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

(Photo Credit: 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: 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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Recap:  The Golden Knights started slowly again struggling to even get a shot on net in the 1st period. The first two Sharks shots both beat Lehner giving San Jose a 2-0 lead at the break.

Vegas’ struggles continued into the 2nd as they conceded again on a play in which Nic Hague ran into Zach Whitecloud leading to a 2-on-0 break.

Pete DeBoer shuffled the lines in the 3rd but that didn’t help either as the Sharks continued the scoring with a 4th goal.

The Golden Knights end the preseason with a record of 3-4-0, the worst in preseason in team history. Opening Night is next on Tuesday against the Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights stunk… again. Real games next, expecting much more from Vegas in that one than we’ve seen in these last two. (Recap by Ken)

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

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Will The Pacific Division Be More Challenging For Vegas in 2021-22?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After four NHL seasons the Golden Knights have benefited by playing in the Pacific Division. Since 2017, Vegas has played 113 games against their divisional “rivals” and tallied a total of 168 out of a possible 226 points. That’s an astonishing .743 Points % against the Pacific Division in four seasons.

Hockey’s been a little bit tough with our team not being very good the last few years and not getting back to the playoffs… Things are looking up for us now. We got some new players and some young guys coming up. I’m excited for this season to start.- Drew Doughty, LAK defenseman on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Let’s be honest, it’s been easy street for the Golden Knights since they entered the league.

VGK All-Time Record vs. Pacific Division

vs. Anaheim: 20 Games (17-3-0) 34 Pts, .850 Pts %, 74 Goals For, 37 Goals Allowed, +37 Goal Differential

vs. Arizona: 20 Games (14-6-0) 28 Pts, .700 Pts %, 57 Goals For, 46 Goals Allowed, + 11 Goal Differential

vs. Calgary: 11 Games (8-3-0) 16 Pts, .727 Pts %, 42 Goals For, 31 Goals Allowed, + 11 Goal Differential

vs. Edmonton: 11 Games (6-4-1) 13 Pts, .591 Pts %, 35 Goals For, 31 Goals Allowed, +4 Goal Differential

vs. LA: 21 Games (11-8-2) 24 Pts, .571 Pts %, 63 Goals For, 60 Goals Allowed, +3 Goal Differential

vs. San Jose: 20 Games (16-1-3) 35 Pts, .875 Pts %, 78 Goals For, 40 Goals Allowed, +38 Goal Differential

vs. Vancouver: 10 Games (8-0-2) 18 Pts, .900 Pts %, 45 Goals For, 26 Goals Allowed, +19 Goal Differential

Since their existence the Golden Knights have proven to be the team to beat in the Pacific. Vegas has a positive goal differential against every team in the division and holds an overall goal differential of +123, talk about dominance. All indications show it should be the same in 2021-22.

Only a few west coast teams have kept their games with Vegas competitive but still not enough to threaten their path to the playoffs. Sure, San Jose won their seven game series in 2019 but in the regular season it’s been embarrassingly lopsided. Since that series three postseasons ago, the Sharks have been a non-factor in the Pacific, same goes for Anaheim, Calgary and Vancouver. However, two clubs that will make things more difficult for Vegas this season are the Kings and Oilers. Each team has challenged Vegas in the regular season being edged out by one game in their series history with the 31st franchise.

While it’s hard to make judgements based off two exhibition games but it’s safe to say that Los Angeles is an improved club. Even with a lack of talent in their lineup the King’s have competed in most matchups. Coming into 2021-22, LA and Knight killer Philip Danault will continue to frustrate VGK’s offensive threats. Coveted prospects are performing at a high level and LA’s star veterans could create further problems for Vegas and the rest of the Pacific Division.

There’s not much to say about Edmonton. As long as they dress Connor McDavid every game is up in the air. Same can be said for the newest team in hockey. Seattle is the biggest wildcard in the division. Based on what the Golden Knights did in their inaugural season you’d be a fool to count out the Kraken. Calgary, San Jose and Vancouver are expected to finish below Vegas but one of those three teams could make a surprising push for the postseason.

All in all, the Pacific Division is still considered relatively weak but has improved. Vegas is the only team that isn’t being doubted by analysts across the league. The other seven teams have questions to answer and it should be a tight battle for two of three divisional playoff spots. Although the Pacific may have gotten better and could make it more difficult for Vegas to run away with the division but it’s still the Golden Knights to lose.

