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Knights on Ice — VGK Starts the Game Short and They End the Game Short
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Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, May 4, 2021


Once again, the VGK could not assemble a full contingent of players last night in a game that very well may be the reason they don’t finish in first in the Honda West Division. They started the game with only 11 forwards dressed, as Max Pacioretty, the team’s leading goal scorer, was held out for an undisclosed injury. Max missed the entire 3rd period on Saturday night. His absence didn’t seem to matter at first, as Vegas had already scored 5 goals and the Knights hadn’t lost a game in franchise history when they’d scored 5 or more goals. 

Vegas also entered the 3rd period with a 2-goal lead, Vegas had a record of 24-1 this season when leading after 2 periods. The only loss was against Minnesota on April 3rd at T-Mobile, when the Wild scored 2 3rd-period goals for a 2-1 win. Last night Minnesota dug deep and overcame a deficit of 2 goals multiple times once at 4-2 and another time at 5-3 before scoring 3 unanswered goals in the 3rd for the 6-5 win. 

What makes this even more painful is that Minnesota’s last 2 goals came just 26 seconds apart. And to make matters worse, there was only 1:32 left to go in the game.  

Vegas vs. Minnesota is just a bad marriage. That’s the best way I can describe it. This season Minnesota is 6-1 vs. Vegas and has won the last 5 games in a row while outscoring Vegas by 13 goals. Overall, since entering the league in 2017, Vegas is 4-10-1 against Minnesota. This record does not bode well for the VGK if they need to beat Minnesota in a best of 7 playoff series. 

What makes this loss sting? The Colorado Avalanche were losing to the San Jose Sharks last night by scores of 3-1 and 4-2 with just 11 minutes left in the game before Colorado scored 3 goals in the 3rd period and the game winner in overtime to now close the gap to just 2 points behind Vegas for the top spot. And they’ve played 1 less game. But before you start scrambling to look at Colorado’s remaining schedule, keep in mind that Minnesota now trails Vegas by only 4 points and the two play again on Wednesday night. These 3 teams could very easily switch positions before the season ends.  

When I mentioned at the beginning of this article that Vegas started the game with only 11 forwards instead of the customary 12, I should have mentioned that the Peyton Krebs was the 11th forward. He’s their top prospect from the 2019 NHL draft and 17th pick overall. Krebs picked up his first NHL point with the primary assist on Alex Tuch’s goal. Krebs didn’t get a lot of ice time for the game, especially in the 3rd period. That’s expected, as DeBoer needs to have trust in Krebs’ defensive abilities before using him in all spots of the game. Krebs had only 9:05 of ice time for the entire game, which consisted of 15 shifts. So, in actuality, Vegas was playing 2 forwards short last night. Between injuries and the dreaded salary cap issues, this is starting to play a big role in this run to the finish line.  

Robin Lehner and Cam Talbot both had games they would like to forget.

Talbot said this post game: “But I’ve got to keep my composure back there and play for the other 19 guys on the bench. I did everything in my power to not let it affect me and go out there and make the saves that I needed to. I still wasn’t happy with my overall game tonight, but I thought I played pretty well in the third, and guys did a heck of a job coming back and battling for me.” 

Robin Lehner echoed similar words in his post-game comments: “I have to be better”  

While watching the game, even though the VGK were winning, I thought Lehner was struggling for the most part. He just looked uncomfortable. He has now lost 2 games in a row after going 15-1 as a VGK since he arrived from the Chicago Blackhawks. Of his 12 wins this season, 4 have come against the LA Kings, 3 against Anaheim, 2 against St. Louis, 2 against Arizona, and 1 against the Sharks. Granted, the rotation has been friendly to him as he hasn’t faced Colorado and now has lost twice against Minnesota. The first time was on April 1st in a shootout. He’ll have to beat both of these teams come playoff time if Vegas wants to go deep into the playoffs. 

Other Game Notes 

Vegas leads the league in goals scored by defenseman, with 32. Shea Theodore and Alec Martinez scored last night. Martinez’s was a power play goal from the spot that’s usually occupied by Pacioretty on the PP unit. Vegas’ 3 goals in the first period were the most goals they’ve ever scored in a period in Minnesota. It should have been enough, but it wasn’t. Vegas has now lost 2 of 3 after winning 10 in a row. For the first time this season, Vegas gave up a power play goal when the opposition had a 2-man advantage. Alec Martinez streak of 46 games with registering at least 1 blocked shot ended last night.

My 3 stars of the game 

1) Joas Brodin (1G, which was the GWG, and 1A) 

2) Nick Bonino (2G, 1A) 

3) Kirill Kaprizov (1G, 1A, and drew 2 penalties because of his skill, which led to the 5-on-3 power play advantage) 

Next game is Wednesday vs. Minnesota Wild @ 5 PM Pacific Time at Xcel Energy Center. 

If you want to hear and see more VGK content please check out the podcast I do with Eddie Rivkin on YouTube. It’s called Hockey Knights in Vegas. Here is a link to our previous podcast. Enjoy.

Hockey Knights in Vegas – YouTube 

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. 

Tuch goal and Krebs first NHL point
Minnesota’s 2 goals late in the 3rd period
Mark Stone 21st goal of the season

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