Vegas Golden Knights' rise tied to taking Marc-Andre Fleury
The Vegas Golden Knights turned their expansion season into a special one by making a lot of good decisions.Like the addition of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. "He makes an expansion team not be an expansion team," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said.No one outside the organization expected the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights to be this good so fast. With less than a month left in the regular season, they easily have the largest divisional lead and are chasing Nashville for the most points in the Western Conference.The odds are not long that Vegas could hoist the Stanley Cup.
After the call, the Knights could have nullified things by just not being the second team in NHL history to give up The boys, they got together and said, this is for Pavs.” (The Sharks have not yet issued a medical update on Pavelski.) In their judgment, the infraction and its result merited a major penalty.”
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After a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames last Saturday, San Jose Sharks winger Jannik Hansen was asked if his team was eyeing the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the standings.
"Of course," Hansen said without hesitation. "We look both ways right now. There are teams chasing us. It seems like every night teams are winning... If you can catch them, great."
That makes perfect sense, of course, and despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime Tuesday, Team Teal rode an eight-game winning streak to come within five points of the new Vegas squad in the Pacific standings. It's a far cry from this point last season, when the Sharks had a dismal month of March that saw them nearly free-fall from the top of the division, then get sent home in the first round of the playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers.
Coleman scores 2, Devils beat Golden Knights 8-3
Blake Coleman scored twice, Michael Grabner and Nico Hischier each had a goal and an assist, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Vegas Golden Knights 8-3 Wednesday night.TaylorTaylor Hall, Travis Zajac, Stefan Noesen and Kyle Palmieri also scored for the Devils, who improved to 9-6-0 in their last 15 and moved one point ahead of idle Columbus for the top wild card in the Eastern Conference. Keith Kinkaid stopped 39 shots.
The Golden Knights failed to score on a power-play opportunity of their own, but Jonathan Marchessault delivered after Vegas showed serious And the rest is … well, NHL history, and the Sharks will turn to a Round 2 series against the Avalanche. Credit the Golden Knights for forcing this
The Golden Knights celebrate a second period goal by Golden Knights left wing Erik Haula (56) Fleury noted the Knights showed a ruthless streak in their first-round sweep against Los Angeles The Review-Journal's Ben Gotz and Cassie Soto are back for a new rendition of the Golden Edge
Make no mistake, San Jose's recent success has the team poised for an entertaining playoff run — that is if the Sharks can remain as consistent as they have since the trade deadline and stay healthy.
It's no secret that the Sharks' lineup was bolstered a great deal at the deadline, headlined by the addition of Evander Kane — who has made all the established Sharks around him play better. Take Joonas Donskoi, for example, who was having a so-so 2018 campaign before Kane came to town, then exploded offensively when the two were paired with Joe Pavelski on the top line. Kane has added speed and physicality that this team didn't consistently put out on the ice before.
However, the newfound success doesn't stop with Kane. Adding Eric Fehr to the fourth line — and the league-topping penalty kill — has made the Sharks' bottom six a threat to be reckoned with. The entire fourth line, for instance, found the back of the net in the Sharks' 6-2. For the first time this season, San Jose has been able to roll out four offensive lines every night and get contributions.
Landeskog helps Avs beat Golden Knights in shootout 2-1
Gabriel Landeskog beat Marc Andre-Fleury with a nifty move in the shootout and the Colorado Avalanche kept expansion Vegas from clinching a playoff spot by beating the Golden Knights 2-1 on Saturday. Semyon Varlamov stopped all three shots in the shootout. He finished with 39 saves, including seven in overtime.BOX SCORE: AVALANCHE 2, GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1Carl Soderberg was back on the ice after missing two games with an illness and contributed with a first-period goal. Colorado remains in the thick of the playoff picture as the team picked up its 26th home win, which is tied for the third-most in Avalanche history.
The Golden Knights , though, appear to have specifically designed their game nights like most things in their city: as tourist attractions. Jim Nagourney, a former sports executive in New York who now lives in Las Vegas, has repeatedly criticized the arrangement with the Raiders, which could require
The Sharks not only established themselves in this matchup but re-established themselves as one of the NHL's most dangerous teams. Perhaps San Jose's biggest issue in their last game was that they didn't put a full effort on the ice for all three periods, thus not being able to hold onto a one-goal lead
Now, that doesn't mean the Sharks get to cruise into the playoffs without a hitch. Their last stretch of regular-season tilts will be tough, and a couple players have gotten banged up over the last week or so, altering the makeup of each line.
San Jose has been fortunate with some of the line shuffling, at least in the short term. Donskoi was sidelined with an upper-body injury, but the top line didn't slow down when Melker Karlsson was moved up into his place.
The Sharks aren't going to want to see the injury bug bite again though, especially with Fehr suffering from a lower-body malady, messing with the fourth-line mojo. The key is to get everyone healthy before the playoffs, especially since the prospective opponents — likely the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks — will present physical matchups.
Then, there's the subject of Joe Thornton and when he will return to the ice. Jumbo Joe and his infamous Zeus beard have been practicing with the rest of the team recently, although it's still unclear when he will return. When he does, where will he be slated? Will bench boss Peter DeBoer instinctively slot him back onto the top line with Pavelski and Kane? As, that trio looks fantastic on paper and should thrive if Thornton returns and instantly regains that momentum he began generating back in December.
However, slotting him onto another line makes more sense for both the 38-year-old Thornton and for the offense as a whole, potentially, as Gackle suggests, putting him on the third unit to help keep the top two chemistry-driven lines intact.
Clearly, a big goal for the Sharks — like the rest of the league — is to stay as healthy as possible over the last five games of the season. It's the best way to take their recent success into the playoffs with them, and getting a player of Thornton's caliber back sooner rather than later is just another added bonus to a surging club that's already been bolstered by Kane and company — a club that now has the top seed in the Pacific in its crosshairs.
What will Vegas be like for Golden Knights' playoff encore after regular-season 'pool party'? .
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has been a hot ticket all regular season. The playoffs figure to be a new kind of spectacle.The Vegas Golden Knights were the hot ticket. Everyone wanted a glimpse of the best expansion team in league history and to soak in one of the most festive atmospheres in all of sports.