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Vegas, We Have a Problem
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Friday, January 21, 2022


“Houston, we have a problem” is a line made famous by the1995 movie Apollo 13. The line was spoken by Tom Hanks in his role as astronautJim Lovell, when he and his crew were faced with an oxygen- tank explosion thatleft them with limited air for breathing.

The original quote is “Houston, we’ve had a problem,”but in the movie it was changed to “Houston, we have a problem,” for a more dramaticeffect. Well, it’s now changed to “Vegas, we have a problem,” which iswhat the Golden Knights were forced to say when they needed an overtime goal byShea Theodore to beat the Montreal Canadians by a final score of 4-3 at T-Mobilelast night in front of 18,121. 

The Montreal Canadiens are currently the worst of the32 teams in the NHL with a record of 8-25-6. Even the Arizona Coyotes and the expansionSeattle Kraken have more points and wins than the Canadiens. For the last time Montrealwon a road game, you have to go back all the way to Nov 27 in their 6-3 win overthe Pittsburgh Penguins.

Last night’s game should not have even been close. The VGK sit on top of the Pacific Division with 50 points (24-15-2) and are head and shoulders better than Montreal. But when you “have A problem” like Vegas, things that should be easily handled become very difficult.

There were no oxygen-tank explosions last night, but there was and continues to be a struggling Robin Lehner who looks like he’s struggling for his own supply of air — fighting the puck, making easy saves look tough, and forcing his team to mount yet another comeback to get the game into overtime on a Jonathan Marchessault power play goal with 8:21 left in the 3rd period.

The VGK power play has had its own problems, dating as farback to the playoffs last season against the very same Canadiens. Last night,it actually saved the VGK from suffering what would have been their worst loss ofthe season, scoring 2 PPG on just 3 chances.

The better goaltender last night was Sam Montembeault,who faced 53 VGK shots on goal and stopped 49, despite his record coming into lastnight’s game (2-6-3). At one point in the 3rd period, Robin Lehner had allowed 3Montreal goals on just 18 shots, a dreadful .667 save percentage. The VGK’s 3rdperiod push generate 18 shots on Montembeault just in the 3rd period aloneand 3 in overtime before Shea Theodore’s goal 1:50 in rescued Lehner (Apollo 90)back safely to Vegas before his oxygen tank exploded. 

Is the VGK coaching staff concerned about Robin? I asked Coach DeBoer that very question in his post-game presser and as expected, he punted the question, along with referencing the depleted lineup and the injuries that Vegas has been fighting from October. I didn’t expect him to throw Robin under the bus, but I felt the question needed to be asked.
Robin is a solid goaltender, the one the front office felt they could go to war with, enough that they jettisoned Marc-Andre Fleury into orbit, which landed him in Chicago for no return. Are they now concerned? We won’t know until future roster moves make it clear.

The injury bug is valid. Last night Zach Whitecloud was injured during the warmups and was a late scratch. Mark Stone was unavailable due to COVID. Dylan Coghlan was a last-minute addition to replace Whitecloud and he was very good, playing a career-high 25:08 of ice time, with 5 SOG and 3 blocked shots. William Carrier was moved up to the first line for the missing Mark Stone. Carrier had 1 assist on Chandler Stephenson’s opening goal that gave Vegas their early 1-0 lead just 3:40 into the game on their 1st shot.

Last night’s win ended the VGK 8-game homestand with a disappointing 3-3-2 result, securing just 8 points out of 16. The only thing saving the VGK is that the rest of the Pacific Division is in a freefall. The Edmonton Oilers once sat on top of the division, but now find themselves in 7th place with only the expansion Seattle Kraken behind them. Edmonton was embarrassed at home last night, losing 6-0 to the Florida Panthers. Other game notes and quotes.

Shea Theodore’s OT goal was his 4th as a VGK. Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty have 6 each.

“I think we played well,” Theodore said. “We had a lot of chances, but we had to tighten up defensively. It was definitely a big goal to finish off the homestand on a note like that and hit the road with some positivity.”

Montembeault made an NHL career-high49 saves for the Canadiens (8-25-6), who have lost seven of eight (1-4-3).

“I thought we put in the right amount of work to deservetwo points tonight,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “This league showsyou don’t always get what you deserve, but I thought we worked hard enough to gettwo points.”

My 3 Stars of the game: Shea Theodore (1G, the game-winner,and 2A), William Karlsson (1PPG, 1A), Jonathan Marchessault (1PPG1A)

Next game is the first of a 4-game road trip back east onMonday vs Washington 4 pm Pacific time.

Your comments and opinions are welcome here at Las Vegas Advisoror you may contact me directly at [email protected] or on my Facebook page or the Facebook pageof Vegas Hockey Guy or on Twitter @TheRealJoePane  

For more VGK content, check out the Hockey Knights in Vegas Podcast that can be found at this link or on my Facebook page.  

One other note: If you’re reading this blog from Facebookor Twitter and would like to access it earlier in the morning before I share iton 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 morningcoffee than reading my take on last night’s VGK game.  

Karlsson PPG gives Vegas the lead in the 2nd period

Marchessault PPG that ties the game in the 3rd period

Theodore’s GWG in overtime

About Huntington Press

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