked after 60 minutes, and needed an overtime to determine a winner. The Sharks took advantage of a sloppy pass from Alex Pietrangelo and ended the game :50 into OT.
The Golden Knights’ record drops to 46-22-7 losing to the Sharks 4-3 in overtime. Vegas will return home for a conference battle with the red-hot Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: Really poor effort across the board from the Golden Knights. They were sleepy at the beginning, generating nothing of substance offensively and turning the puck over constantly. In the 3rd, they picked it up a bit after the Amadio goal, but still, this is the San Jose Sharks, you should be blowing them out. Just a forgettable game all around. (Analysis by Ken)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.
Recap: The Golden Knights were looking to extend their winning streak to four games by hosting the San Jose Sharks. Vegas was awarded three power play opportunities in the 1st period but couldn’t find the back of the net. The Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 14-4 but the game was scoreless after the opening 20 minutes.
San Jose opened the scoring late in the middle frame. After a very tight period, the Sharks jumped on a rebound and took a 1-0 lead before the second intermission.
Vegas drew another power play in the opening minute of the final period but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity. Minutes later Paul Cotter evened the score with his 11th goal of the season. With 0:16 remaining in the game, William Carrier scored the game-winner in front of the home crowd.
The Golden Knights’ record improves to 33-18-4 with their 2-1 victory over the Sharks. Next Vegas will face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. Puck drop from The Fortress is scheduled for 7:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Analysis: The Golden Knights controlled a good portion of the game and put pressure on the Sharks most of the night, but the power play could not help convert an opportunity and it left the game in the balance. Eventually, a bounce went VGK’s way and Chandler Stephenson made an amazing play with it to find Carrier on the back door. Hard-fought win. (Analysis by Ken)
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.
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)
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)