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Golden Knights Thrive In Consecutive Games Against Same Opponent

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Party like it’s 2021!

For the first time this season the Golden Knights will play the same team in consecutive games. It’s a fairly rare occurrence in a normal season, but was basically the entire schedule in the COVID shortened 56-game 2021 year.

The Golden Knights host the Blues tonight at T-Mobile Arena before both teams travel to face off with each other again on Wednesday in St. Louis.

I’ve always enjoyed (consecutive games against the same opponent) for the rivalry part of it. Whatever happens tonight, one of the teams is going to be angry going into the next game and that can make for a better game. -Bruce Cassidy

This is the only time all year VGK will take on the same opponent in consecutive games, which is unfortunate because it’s a situation Vegas has thrived in over the years.

In the 2021 season the Golden Knights played 20 pairs of games that were two-game series against the same opponent. This does not count when the teams would play each other four consecutive times, which happened twice. 10 times both games were played at home and the other 10 both were on the road. Vegas’ overall record in those game was 29-10-1.

The Golden Knights were almost perfect in the first game of the consecutive home games. They went 9-0-1 with the lone loss coming in shootout to the Wild. They followed those games up going 7-3-0 in the second home game. It was a little tougher on the road that year as they went 6-4-0 in the first game and 7-3-0 in the second.

Of the 20 pairs of games, the Golden Knights won at least one game 18 times and won both 11 times.

Amazingly, the results are even better when this type of schedule quirk happens in a normal regular season. Since their inception in 2017, the Golden Knights have played the same opponent in consecutive games nine times. Their overall record in those 18 games is a stellar 13-3-2.

The first time we saw this was the second and third games in franchise history against the Coyotes. Vegas won in OT in Arizona and then came back to “beat the shit out of” the Coyotes in the team’s first ever home game.

The situation the Golden Knights find themselves in tonight and Wednesday is the one they’ve been best at too. They’ve had three home/road sets like this and they are 6-0-0 in the games winning both at home and on the road each time.

Nothing is ever guaranteed in the NHL, and the Golden Knights are going to have to continue playing like they have the last seven periods if they want to keep their success going in this situation. But, if they win them both, Vegas may have to start leading a charge to reinstate the 2021 schedule format.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 ST. LOUIS BLUES 3 (41-20-6, 88 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights traveled to St. Louis attempting to add to their two game-winning streak. William Karlsson opened the scoring with his 13th goal of the season. The Blues scored five minutes later to even the score 1-1. 

Jonathan Marchessault snapped the tie 0:28 into the middle period. Fellow forward Michael Amadio stretched Vegas’ lead three minutes later. St. Louis scored late in the frame to get within one. After 40 minutes the Golden Knights held a 3-2 advantage. 

St. Louis quickly tied the game in the final 20 minutes. The Golden Knights stole the lead when Pavel Dorofeyev scored his first NHL goal off the visor of his helmet. With five seconds remaining, Alex Pietrangelo iced the game with a long-distance empty net goal. 

The Golden Knights’ record improves to 41-20-6 with their 5-3 win in St. Louis. Vegas will finish their road trip on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Puck drop is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights once again snagged an early lead which allowed them to play a much more controlled defensive game. They extended that lead with a pair of goalie errors by Binnington and then went back into the defensive shell. St. Louis fired back but the moment the game was tied the Golden Knights turned it back on. The gameplay kind of made it look like the Blues were the better and more aggressive team, but the game state was always in VGK’s favor and they ultimately took home the win, so they must have done something right.  (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center.

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Ivan Barbashev: Best Acquisition By Any Team

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Through five games, newcomer Ivan Barbashev has seemingly fit right in. He’s connected well with star center Jack Eichel and fellow wing Jonathan Marchessault on Vegas’ new top line. So far, he’s a point-per-game player and the trio has been responsible for four goals in 15 periods.

The 27-year-old implied he’s learning on the fly and adding his blend of talent and toughness. A recipe that succeeds in the playoffs.

I’m trying to play simple. I’m playing with Jack and Marchy, so it’s real easy to play with them. I’m trying to make some plays for them and it’s working real well. It’s the way I play. Be more physical and mix it up with skill. -Ivan Barbashev

Overall, the trade with St. Louis has been highly graded by NHL coaches, GMs, and insiders.

I think he’s going to go down as one of the best acquisitions of the deadline by any team. He’s not going to be the biggest but I think he’s going to be one of the best. –Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts Podcast

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 ST. LOUIS BLUES 4 (24-11-1, 49 PTS) – SO (2-1)

Recap: Alex Pietrangelo opened the scoring five minutes in against his former team. Pietrangelo roofed a nifty backhand for his 4th goal of the season. The Golden Knights killed off a late penalty to carry a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission. 

St. Louis’ offense woke up in the middle frame. The Blues scored :39 in and twice later in the 2nd period. However, captain Mark Stone scored and made a great individual play to set up Michael Amadio for the game-tying goal. 

Tied 3-3, both teams swapped power plays but neither could score the go-ahead goal. Eventually, St. Louis took the lead midway through the final period but Vegas were fortunate to pick up a late power play. With under two minutes remaining, Chandler Stephenson tied the game to force overtime and a shootout. The captain yet again came through for his team and finished the game in shootout. 

The Golden Knights’ record improves to 24-11-1 defeating the Blues 5-4 in shootout. Vegas will take a break for Christmas and next hit the ice on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Puck Drop against the Kings is scheduled for 7:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Another wacky home game with the Blues. VGK looked pretty good in the 1st period and then followed it up with another dud in the 2nd. However, they were able to score a few times in the 2nd mainly because of the dominance of Mark Stone. The late 6-on-4 goal was a big one and then as always, Logan Thompson gets it done in shootout. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues at T-Mobile Arena.

