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Knights on Ice — VGK Explode for 4 Goals in the 3rd Period
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, March 23, 2021


The St. Louis Blues were in Las Vegas relaxing on Sunday, waiting for the VGK. The Knights had to play Sunday against the Kings in L.A., then had to jump on a plane and within 25 hours face the well-rested Blues at T-Mobile. For Vegas, it was also the 7th game in 11 day, while St. Louis was riding a 2-game win streak after defeating the San Jose Sharks on Friday and Saturday. It all added up to a clear advantage for St. Louis, especially considering the VGK’s sub-par performance against the Kings on Sunday. Except no one told St. Louis that the VGK are undefeated (4-0) in the 2nd game of a back-to-back this season.

Actually, under Coach DeBoer, the VGK have never lost when facing this situation. The last 2 games in March 2020 before the shutdown were back-to-back games against Calgary and Edmonton on March 8 and 9. Vegas won both, 5-3 vs. Calgary and 3-2 vs. Edmonton in OT.

Last night, a 4-goal explosion in the 3rd period broke the game wide open. The teams were tied at 1-1 after the first 40 minutes, with a first- period goal by Jonathan Marchessault, his 9th of the season, and a 2nd period goal from Vince Dunn of St. Louis. The final score of 5-1 kept Vegas undefeated in the 2nd game of any back-to-back games they have played under the coaching of Peter DeBoer.

Overall, the VGK have played 40 back-to-back games since the 2017-18 season and their record is 24-13-3. When you pull out the 5-0 under DeBoer, you can see how impressive the team’s current streak is.

The 4-goal explosion was on the shoulders and long stick of Mark Stone, who put 2 goals behind Jordan Binnington on just 3 shots. Stone also picked up an assist on William Karlsson’s PPG for just another normal 3-point night in March 2021 for Mark Stone. Stone leads the entire NHL with his 21 points in March (8G, 13A) His first goal in the 3rd turned out to be the game winner, his 7th. He shares the NHL lead for GWG with Auston Matthews. Matthews’ 7 GWG are part of his 21 goals. Stone has 7 GWG with just 12 goals scored. Even Connor McDavid with 21 goals has just 6 GWG and Leon Draisaitl’s 6 GWG come with 18 goals scored.

Stone is a monster when it comes to clutch scoring and inspiration. He has spoken out twice recently about his team’s play following poor performances and the team has responded in a big way. When he was named Captain of the VGK, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of a captain just yet. The VGK have proven to be a winning team since their inception and never had a captain nor seemed to need one. I can say now that this was the right choice at the right time. He’s a leader who leads by example and he leads with his long stick, not only offensively but on the defensive side of the puck.

Based on Stone’s performance through 29 games, he must be considered for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, an annual award given “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.

This award normally goes to centers; only 9 times in the 42 years that this trophy has been awarded has it gone to wingers. The last non-center to win this award was Jere Lehtinen, a right-winger for the Dallas Stars in the 2002-03 season. Stone at this point is the clear favorite to become the 10th winger to receive this prestigious award.

The VGK are almost unbeatable in the 3rd period; they’ve scored 43 third-period goals this season and have a +19-goal differential. Robin Lehner is just as impressive in the 3rd period; in his 7 starts, he’s 5-1-1 and has only given up one 3rd period goal. That one was on Jan. 22 in a 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.
The VGK power play, which I’ve been critical of all season, scored 2 goals within 3:12, Karlsson at 14:56 and Stone at 18:08 in the 3rd period. They had 9 SOG during their 3 power plays. St. Louis had 2 power plays with only had 1 shot on Lehner.

Well, we’ve all waited a long time for this and I was wondering if it was ever going to happen. Keegan Kolesar has done everything but score a goal, but last night he finally got his first NHL goal in his 26th game and his teammates seemed to enjoy it more than he did.

Kolesar described it. “A lot of congrats and ‘about time.’ A lot of good laughs. I think they might have been more excited than I was.”

Other game notes. Dylan Coghlan who had a game to forget in L.A. on Sunday was a healthy scratch, replaced by Nic Holden. Cody Glass was also scratched and he was replaced by Patrick Brown on the 4th line.

The play of the 3rd and 4th lines last night was instrumental in allowing Coach DeBoer to roll 4 lines the entire game, especially considering the back-to-back situation they were faced with
The line of Marchessault (7), Karlsson (4), and Reilly Smith (6) had a total of 17 SOG. They accounted for 2G and 3A. The entire St. Louis Blues team had 16 SOG and 1 goal.

My 3.5 Stars of the Game: Mark Stone (2G, 1A and the GWG),
William Karlsson (1G, 1A), Keegan Kolesar (1G, how could I not give him one of the stars?), the entire Misfit line who’ve been together since day 1 (19-71-81) and had a whale of a game.

Next game is Thursday vs. Colorado 6 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?

Karlsson’s PPG

Kolesar’s first NHL goal

Stone’s GWG

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