SAN JOSE SHARKS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (Preseason Game 1) 2-1 SJS Shootout

Recap: It may have been an exhibition game but Vegas fans cheered like it was Game 1 of the regular season. The Golden Knights hosted the San Jose Sharks for their first preseason game of the year from T-Mobile Arena

San Jose took the first lead of the game 15:29 into the first period and added another 1:02 into the second frame. Down two goals, Vegas’ Paul Cotter took advantage of his ice time and flipped one by Sharks goalie Adin Hill. Cotter received a nice pass from linemates Jack Dugan and Brett Howden to finish off the rush to put the Golden Knights on the scoreboard. San Jose would score again to take a two goal lead into the second intermission.

Newcomers Evengii Dadonov and Nolan Patrick had some strong plays on 5-on-5 and the Power Play. Dadonov made a nifty move in front of San Jose’s net collecting the puck and trying to jam it through Hill’s pads. Patrick had a beautiful tip attempt on the side of the Sharks goal that just missed the open corner of the net. On the power play both players were involved cresting a nice slot opportunity for Dadonov.

Patrick would register a power play point early in the third when Max Pacioretty chopped in a loose puck to get Vegas within one. Dadonov and Pacioretty connected later for a great chance midway through the third that was stopped by San Jose. The Sharks would regain their two goal lead 4-2 with a quick goal on a late game power play. Vegas fought down the stretch but couldn’t close the gap.

The Golden Knights drop their first preseason 4-2 to the Sharks. Vegas prepares to take on the Colorado Avalanche this Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena. Puck drops at 7 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Golden Knights looks out of sorts for a good portion of this first preseason game. A few times here and there they’d get good shifts (mostly from the middle-six) but for the most part it was few and far between. They lost the fake shootout too.

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

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Offseason Additions And Subtractions In The Pacific Division

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are back at home in the Pacific Division where they have dominated the competition over the past four seasons. A lot has changed since 2019 though. The NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, are now in the Pacific, Arizona has left for the Central, the Canadian teams all look much different now, and the trio of California teams each ready to see if their rebuilds can start taking shape.

Everyone here already knows all about the Golden Knights and the Kraken are a complete wild card heading into this year, so let’s take a look at the key additions and subtractions from each of the other six teams in the Pacific.

Anaheim Ducks

Add: Greg Pateryn, Danny O’Regan
Subtract: Haydn Fleury, Danton Heinen, Andy Welinski

For a team that is supposed to be in the middle of a rebuild, this was a shockingly boring offseason for the Ducks. They still have a bevy of prospects that could break through at any moment, but looking at what we saw last year coupled with the mild offseason, Anaheim is probably the worst team not only in the Pacific but in the entire NHL.

Calgary Flames

Add: Blake Coleman, Nikita Zadorov, Tyler Pitlick, Trevor Lewis, Andy Welinski
Subtract: Mark Giordano, Josh Leivo, Derek Ryan, Dominik Simon

Losing Giordano hurts, a lot, but they did well to bring in usable players to replace what went out this offseason. Coleman will likely be an excellent option to play somewhere in their strong top-six and it will allow for a bit more depth through what has been a fairly weak 12-man forward group the last few years. One of these times Zadorov is going to find the right fit and become the player most believe he can become, and this certainly might be it. The rest of it is somewhat of a depth reshuffle which is always good for a team that struggled the year before. Calgary likely won’t challenge Vegas atop the division, but they could be a sneaky tough team and they are always a pain in the butt to play against.

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Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: The Golden Knights came out motivated to win their last regular season game and a chance to win the West Division. Alex Pietrangelo got things going in the 1st period, scoring his seventh goal of the season. Keegan Kolesar doubled the score :56 seconds later. Vegas held a 2-0 advantage after the opening twenty minutes.

William Carrier continued the scoring for Vegas in the 2nd period. Carrier tripled the lead chipping his sixth of the season. Jonathan Marchessault contributed his 18th to give the Golden Knights a 4-0 edge.

Vegas forward Dylan Sikura scored his first goal as a Golden Knight and later added another in the final frame. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury pitched a perfect game in net to register his sixth shutout of the season.

