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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 2 (29-16-2, 60 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Washington Capitals looking to break their three-game losing streak. Vegas’ offense came out hot scoring two goals in the opening 7:36 of the game. Alec Martinez wristed in his 1st goal of the season and Nic Roy added his 9th. After 20 minutes the Golden Knights carried a 2-0 lead into the 1st intermission.

Vegas’ offensive continued firing in the middle frame. Michael Amadio, Byron Froese and Paul Cotter all scored 2nd period goals to give the Golden Knights a commanding 5-0 advantage. The Capitals scored late in the period to break up Logan Thompson’s shutout bid. After 40 minutes the local team took a 5-1 lead into the third period.

Cotter tallied his second goal of the game to regain VGK’s five-goal edge. However, the Capitals got one back later in the frame. The Golden Knights ended their three-game with a 6-2 victory over the Capitals.

The Golden Knights’ record improves to 29-16-2 defeating the Capitals 6-2. Vegas will hit the road for the next six games beginning tomorrow in Arizona. Puck drop against the Coyotes is scheduled for 5 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights came out and smoked the Capitals from the second the puck dropped. VGK flew through the neutral zone opening up plenty of chances off the rush and extended zone time. Defensively the gap control was excellent keeping the Capitals from being able to generate much of anything until the game was well in hand. Excellent game from VGK (also a horrendous game from Washington.) (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena.

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VGK Looking To Feast On Another Tired Opponent

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Even though the Golden Knights haven’t taken on the New York Islanders yet this season, VGK return home to a familiar situation. For the 5th time this year, Vegas will take on a team on the second game of a back-to-back.

Last night, the Islanders lost 5-4 to the Arizona Coyotes extending their losing streak to three. They are the third of the previous four teams to lose the front end of the back-to-back before taking on the Golden Knights.

VGK are 3-1-0 in the first four and there are lessons to learn about those games to help give perspective on what we might see tonight.

10/13 vs Chicago Blackhawks
VGK win 1-0

Vegas 2nd game of the season they took on a Blackhawks team that had played the night before in Colorado. Chicago got blasted against the defending champions, allowing four power play goals. The game was 4-1 heading into the 3rd and Chicago ultimately fell 5-2.

The Hawks looked much better against the Golden Knights the following night. They came out and blitzed Vegas attempting 25 shot attempts and generating six high-danger chances in the 1st period. But, Logan Thomspon was tremendous stopping all 10 Blackhawk shots. VGK took over from there landing 17 scoring chances in the 2nd period alone while allowing just 10 the rest of the game. A goal from Paul Cotter was the only one of the game.

Chicago switched goalies from their game the night before in Colorado. Backup Alex Stalock took on the Golden Knights and was excellent in this game.

10/20 vs Winnipeg Jets
VGK win 5-2

This one was the opposite of the Chicago game as the Golden Knights jumped all over the tired Jets, scoring four times in the 1st. Winnipeg also visited Colorado the night before and played into overtime where they defeated the Avs 4-3. Winnipeg held a 3-1 lead in that game but a pair of late 2nd period goals sent it to intermission tied at three where it would stay until OT.

The advanced stats tell a much different story of the game in Vegas though. Despite scoring four times, per NaturalStatTrick.com Vegas landed just four scoring chances and none qualified as high-danger in the 1st period. It was an opportunistic effort from VGK scoring early and often against a backup goalie. The next two periods, like against Chicago, Vegas locked it down allowing just three high-danger chances.

The Jets also chose to play their starter in the front end of the back-to-back before facing the Golden Knights. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 of 33 in Colorado while David Rittich got lit up in Vegas allowing four goals on 13 1st period shots.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 2 (9-2-0 18 PTS) – OT

Recap: Tonight in Washington DC, the Golden Knights began a challenging five-game eastern conference road trip. The Capitals opened the scoring early in the 1st period but Jack Eichel evened the score with 65 seconds remaining in the opening 20 minutes.

Washington broke the tie 1:01 into the middle frame, holding a 2-1 advantage going into the 2nd intermission. 

Vegas had several chances to tie the game early in the final period and then William Carrier scored late to force overtime. Shea Theodore scored off a nice feed from Eichel to give the Golden Knights a 3-2 OT road victory. 

The Golden Knights record improves to 9-2-0 defeating the Capitals 3-2 in Washington. Vegas will next face the Ottawa Senators on Thursday evening. Puck drop against the Senators is scheduled for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It appeared like we were heading for another game in which the Golden Knights could not find a way to score. But, a power play tally from Eichel and then an unlikely hero in Carrier late pushed it to OT. After playing a poor OT last game, they were much better this time, forcing the Caps to give it up and then creatively attacking the goal. (Recap by Ken)

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 3 (41-31-5 89 PTS) – OT

Recap: The Golden Knights gave up the first goal to the Capitals but quickly responded. Alec Martinez tied the game later in the period to make it 1-1 after the opening 20 minutes. After one, Robin Lehner was pulled in favor of Logan Thompson.

