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Knights on Ice — Look Who Is No Longer Invisible
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Sunday, March 14, 2021


Who knew I could influence Shea Theodore? Not me. I mentioned after Friday night’s game that Shea Theodore was invisible and the VGK needed him if they were headed deep in the playoffs. He’s instrumental in the success of their power play along with Alex Pietrangelo. Well, last night Shea had the type of game we know he’s capable of with a goal and an assist in the VGK’s win in St. Louis by a score of 5-1.

For the first time in VGK history, they beat the St. Louis Blues in 60 minutes without needing overtime or a shootout. They slayed some dragons in St. Louis in the back-to-back games and created some space between themselves and the Blues in the standings. The VGK now are 4 points ahead with 3 games in hand and they lead the Minnesota Wild by the same 4 points. The 2 losses against the Wild were the only blemish of this 6-game road trip.

Last night’s win makes a big difference in going 4-2 in these 6 games instead of 3-3. First place in the Honda West Division is imperative; this assures the first-place team of home ice in their first- and second-round matchups. This takes into account that by playoff time, capacity restrictions at home arenas will (probably, hopefully) no longer exist.

Shea Theodore’s goal was his first in 17 games; the last time he scored was on Jan. 22 in a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. It was on Vegas’ very first shot on goal in the game at the 4:01 mark of the first. It was the 3rd time this season that the VGK have scored on their first shot of the game. Shea vacated the blue line, just as Coach DeBoer has designed for his defensemen, and skated into the slot between the 2 faceoff circles. There, he took a pass from Jonathan Marchessault after William Karlsson took the puck along the right-wing boards and sent a between-the-legs pass to Marchessault, who saw Shea moving into the slot in front of the Blues’ net. Shea snapped a shot past Ville Husso for the 1-0 lead.

We know from their previous games against the Blues that goals are scored in bunches and that was what was expected last night. But Shea’s goal was the only one scored in the first 2 periods by both teams combined, before 5 goals were scored in the 3rd.

Shea also assisted on Mark Sone’s first goal, which turned out to be the game-winner goal. He made a nice hand-eye-coordination play, keeping the bouncing puck inside the blue line with his backhand that kept the play alive in the offensive zone and did not force the VGK to have to vacate the offensive zone to keep the play onsides.

Stone’s 2nd goal of the game in the 3rd period turned about to be some insurance. With the score 3-1, Vegas took 2 penalties within 67 seconds of each other, giving the Blues a 2-man advantage. The Blues had scored a PPG in their previous 6 games and with the 2-man advantage, things became a little dicey for Vegas. Could this be headed into another comeback, forcing the game into overtime once again? There are still some issues with the VGK this season, especially their power play, but what has been stellar from their first game back on Jan 14th is the penalty-killing unit. At one point this season, they had the #1 ranked PK unit; they’re now ranked 5th with an 85.3 kill percentage. The unit didn’t let the team or Fleury down, killing off the 2-man advantage that put the “oh no here we go again” on the lips of many of the VGK fans watching.

Marchessault’s assist on Shea Theodore’s goal was his 200th point as a VGK, the first player to reach this milestone.

Fleury entered this 2-game series with 12 wins and tied for 4th place overall for wins among goaltenders. He moved into 2nd place with his 14th win in 19 games, trailing only Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay, who has 17 wins in 21 games. They have almost identical stats. Fleury has a .935 save percentage and 1.81 GAA. Vasilevskiy is.934 and 1.84. These are your 2 front runners as of today for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the top goaltender.

Last night, Fleury stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced, 8 on the Blues’ 4 power plays. St. Louis was 0-4 on their power play.

Cody Glass was moved from the 3rd line to the 4th line Friday night; last night, he was a healthy scratch. DeBoer liked what he saw with the 3rd line of Tuch, Roy, and Nosek. Glass was replaced by Patrick Brown, who is on loan from the Henderson Silver Knights.

Other notes of interest . Speaking of the Silver Knights, did DeBoer tip his hand when he played Fleury on back-to-back nights? Especially considering that Vegas had played 6 games in the past 9 nights and have 5 upcoming games in the next 9 days. Is this an indication that Robin “Panda” Lehner is set to return to action?

Mark Stone has 14 points in March, more points than days played ,and has a 7-game point streak going.

The VGK scored 3 goals on just 9 shots in the 3rd period.

So, since I mentioned Theodore being invisible and it worked, I will try this for Reaves. Reaves hasn’t scored a goal in 25 games, has just 2 assists, and is a –5. Reaves needs to step up to get the 4th line involved with the scoring. Let’s see how this works out. I may be on to a new career in fortune telling of some sort.

My 3 Stars of the Game: Mark Stone (2 goals including the game-winner), Max Pacioretty (1G, 2A), Shea Theodore (1G 1A)
Next game is tomorrow vs. the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile 7 p.m. Pacific Time

Your comments and opinions are welcome here at Las Vegas Advisor or you may contact me directly at [email protected] or on my Facebook page or the Facebook page of Vegas Hockey Guy or on Twitter @TheRealJoePane.

One other note: If you’re reading this blog from Facebook or Twitter and would like to access it earlier in the morning before I share it on social media, it’s usually published by 8 a.m. the morning after a game on LasVegasAdvisor.com. What better way is there to enjoy your morning coffee than reading my take on last night’s VGK game?

Theodore’s opening goal

Stone’s first goal

Stone’s second goal

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