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Knights on Ice — One Tough Shift, Plus 51 seconds, Dooms the VGK
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Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Monday, March 22, 2021

 

The VGK lost yesterday to the L.A. Kings by a score of 3-1 and it was all because Dylan Coghlan gave the puck away 3 different times on the same shift. His inability to keep the puck on his stick and clear the zone allowed Sean Walker to score his first goal of the season after Andre Kopitar appeared to limit the movement of Fleury’s legs in a pile of bodies in the blue paint, similar to the pile of cars on the I-15 on most Sunday nights headed back to California.

Coach DeBoer challenged the goal for goaltender interference. Denied. The failed challenge resulted in a penalty for delay of game and 51 seconds later, Dustin Brown, the Kings’ leading scorer, deposited his 14th goal when he redirected a pass into the net for the 2-0 score. Brown’s goal was all that was needed; Vegas manage only one goal by Tomas Nosek in the 3rd period.

In an attempt to create some offense, Pete DeBoer juggled the 3rd and 4th lines, moving Nosek down and Carrier up and it worked. Nosek scored and Ryan Reaves created a good scoring chance. The first line was missing the VGK’s leading goal scorer, as Max Pacioretty was out with an undisclosed injury. Alex Tuch was moved up to play beside Stone and Stephenson.

Regarding Pacioretty’s absence, Mark Stone said, “We took 16 goals out of our lineup. It’s not easy. Guys got to step up. Can’t have just one or two guys going every night.”

Early leads are important in a hockey game. Yesterday Vegas never led at all. In their 3 previous games, they scored 8 goals in the first period. They lead the league in scoring in the first period and could have used a goal or two, but that didn’t happen. L.A. Goaltender Calvin Petersen stopped 41 of the 42 shots he faced.

Truth of the matter, he stopped all 42: He saved Nosek’s goal, but when it bounced back out off of Petersen, it hit Nosek on the hip and found its way into the net to cut the lead to just 1 goal. It took 38 shots to score on Petersen.

The hope for another VGK 2-goal comeback was dashed when Jeff Carter picked up a fortuitous bounce off Nic Hague’s skate just inside the blueline and skated in on Fleury on a breakaway. Carter went from his forehand to his backhand drifting to his left. This movement forced Fleury to move left to right, which opened up his 5-hole (the space between his pads). Carter slipped the puck into the 5 hole and the Kings regained their 2-goal lead just 55 seconds after Nosek had cut the lead in half.

Lots of streak were broken yesterday: the VGK 5-game winning streak, Mark Stone’s 10-game point streak, and Shea Theodore’s 6-game point streak. It was also the first game since the 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on March 1st that no goals or points were scored by a VGK defenseman. The VGK game plan and success are dependent on their defender’s joining in on the rush and contributing. Fleury’s attempt to win his 17th game in 22 starts was foiled.

The VGK power play continues to be their Achilles heel; they were 0-4 on the power play, including an extended 5-on-3 advantage.

At one point, it appeared that Chandler Stephenson had scored a goal just as Drew Doughty moved the net off the pegs. Drew was issued a 2-minute minor for this infraction.

In the NHL rule book, rule # 63.6 says, “Awarded Goal – In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions a defending player, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts. When the goal post has been displaced deliberately by the defending team.”

I would have to assume that upon review, the War Room determined that the puck would not have entered the net even if the net remained stationary. The referee on the ice ruled it a goal, but on the replay, it didn’t appear to cross the line. So the call was reversed and Vegas was still behind 2-0.

In my opinion, it looked like Doughty’s momentum caused the goal to dislodge and it didn’t appear intentional, which would not be a penalty. Vegas got the benefit of the doubt on this call, but could make nothing of it, as their power play for the most part remains powerless.

Reilly Smith had a number of golden scoring opportunities’ and either missed a wide-open net, rang the puck off the goal post, or Petersen made the save, a frustrating day to say the least for #19. The look on Reilly Smith’s face told the story of his day.

My 3 Stars of the Game: Dustin Brown (GWG, his team leading 14th), Calvin Petersen (41 saves on 42 shots), Sean Walker (1G and determination in not giving up on the mad scramble of bodies in front of Fleury

Next game is today vs. St. Louis at T-Mobile at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. This is the makeup game from the one rescheduled because of COVID.
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?

The opening goal that was unsuccessfully challenged

Jeff Carter’s 5 hole goal

Dustin Brown’s winning goal

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