Alex Ovechkin scored the only goal of the 2nd period to give Washington a 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes.

Quickly in the 3rd period Evgenii Dadonov tied the game with his 20th goal of the season. Less than a minute later Chandler Stephenson gave Vegas the lead with a power play goal. Late in the period Washington tied the game 3-3 and forced overtime. 

Known for his dramatics, Shea Theodore scored on beautiful individual play to win the game in overtime.

The Golden Knights record improves to 42-31-5 defeating the Capitals 4-3 at home. Vegas picks up two points and trails Dallas by two points for the final Wild Card position. The Golden Knights get a chance to add another two on Sunday night against San Jose. Puck drop for another must win game is set for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: In a game that the storyline will be dominated by the goalie switch in the 1st intermission, it was the Golden Knights’ turnaround in play that really led to the victory. VGK looked like a completely different team towards the end of the 2nd and into the 3rd as they snatched the lead from the Caps. Ovechkin being Ovechkin caused it to go to OT, but Vegas got a hero moment from Shea Theodore once again. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena.

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Vegas Needs Consistency To Manage Challenging Schedule

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Overall, it wasn’t a great weekend for the Golden Knights. They were unable to secure more than three points on their three-game road trip. The Kings, Predators, and Stars all won games as well. Time is running out. So, after an unrewarding weekend the Golden Knights need to quickly find consistency in their game and will need a little luck along the way as well.

Let’s start off positive. The Golden Knights play the 26-42-7 New Jersey Devils tonight at home. NHL computer models predict Vegas will defeat New Jersey fairly easily, so tack on two points to their total. That places them with 89 points, one point behind LA, and two behind Dallas and Nashville. With five games left that keeps Vegas in the hunt. At this late stage of the season that’s all you can really ask for.

We knew we weren’t going to run the table. We talked about that two weeks ago. We were going to drop some points along the way. We’re still right in the thick of things. -Pete DeBoer

After tonight’s game against the Devils, the Golden Knights schedule becomes more demanding. On paper, Vegas has the lineup to win out. Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty’s legs and lungs are building back to form. Thinking optimistically, if they contribute in all remaining games the Golden Knights can win most, if not all.

We’ve got to find a way to score goals in these tough games. In tight, especially. Teams are going to really tighten up in the D-zone here moving forward so we’ve got to find a way to bear down up front. -Alex Pietrangelo

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The Anatomy Of The First Shutout Of The Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It wasn’t just the fact that the Golden Knights recorded their first shutout of the season last night that should have Vegas fans excited about the performance, it’s the way they went about doing it.

Playing against one of the more potent offenses in the NHL, a Capitals team that had not been shutout all season prior to last night’s game, the Golden Knights put in a defensive effort reminiscent to the style of play that led them to last year’s Jennings Trophy.

We talked when we looked at this road trip, the message was very clear, if we weren’t prepared to defend and defend hard we weren’t going to give ourselves a chance to win in any of these four buildings. -Pete DeBoer

The Golden Knights entered the first game of this difficult road trip without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith, Jack Eichel, Alec Martinez, and Zach Whitecloud, so they knew they would have to play a detailed game to keep up with the Caps.

Not only did they keep up, they put in their best defensive game of the 2021-22 season holding a team that averages 3.2 goals a game scoreless. The main principal behind the Golden Knights’ game was simplicity.

They played a simple game with possession which led to a simpler game without it.

The Golden Knights were happy to dump the puck into the Washington zone and get in on the forecheck. They were not afraid to loft the puck out of the defensive zone rather than trying to start a break, and they had a commitment to backchecking that has been missing at times this season.

One of the best stats to indicate this from last night’s game was the giveaway/takeaway battle where the Golden Knights recorded 13 takeaways while giving away the puck just five times. It’s the most takeaways the Golden Knights have recorded in a road game this season and just two more takeaways that they’ve conceded in any game this year.

We got great contributions from just about everybody tonight. -DeBoer

The only real downfall in the game defensively was how often Vegas took penalties. They were called five times included twice within three seconds leading to massive amounts of time of the power play. That’s where the last aspect of the defense came into play, the goaltender.

Robin Lehner was excellent all night, but he was elite on the penalty kill. Lehner was called on multiple times during the nearly two minute 5-on-3 and he even ate an Alex Ovechkin shot that broke his mask.

Lehner ended the game stopping an impressive 3.82 goals above average with 1.44 of that coming in the 16 minutes when the game was played at anything other than even-strength.

All in all, this game was exactly what has been missing from the Golden Knights repertoire this season. Now, it’s time to replicate it.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 0 (25-15-2 52 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights traveled east for a four-game road trip beginning with a matchup in Washington, DC. Each teams had chances, including one power play opportunity a piece but neither could convert.

