With the season being shortened to 56 games this season, it’s only fitting to try something new. Thus, the Knightly Recap is here. Every week, there will be a weekly recap of each of the Vegas Golden Knights’ games this season and the playoffs presuming they make it this year. With that said, welcome to week one of the Knightly Recap.
The Golden Knights played their first two games this season. Both of which came against the Anaheim Ducks and Vegas’ season is going to be interesting just by watching their first two games. Here is a closer look at each of the games.
Game 1: Jan. 14 vs. Anaheim Ducks
The Golden Knights came into this season with bigger expectations than usual. They made a huge move this offseason in acquiring Alex Pietrangelo from free agency for the next seven years. After watching the first five minutes of this game, Pietrangelo came as advertised: a skillful, technical defenseman who can make plays both offensively and defensively.
Before the game started, Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer mentioned that he would start 13 forwards and five defenseman instead of the traditional 12 defenseman, 6 forwards line up. Golden Knights forward Keegan Kolesar was the 13th man for both games.
One of the big takeaways from this game was the sometimes lackluster defense from Vegas as they allowed two goals in this game both from Ducks forward Max Comtois. There would be times where the Golden Knights would over commit in one area of the ice. Because of that, there would be open spots on the ice for the Ducks to go to and get scoring chances. But this wouldn’t be a main concern during the third period as they made adjustments defensively. However, this would still be a problem for the Golden Knights in their second game as well despite winning the game.
Another takeaway from this game was the early goal scoring from the Golden Knights in the first period. Vegas forward Jonathon Marchessault scored 1:07 into the period followed by forward Tomas Nosek 1:06 after Marchessault’s goal. The Golden Knights would go on another scoring barrage in the third period from goals by Vegas captain Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch. Stone’s goal was the game winning goal.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 15, 2021
Game 2: Jan. 16 vs. Anaheim Ducks Part 1
This game was night and day from the first. The Ducks came out fast and strong on both ends of the ice. They were able to contain the Golden Knights’ entire game for most of the game. Anaheim also put lots of pressure offensively. Even though they weren’t getting more shots on goal than Vegas was, most of their scoring chances were high percentage shots. But Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, well, let’s get to him in a bit.
As mentioned earlier, the Golden Knights’ defense would get the best of them as their fourth line (consisting of Nosek, William Carrier and Ryan Reaves) committed near the end boards in the second period. And that led to the Ducks having a three-on-one advantage with Comtois, once again, scoring for the Ducks. However, that would only be the one mistake that Vegas made throughout this game.
The Golden Knights are known to have the ability to comeback in a game and that showed in just their second game of their season. Since Comtois’ goal, the Golden Knights were trailing 1-0 until forward William Karlsson scored the tying goal with just two minutes left in the third period. Karlsson’s goal would send the game to overtime and it didn’t take long for a goal to be scored. Stone and Pacioretty found themselves on a two-on-one breakaway and Pacioretty scored seven seconds into overtime.
Game 2: Jan. 16 vs. Anaheim Ducks Part 2
The biggest takeaway from this game wasn’t just the adjustments the Golden Knights made to get back into the game. But it was the play of both goaltenders in this game: Fleury and John Gibson. Gibson had just given up five goals the previous game but only allowed two this game. On the other hand, this was Fleury’s first game since Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Stars. And Fleury looked like the Fleury of 2018 when the Golden Knights had their inaugural season. Both goaltenders were poised and made huge saves throughout the game but it would be Fleury who would make the biggest save of them all.
In the third period, Fleury made a crucial save that led to Karlsson’s game tying goal. Of course, Fleury was taken out of his net to put the extra skater on for the Golden Knights. If it wasn’t for that save, Vegas probably wouldn’t have won that game.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 17, 2021
Up Next on the Knightly Recap
The Golden Knights take on the Arizona Coyotes today, Wednesday and Friday this week with two of the three being home games for Vegas. This should be an interesting set of games for the Golden Knights this week as the Coyotes did some revamping of their roster this offseason. Stay tuned for the next Knightly Recap.