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Knights on Ice — So Are You a Believer or a Doubter?
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Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Sunday, March 28, 2021

 

I’m not sure you could be blamed if you were a doubter after the way the Colorado Avalanche manhandled the VGK in their last game on Thursday. But there’s no doubt in my mind that you became a believer when the game went to overtime and Max Pacioretty was on the ice. Max and the VGK own the overtime period: six overtimes and six wins for the VGK and Max Pacioretty has 4 of these 6 winning goals, which Max’s leads the entire NHL.

Yesterday Max continued his OT dominance scoring 1:56 into OT for the 3-2 VGK’s much-needed bounce-back victory that kept them in first place in the Honda West Division. They lead the Avalanche by 1 point, 47-46, and have played one less game. The 6 OT wins are the best in the NHL, tied with the Winnipeg Jets.

Pacioretty is as clutch as they come when the pressure is on, along with Mark Stone. If you can’t stop the M&M boys, you won’t beat the VGK on most nights, and especially in a 7-game series.

The VGK are 6-2 following a loss, is a credit not only to the players, but also to the coaching staff; Peter DeBoer seems to have a crystal ball in his game-time decisions. For the first time since both Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury were in the lineup and healthy this season, DeBoer deviated from the goaltender rotation between. We will never know why for sure, but could it have been that the last time Colorado beat Vegas in game one of a 2-game series, the second game was up at Lake Tahoe and Fleury responded with a shutout? In that game Fleury stopped all 29 shots; yesterday, he stopped 22 of 24.

It didn’t start off on a positive note as Joonas Donskoi scored his 12th goal on the first shot of the game when he toe-dragged the puck around and by Brayden McNabb and past Fleury for the 1-0 lead. This was the 3rd time this season that an opposing team has scored on their first shot of the game. It was also the 6th consecutive goal Colorado has scored in these past 2 games against Vegas. Still, Max Pacioretty scored on the first shot of Thursday’s game and that proved to be insignificant in terms of the final score.

The VGK power play has been bad. Especially on the road where they’re 1-27 recently. I’m getting tired of pointing out this deficiency, but I’m here to tell it like it is. So the PPG by Alex Martinez with just 3:28 left in the first period was some refreshing news. They also had 13 shots on their 4 power-play chances yesterday, a season high and an encouraging sign to say the least.

The refreshing feeling didn’t last very long.

Just 1:03 after Martinez’s goal, Devon Toews scored his 6th goal of the season to send both teams into the locker room with Colorado leading 2-1.

In the 2nd period, the only goal scored was by William Carrier and the newly reconnected 4th line of Nosek, Carrier and Reaves, another crystal-ball game-time decision by DeBoer. The curious part of this was that Nosek up on the 3rd line seemed to be a good fit in the previous games. But who can question DeBoer as he sure seems to know which buttons to push and when to push them? Carrier’s goal was only his 2nd goal of the season and it was a skillful one as he redirected Shea Theodore’s slap shot from the point. Nosek received the secondary assist of the tying goal. It was the first time that Colorado goaltender Grubauer had given up more than 1 goal since March 9, 9 games ago.

If you’re wondering where I came up with the headline, look no further than Pete “Crystal Ball” DeBoer.

“For the believers out there, thanks for sticking with us. I know there were some doubters after the last game, but I knew our group would respond with a good effort,” he said in his post-game presser.

Vegas was 1 for 4 on their power play and held the Avs scoreless on their power plays, 0 for 2. With the home-ice advantage, which allows the Avs last line changes, this advantage showed up like a red flag in yesterday’s game, as Vegas only won 37% of their faceoffs, which is critical, especially when the faceoff are in their defensive zone. Just another reason why first place is important; it would give Vegas the last line change in 4 of a potential 7 game series.

My 3 Stars of the Game: Max Pacioretty (GWG and 1 assist on the PPG by Martinez), Alex Martinez (PPG, only their 2nd in their last 28 attempts), William Carrier (1G, which tied the game up allowing for Max to seal the deal in OT)

Next game is tomorrow vs. the L.A. Kings at 7 p.m. Pacific Time at T-Mobile, followed by the final game of March on Wednesday March 31st vs. the Kings.

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 mo
rning 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.

Martinez’ PPG

Carrier’s redirection goal

Pacioretty’s OT winning goal

About Huntington Press

Huntington Press is a specialty publisher of Las Vegasand gambling-related books and periodicals, including the award-winning consumer newsletter, Anthony Curtis’ Las
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Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
E-mail: cs@huntingtonpress.com

 

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