Michael Amadio scored for Vegas to break the scoreless tie 5:29 into the middle frame.  Amadio’s fourth goal of the season gave the visiting team a 1-0 advantage. The Golden Knights later killed a lengthy 5-on-3 Capital’s power play that helped preserve their one goal lead. 

The Capitals came out shooting in the 3rd period and earned a power play for their efforts. However, Vegas’ penalty kill continued to frustrate Washington’s high end shooters. The Golden Knights then shut down a 6-on-5 opportunity from the Capitals to end the game. 

The Golden Knights record improves to 25-15-1 defeating the Capitals 1-0. Vegas will play back-to-back days facing the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow. Puck drop against the Canes is set for 4 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: For the first time all season the Golden Knights put in a complete 60 minute effort on the defensive end. They completely thwarted everything the Caps wanted to do. Vegas’ attention to details were excellent starting with their in-zone coverage and accentuated by their backchecking. That’s the type of game that’s been missing from the Golden Knights’ arsenal this season, very important to see they can still do it. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals game at Capital One Arena.

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Five Sports Illustrated Experts Pick Vegas To Play For The Cup (Plus Our Picks)

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As we continue holding out for some level of hope for the NHL season to resume, some outlets are continuing the tradition of making their annual Stanley Cup predictions. This year Tampa Bay and Vegas were the two teams most picked to play in the Cup finals by Sports Illustrated.

Five SI experts chose the Golden Knights to participate in the Final if the season were to continue play. Unfortunately, four out of the five picked the Golden Knights to lose in the Stanley Cup Final.

Matt Larkin: Lightning over Golden Knights in six

Sam McCaig: Lightning over Golden Knights in five

Edward Fraser: Lightning over Golden Knights in six

Ryan Kennedy: Lightning over Golden Knights in six

Each prediction had Vegas losing to Tampa in six games or less. Ouch, not even one deciding game. The lone SI expert that awarded Lord Stanley’s cup to the Golden Knights left Tampa out of the Final completely. Here’s his explanation of why he chose VGK as the 2020 NHL champions.

Dan Falkenheim: Golden Knights over Bruins in six

Since Jan. 15, no team has a higher share of expected goals (58.5%). Robin Lehner’s arrival ensured Vegas would enter the playoffs with the NHL’s best netminding situation. And all the sudden, with Max Pacioretty turning back the clock, the Golden Knights looked like the West’s top team before the pause.

Much less drama for the Bruins, some 2,700 miles away. Save for a mediocre 4-5-6 stretch running from early December into the New Year, Boston has been the league’s most consistent team throughout the season. Tuukka Rask’s emergence as the Vezina frontrunner helped the Bruins carve out an eight-point lead in the Atlantic Division and serves as a reminder that he can carry a team as far as he wants to. Both Boston and Vegas are built to withstand the rigors of postseason hockey—each has reached the finals within the last three years—but the Golden Knights are the team that comes out on top in a matchup between recent Stanley Cup losers. -Dan Falkenheim, SI.com

It’s an intriguing matchup, to say the least. The last two Stanley Cup runner-ups battling to end their finals losing streaks. Both teams are recognized for elite-level skill and fantastic goaltending. Plus after the pause, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone will be fresh and fully healthy for Vegas and Boston’s older veterans will get some much needed extra rest for their pursuit.

Although SI went heavy on Tampa, they’re not the team I selected to win the cup. Nor to come out of the East. Here are our predictions for this year’s Stanley Cup finals.

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Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals Photo Gallery – February 17th, 2019

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 2 (31-22-8 70 PTS)

Recap: It was another Kid’s Day at the T-Mobile Arena The Golden Knights got off to a great start against the Washington Capitals. Nick Holden scored his 5th goal of the season 3:43 into the game. Vegas jumped on Washington early and capitalized on their mistakes. Reilly Smith doubled the Golden Knights lead with his 23rd of the season late in the opening frame. After 20 minutes the home team held a 2-0 edge.

Max Pacioretty gave his team a three goal lead 14:06 into the 2nd period. Vegas held Washington to only 6 shots in the period, and 0 shots on the power play. After the first two periods, the Golden Knights were up 3-0.

The Capitals got back into the game in the 3rd period getting two power play goals from TJ Oshie. However, the Golden Knights were able to fight off the Caps attack and close out the game 3-2.

Vegas improves their record to 31-22-8 raising their point total to 70 points. The Golden Knights take on a tough Tampa team on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7p. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Caps sleepwalked through the first 40 minutes allowing the Golden Knights to dictate the game. Vegas took advantage of it though jumping out to a three-goal lead. Washington woke up in the 3rd scoring twice but the VGK response defensively was excellent. It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, but it’s a third straight win and a good one. (Analysis by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena

  • Photo gallery from the game

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Brayden McNabb
** Nate Schmidt
* Reilly Smith

 

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