The Las Vegas Golden Knights in their fourth season through 6 games are (5-1) and atop the newly formed Honda West Division with 10 points. They are a perfect, undefeated (4-0) at home in T-Mobile Arena while going (1-1) on the road. The one loss came in their first away game from the “The Fortress” against the Arizona Coyotes but the following game on Sunday, Jan 24, Knights center William Karlsson scored the game-winning goal with 42.7 seconds left in the third period to defeat the Coyotes (1-0) at Gila River Arena.
VGK’s success can largely be attributed to their top tier goalie tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer is going with a rotation between the two which will help keep them both well rested. Fleury has had a very impressive lead-leading start with a (3-0) record that sports a .951 save percentage from stopping 58-of-61 shots. The 36-year old veteran goalie also claimed his 62nd shut out in Sunday’s contest putting him in 17th place on the all-time list, he stopped all 16 shots and the Knights outlasted Arizona with their late score. The Knights currently have the fewest goals allowed in the West division with (12) giving them a +7 differential with their (19) goals scored.
The Knights have great defensive depth as well with off-season star acquisition of Alex Pietrangelo, paired with Shea Theodore they are a force. They make the Lehner and Fleury’s jobs that much easier with better looks and less shots on goal. The defensive duo were expected to do well, especially since the team invested a lot in the trade to land Pietrangelo. The pleasant surprise is the defensive pair of Zach Whitecloud and Nic Hague who have been performing well when in the lineup for head coach Pete DeBoer.
“I think the best compliment I can give those two guys is I never once felt uncomfortable when they were out there, and that’s on the road against a very quick team with a lot of skill and some elite players, regardless of the matchup or who they got stuck out against, I thought they defended well and hard and physically.”Golden Knights Head Coach Pete DeBoer
Hague and Whitecloud are both American Hockey League products and both played for the Chicago Wolves. Whitecloud was with VGK last year and contributed on their postseason run, Hague joins the team this year and is making the most out of his second NHL stint.
Right wing Matt Stone has been electric this season with 6 assists to go along with 2 game-winning goals. On the other side left wing Max Pacioretty has 1 assist and 3 goals on the season with one of those goals being the overtime game-winning shot 7 seconds into the period to beat the Anaheim Ducks on Jan 16. The defense has also gotten into the offensive push the past few games with Alex Pietrangelo having 2 assists and one goal and with Shea Theodore having 3 assists and 3 goals on the season. Something to keep an eye on is the Golden Knights and their “third-period magic”, they have started slow in the first two periods of games this season and their wins are attributed to late offensive theatrics. It could be the shortened off season and the roster changes that need time to gel, in the meantime the defense and goal tending has given them some room to get the games sorted.. so far.
In Case You Missed It
Matt Stone was named the first ever Vegas Golden Knights team captain.
The Knights debuted gold third jerseys and was accompanied by steel gray pants and helmets.
VGK signed forward Pavel Dorofeyev to an entry level contract, he has been assigned to the Henderson Silver Knights.
Knights host the now West Division St. Louis Blues Tuesday January 26 for the first of their 8 games this season. This also marks the first game VGK defensemen Alex Pietrangelo faces his former team that he played 12 seasons with before signing with Vegas on Oct 13. He was the Blues captain and first player to hoist up the Stanley Cup for the team in 2019.
Image Credits: Gary Lawless (2021, Jan 25). Notes Through Six Games for VGK. Retrieved Jan 25, 2021, from https://www.nhl.com/goldenknights/news/notes-through-six-games-for-vgk/c-320700778