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Knights on Ice — In Spite Of, Notwithstanding, or If You Prefer Despite
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, December 2, 2021


Whichever you prefer, the results will be the same when you’re using these words to describe last night’s Vegas Golden Knights game vs. Anaheim, that Vegas, despite scoring 2 power play goals and 2 shorthanded goals, somehow found a way to lose by a score of 6-5.

It was a strange game, as the unlikely occurrence of an empty-net goal being the game winner, found a way into the story line. This almost never happens, but this season whatever could possibly go wrong for the VGK seems to game after game.

The VGK special teams have been great on the penalty kill and atrocious on the power play this season. They entered last night’s game on an 0-15 streak on the power play, before scoring 2.

Meanwhile, since their first season, the VGK have scored the most shorthanded goals (37) in the league. They currently lead the NHL in shorthanded goals this season with 5.

Robin Lehner in spite of a 7-game winning streak against Anaheim, had a tough night, giving up 5 goals, several of which I’m sure he would like another chance at.

Speaking of what could possibly go wrong now, Mark Stone, who just recently returned to the lineup after missing a number of games, fell into the end boards striking his right shoulder and was hunched over in what appeared to be a lot of pain as he left the ice for the locker room. He returned to the bench a short time later, but by the look on his face as he sat down, it was clear he was still hurting. He also played a regular shift in Vegas’ desperate attempt to overcome a 3-goal deficit. But Coach DeBoer hinted that they’ll better know Stone’s status later today. His determination in returning to the game speaks volumes for his leadership role on this team. But having played contact sports my entire life, this is the kind of injury you don’t really feel immediately; your adrenaline pushes you through. The following day, however, you feel like you’ve been run over by a bus. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stone doesn’t play tomorrow in Arizona.

What’s really discouraging about last night’s loss is that it was not only a divisional 4-point game, but it was against a team that the night before blew a 4-1 lead to the L.A. Kings, another Pacific Division opponent, and were forced to play a 5-minute overtime period and shootout. Both Anaheim and L.A. picked up points in that game. Vegas hadn’t played since Saturday night and had 3 full days off. They should have been the team with the jump in their legs. But history shows that Vegas is 0-5-0 when playing with more than 2 days of rest. Like I said, what possibly could go wrong seems to happen a lot this season.

Division games are critical to your final position in the regular season. Currently, the VGK are a disappointing 4-4 in games against division opponents.

The first 20 minutes were scoreless, then the floodgates opened for 6 goals in the second period. Anaheim led 2-0 before VGK trimmed that to 2-1 on William Carrier’s 3rd goal of the season. Anaheim responded by scoring the next 2 goals to establish a lead of 4-1, the same lead they blew the night before in L.A. The VGK knew this and seemed to be energized; they scored their first shorthanded goal with just 12 seconds left in the 2nd period, reducing the lead to 4-2.

It appeared VGK scored a quick goal to start the 3nd period, but it was disallowed when Dadonov was ruled to have interfered with Anaheim goaltender Anthony Stolarz, replacing John Gibson who had a long night in L.A. on Tuesday. The VGK penalty kill once again not only got the job done, but Mattias Janmark scored the second SHG just 1:58 into the 3rd period and we were back to a 1-goal game.

Jamie Drysdal scored 6:55 into the 3rd to push Anaheim back to a 2-goal lead. The dismal VGK PP did snap their 0-15 streak when Max “Sniper “Pacioretty snapped one by Stolarz with Mark Stone providing a screen in front. And we were back to a 1-goal game with plenty of time (8:30) left.

Deboer pulled Robin Lehner with just over 2 minutes left for the extra skater in their attempt to repeat what the Kings had accomplished the night before. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and when the puck bounced over Shea Theodore’s stick at the blue line, Isac Lundestrom had nothing but open ice between himself and the vacated net. His empty-net goal became the game winner Reilly Smith scored a PPG with just 29 seconds left in the game for their 2nd power play of the night in a disappointing 6-5 loss to a divisional opponent.

Other game notes and quotes. “At the end of the night, you score four or five goals, you should win,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “Our attention to detail defensively wasn’t good enough.”

“If you want to look at the positive side, I think today with shorthanded goals and power-play goals and 6-on-5 goals, it’s almost like we have to come up with a point,” Janmark said. “But we don’t, so we pretty much gave this one away.”

Vegas scored four goals on special teams for the third time in four games.
This was the first time Vegas has lost 2 games in a row since they lost 4 of their first 5 games (Oct. 14-24)

Vegas has given up 70 goals in 22 games and is currently out of a playoff spot, sitting in 5th place in the division.

My 3 Stars of the Game: Sonny Milano (who had 3 primary assists on Anaheim’s 5 goals against Lehner), the VGK penalty-killing unit (that somehow kept them in the game till the end), Mattias Janmark (1G, 1A and perfect on his faceoffs)

Next game is tomorrow vs. Arizona at Gila Arena 6:30 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.

Pacioretty’s PPG
Whitecloud’s SHG
Janmark’s SHG

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