Last week on the Knightly Recap, the Vegas Golden Knights went up against the Minnesota Wild for the first time this season in a two game homestand with a limited number of fans in attendance. The Golden Knights also started their six game road trip with a back-to-back against the San Jose Sharks.
This week on the Knightly Recap, the Golden Knights went to Minneapolis to face the Wild and St. Louis to face the Blues in a back-to-back series. Two of the four games were tightly contested which made these points that much more important for the standings. With that said, welcome to week nine of the Knightly Recap.
March 8 at Minnesota Wild
Turnovers, Turnovers and More Turnovers
The Golden Knights’ turnover problem was present again in this game giving away the puck three times. The Wild also had nine takeaways which resulted in several odd man rushes. Wild forward Kevin Fiala was able to convert on one of their odd man rushes during the first period.
It just seemed like the Golden Knights weren’t in the game from the start. This is particularly telling because the first period is usually where the Golden Knights dominate even if they find themselves in the losing end of the game.
Welcome to the Kaapo Kahkonen Show
Before this game, the Golden Knights hadn’t seen Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen in net this season. Wild goalie Cam Talbot played in the first two meetings against the Golden Knights. When Kahkonen showed up, he was dominant and made crucial saves where the Golden Knights could’ve either tied or took the lead in the game. Also, Kahkonen recorded his first shutout for the season and in his career with this 2-0 win.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 9, 2021
The rookie goaltender is considered to be a favorite for the Calder Trophy so far this season. So far, Kahkonen has a 11-4-0 record with a .922 save percentage.
With the Bad Comes the Good
Even though the Golden Knights didn’t win this game, there were some bright spots. First, they led in the faceoff category winning 57.4% of the draws. This has been a problem for the team for a while now but it seems like they’re improving on this aspect of their game this season. Golden Knights forward William Karlsson leads the team with just over 54 percent in faceoff win percentage.
But, the most impressive aspect for the Golden Knights this game was their ability to play until the final buzzer. The Golden Knights outshot the Wild 21-11 during the last two periods. They had several chances to make the game closer or even take the lead after Coghlan scored his hat trick goal. But Kahkonen seemed unstoppable in his crease this game. With that said, the Golden Knights still have to find out different ways of getting second chance opportunities down in the low slot.
March 10 at Minnesota Wild
Better Game, Same Result
The Golden Knights went on to lose this game as well but it was a better game especially for one player in particular. Vegas seemed to make an early push from the start but that would come at a cost. Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek scored 19 seconds into the game which put the Golden Knights on edge from the jump.
From that point, the Golden Knights started to play aggressive defense to slow down the speedy Wild offense. In turn, it was effective for the first two periods keeping the game close throughout.
Third Period Chaos
The third period was a roller coaster ride for both teams. The Wild scored three unanswered goals within the first eight minutes of the period. Wild players Kirill Kaprizov and Carson Soucy, along with Eriksson Ek, scored the three goals.
Stick taps for Dylan Coghlan though 🎩 🎩 🎩 pic.twitter.com/yVNjrfxOm2
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 11, 2021
However, the Golden Knights’ ability to comeback in a game became evident in a way that no one really expected. For one, Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer pulled goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after the Wild scored their fourth goal. Fleury was relieved by Henderson Silver Knights goaltender Logan Thompson. But Thompson wouldn’t be in for long as DeBoer pulled him out with just under five minutes left in the game. In that time, Coghlan scored two more goals giving him his first career hat trick.
Also, the Golden Knights’ aggressive pressure on the defensive end led to Coghlan’s hat trick. However, the comeback wouldn’t be complete as Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch missed an open net goal to tie the game in the dying seconds of the third period.
Another Week of News and Analysis
The Golden Knights certainly went through a lot these last two games. Click here to see part two of the this week’s Knightly Recap and see if the Golden Knights bounced back from these two losses.