With their 6-0 victory in San Jose, the Golden Knights finish the regular season with a record of 40-14-2. The Golden Knights now wait for Colorado to conclude their season tomorrow night. Vegas will win the West Division with a Colorado loss against LA. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights showed up to play a game they needed. The Sharks didn’t for a game they didn’t. (Analysis by Ken)

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

  • Podcast (whenever the playoff series is set)

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Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: The Sharks took the first lead 2:38 into the game. However, a few minutes later Jonathan Marchessault tied the contest with his 13th goal of the season. The game was locked up 1-1 after the opening twenty minutes.

San Jose regained the lead 11:07 into the middle frame but again Vegas’ top players responded. After coming short on two previous power plays captain Mark Stone scored the equalizer. From that point, the Golden Knights took over.

Leading 3-2 in the 3rd period Marchessault extended the lead scoring his second of the game. New acquisition Mattias Janmark slipped in an empty net goal giving his team a 5-2 finish.

Vegas’ record improves to 33-11-2 after their 5-2 victory against San Jose. The Golden Knights get an extra day off and won’t hit the ice until Saturday. The game against the Anaheim Ducks is scheduled for 6 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights controlled a majority of the play despite falling behind a few times in the game. Every time these two teams play each other, it feels like eventually the goals will come for Vegas, and tonight they did. (Analysis by Ken)

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

  • Ken and Jason “podcast” about the Lehner comments
  • Shin sniping

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Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: It was a historic night at T-Mobile Arena. San Jose forward Patrick Marleau passed hockey legend Gordie Howe’s all-time games played record in front of 3,950 Golden Knights fans.

San Jose got on the board first midway through the period. The Golden Knights were awarded two power play opportunities in the opening twenty minutes but couldn’t convert them into a goal.

The Sharks doubled their lead :29 seconds into the middle period. Mark Stone answered back a minute later with a power play goal to cut the lead in half.

Trailing 2-1 with 20 minutes remaining in the game Stone got to work again. The captain tied the game with his second power play goal of the evening. Robin Lehner was strong down the stretch shutting San Jose down in the final 20 minutes.

The Golden Knights and Sharks went back and forth in overtime but neither team could score the game-winner. Alex Tuch was the only player to score in a shootout and the Golden Knights pulled off a 3-2 victory.

Vegas’ record improves to 32-11-2 after their 3-2 shoutout victory against San Jose. The Golden Knights and Sharks resume their two game set on Wednesday night. The game is scheduled for 6:30 PM PT. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Mark Stone played spoiler on Patrick Marleau’s special night. He single-handedly willed the Golden Knights across the regulation finish line scoring twice on the power play. In OT the Golden Knights continued to be dominant but couldn’t beat Jones. In a shocking twist, Robin Lehner won in shootout stopping all three shots. Fun game. (Analysis by Ken)

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

  • Podcast

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Game recaps and Periscopes are brought to you by Kondler and Associates CPAs. Free tax consultation for SinBin fans!

Recap: For the fifth time in five games against the Sharks, the Golden Knights scored the first goal of the game. Defenseman Shea Theodore gave Vegas the early 1st period lead and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 11 shots from San Jose. After the opening twenty minutes the Golden Knights led 1-0.

The Sharks turned up the pressure in the second period. San Jose rifled 16 shots and scored three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead. The Golden Knights left the front of the net undefended and the Sharks took advantage.

Trailing 3-1 the Golden Knights came out focused for the final period. Cody Glass got Vegas within one scoring on the power play, and Nic Hague tied the game 3-3 with his third of the season. Ryan Reaves had an earlier goal taken back due to goaltender interference but he scored the go-ahead goal in the 3rd period to give Vegas a 4-3 lead. San Jose would get one back but Alec Martinez added an insurance goal late in the period to close the door on the Sharks.

With their comeback 5-4 victory against San Jose, Vegas’ record improves to 20-6-1. The Golden Knights take a short trip to Los Angeles to faceoff against the King’s for the next two games. Friday night’s game is scheduled for 7 PM PT.(Recap by Jason)

Analysis: In what may have been the weirdest game of the season, the result ended up being what we figured it would have been coming in, we just got there a much different way. The 4th line led the way as the only consistent offensive line for the first two periods and then added a goal in the 3rd. Fights from Stone and Marchessault. Goals from Glass, Hague, Reaves, and Martinez. Weird, weird, and weirder, but sometimes that’s what it takes and this Golden Knights team just will not lose to the Sharks. (Analysis by Ken)

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

  • Do VGK really have the most children at home in the league?

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