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Vegas Needs To Finish The Year Strong Before The Heat Turns On In 2023

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night Vegas missed out on a golden opportunity to stash away more money in the bank before their busy season begins. So what, they lost to Buffalo. It’s only one game and a win tomorrow would keep Vegas on pace to cross the 50-point mark by year-end. We’ll get into January later, but for right now the Golden Knights have four more games to focus on in 2022.

Starting tomorrow night, the Golden Knights are set to play statistically some of the league’s worst defenses and offenses. Putting it lightly, the remaining schedule is as soft as Santa’s beard.

VGK’s Remaining 2022 Schedule

  • Weds, 12/21: vs. Arizona (10-15-5, 25 Pts)
    81 Goals Scored – 28th
    106 Goals Allowed – 22nd
    .414 Points % – 28th
  • Fri, 12/23: vs St. Louis (16-15-1, 32 Pts)
    92 Goals Scored – 22nd
    113 Goals Allowed – 26th
    68% Penalty Kill – 30th
  • Tues, 12/21: at Los Angeles (17-12-5, 39 Pts)
    109 Goals Scored – 6th
    122 Goals Allowed – 31st
    70.9% Penalty Kill – 28th
  • Weds, 12/22: at Anaheim (9-20-3, 21 Pts)
    77 Goals Scored – 29th
    133 Goals Allowed – 32nd
    3 Regulation Wins – 32nd

Some would argue that St. Louis and LA aren’t walkovers and they tend to get up for games against Vegas. However, both are struggling to keep the puck out of their own nets and have two of the worst penalty kill units in the league. The Golden Knights will likely attack the net knowing there are holes in each team’s defense. If it plays out, Vegas should be in a position to expose weaknesses in LA & St. Louis’ special teams. Both clubs are manageable but it won’t be as easy as the Golden Knights other two opponents.

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ST. LOUIS BLUES 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (13-3-0 26 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights were back home for the first time since late October riding a nine-game win streak. Vegas welcomed the struggling St. Louis Blues for their first meeting of the 2022-23 season. The Blues took the first lead of game, but Reilly Smith evened the score with a shorthanded goal 59 seconds later. After the opening 20 minutes, the game was locked in a 1-1 tie.

Phil Kessel gave Vegas the 2-1 lead 2:43 into the 2nd period but St. Louis fought back. The Blues tied and took the lead within a :46 span taking a 3-2 advantage into the 2nd intermission.

The game tightened up in the final period as the Golden Knights had to kill two penalties in the opening two minutes. The Golden Knights had several opportunities to match the score but eventually fell 3-2.

The Golden Knights’ record drops to 13-3-0 snapping their nine-game win streak. Vegas will rest up and prepare for a divisional matchup against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. Puck drop against the Sharks is scheduled for 7 PM at T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It just took too long for the Golden Knights to get going offensively in this game. That in addition to the fact that the 2nd period was an uphill battle for a full 20 minutes. Adin Hill was good for most of the game but a miscommunication led to a crucial goal. Can’t win them all, and this is one of the rare instances where the Golden Knights didn’t deserve one. (Recap by Ken)

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Bruce Cassidy Not The Only Coach Frustrated With Preseason Defeats

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This weekend the Golden Knights had their worst outing of the preseason. Vegas lost 7-3 to the San Jose Sharks and their head coach was not happy with their effort.

It’s an attention-getter. You’ve played your games you’ve been at Training Camp, we’re not nearly where we need to be so we’ve got to get the hell back to work the next time we reconvene. That to me is the message that will be sent when we get back together. -Bruce Cassidy

In most cases, exhibition games are considered tune-ups and extended tryouts for prospects. However, with the brief time Bruce Cassidy has had with his new club, every shift counts. With only eight days before Vegas opens the 2022-23 season, it’s vital the Golden Knights continue to learn and execute their leader’s instructions.

After three preseason contests Vegas looked as if they had absorbed their coach’s new defensive look. On Friday night it fell apart. So of course Cassidy was frustrated with the results. This weekend, the Golden Knights coach wasn’t the only one to voice his concerns after lopsided defeats.

Tonight, a lot of the pressure in our D-zone we couldn’t handle it. We couldn’t handle their speed. Consequently they get the opportunities. We’re going to get better but it’s just not happening as quickly as I’d like it to be. -Bruce Boudreau, Canucks coach

After a 4-0 shutout, Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan told the media he was reluctant to talk about his team’s effort. In Pennsylvania’s other metropolis, Flyers bench boss John Tortorella was focused on his player’s confidence. In St. Louis, coach Craig Berube was at a loss for words.

Not enough. We didn’t do enough all around. It wasn’t a very good game. We should’ve played better for them, it was a great crowd.-Craig Berube, Blues coach

This very well could be a ploy from Cassidy and other veteran coaches to get their players’ mentally before regular season action. If you ignore the score, there were several positives to take away from Vegas’ fourth exhibition game. Offensively, Jack Eichel looks dangerous and heathy, while Mark Stone flashed his play-making abilities in his return, and Paul Cotter continued his seemingly undeniable run at a roster spot.

Also, it should be noted that Jake Leschyshyn dropped gloves and defended himself after landing a clean but hard hit on a Sharks player. That’s the character and culture stuff that un-frustrates Cassidy and other coaches.

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