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Sport Since losing ’18 final, Golden Knights look more like Caps

01:58  14 november  2019
01:58  14 november  2019 Source:   ap.org

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Since 2018 Stanley Cup Final , Vegas Golden Knights looking more like Capitals who beat them for title. The Golden Knights who went to the final in their expansion season had a first line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith and leaned heaviest on defensemen Nate Schmidt

Almost 18 months since the Vegas Golden Knights ' improbable inaugural season ended, they look much more like the team that vanquished them in Capitals winger Tom Wilson looks at Vegas as a team built for the playoffs because of its size, skill and toughness. It's almost like gazing into a mirror.

Almost 18 months since the Vegas Golden Knights’ improbable inaugural season ended, they look much more like the team that vanquished them in the Stanley Cup Final.

a group of baseball players that are standing in front of a crowd: Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67) celebrates his goal with center Paul Stastny (26) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)© APWF Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67) celebrates his goal with center Paul Stastny (26) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

If you can’t beat ’em, be more like ’em.

Once a ragtag group relying on more will than skill, Vegas is beginning to resemble the Washington Capitals they faced in the 2018 final. The Golden Knights don’t have carbon copies of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom, but they added some serious skill in forwards Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone and could easily follow the Capitals’ championship model.

Smith's 2 tallies push Golden Knights past Columbus 2-1

  Smith's 2 tallies push Golden Knights past Columbus 2-1 COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Reilly Smith scored twice, Marc-Andre Fleury had 29 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights halted a two-game skid with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. Former Jacket William Karlsson assisted on both of Smith's goals as the Golden Knights got back in the win column after dropping three of their last four. They lost the last two in overtime after holding two-goal leads. Boone Jenner scored, and Joonas Korpisalo had 23 saves in the Blue Jackets' fifth straight loss.BOX SCORE: GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2, JACKETS 1Smith's first goal came with 45 seconds left in the first period.

Almost 18 months since the Vegas Golden Knights ' improbable inaugural season ended, they look much more like the team that vanquished them in Capitals winger Tom Wilson looks at Vegas as a team built for the playoffs because of its size, skill and toughness. It's almost like gazing into a mirror.

Almost 18 months since the Vegas Golden Knights ' improbable inaugural season ended, they look much more like the team that vanquished them in If you can’t beat ‘em, be more like ’em. Once a ragtag group relying on more will than skill, Vegas is beginning to resemble the Washington Capitals

“They’ve done a great job,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said. “I think they’ve added another layer. I thought when we beat them, we were a little bit deeper team, especially up front. Then adding Stone, adding Pacioretty, signing Stastny - those are three really good players, so they have a whole new layer of offensive, really solid players on their team. In theory, I think they’re a better team than they were.”

a hockey game in the snow: Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) and Washington Capitals center Chandler Stephenson (18) chase the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)© APWF Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) and Washington Capitals center Chandler Stephenson (18) chase the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Golden Knights who went to the final in their expansion season had a first line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith and leaned heaviest on defensemen Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore and Deryk Engelland. All those players remain but have the pressures eased off them, given internal promotions and external additions.

Karlsson scores 2, Fleury and Vegas blanks Calgary, 6-0

  Karlsson scores 2, Fleury and Vegas blanks Calgary, 6-0 LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Vegas Golden Knights can finally be proud of a third period. They went into their game against Calgary having held leads in six of their previous eight games and led by two in three of them. However, they've struggled to finish and were mired in a five-game losing streak. The Golden Knights left no doubt on Sunday. William Karlsson had his third straight multipoint game, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 shots to earn his league high-tying 10th victory this season and Vegas got four third-period goals to douse the Flames 6-0.

Almost 18 months since the Vegas Golden Knights ' improbable inaugural season ended, they look much more like the team that vanquished them in the Stanley Cup Final . If you can't beat 'em, be more like 'em. Once a ragtag group relying on more will than skill, Vegas is beginning to resemble

Since losing ' 18 final , Golden Knights look more like Caps . Insider Trading: Will Gretzky coach Canada in Spengler Cup? Facing former team in West Division final gives Bombers QB Collaros more motivation. Blue Bombers QB Streveler not practising.

Forward William Carrier, one of more than a dozen players left from the 2018 final, said this is a better team.

“Right now, we're a more talented team,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “It's a different team. We're a more skilled team than we were back then. But back then we had that air about (us) - we were the hardest working team in the league. I want us to get back to that. We were a fast team, we were a quick team that first year and everything went our way. We had a lot of puck luck and a lot of good things that happened that first year.”

a hockey player: Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20), of Denmark, and Vegas Golden Knights left wing William Carrier (28) fight fro the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)© APWF Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20), of Denmark, and Vegas Golden Knights left wing William Carrier (28) fight fro the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Those good things stopped when the Capitals wore down the Golden Knights with their depth and won the series in five games. Then, last spring, Vegas got knocked out in the first round when a blown call in Game 7 against San Jose snowballed into a disastrous third period.

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After the Golden Knights claimed Schmidt from the Caps in the expansion draft, he rocketed to their top defensive pairing and has maintained that position ever since . Given that Brett Connolly scored on his former team, and Schmidt sees a fair amount of power-play time, it's not a bad bet to take Schmidt

Bouncing back from two tough playoff exits is another lesson the Golden Knights can learn from the Capitals, who kept getting stopped in the second round or earlier before breaking through and winning it all.

“We’ve had some disappointments,” said Kelly McCrimmon, who took over for George McPhee as Knights GM last summer. “That’s your ultimate opportunity to evaluate and to learn and to assess where you need to be better. ... There’s things you need to do to get you to the playoffs, there’s things you need to do to get you through the playoffs. We’ve been fortunate that we've been a playoff team both years, we’ve gained that experience.”

Capitals winger Tom Wilson looks at Vegas as a team built for the playoffs because of its size, skill and toughness. It’s almost like gazing into a mirror.

“They have a really stable team - they can establish all four lines and roll,” Washington’s Jakub Vrana said. “They play hard, and they work hard for every inch of the ice. That’s what’s been winning them games. We do the same thing.”

Blending the work ethic and the grittiness that got Vegas into the final with the talent that could get it over the top is now the challenge. Gallant doesn’t shy away from the comparison to the Capitals, who perfected that mix.

Stars tie record with 7th straight win, 4-2 over Vegas

  Stars tie record with 7th straight win, 4-2 over Vegas DALLAS (AP) Alexander Radulov energized Dallas’ power play and Esa Lindell anchored a stout penalty-killing unit on a special Monday night for the Stars. © APWF Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (30) makes a save against a shot from Vegas Golden Knights center Cody Eakin (21) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) © APWF Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov (47) celebrates scoring a goal with defenseman John Klingberg (3) in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Vegas Golden Knights in Dallas, Monday, Nov. 25, 2019.

Since losing ' 18 final , Golden Knights look more like Caps . Nike announced the pilot program with Amazon in 2017, hoping that it would have more control over the brand if it were more closely involved.

But where the team didn’t generate any looks was when it pulled goalie Devan Dubnyk to gain an extra attacker with less than two minutes to go in the third period, another missed opportunity that included a three defensemen setup for the Since losing ' 18 final , Golden Knights look more like Caps • Wild.

“The work comes before the skill, and when you get your talented guys and your skilled guys working real hard, then that’s when you’re going to have the right team,” Gallant said. “I think the team in Washington, that’s what they do. They’ve got some real talented hockey players, but when they work hard, they’re a great team.”

a hockey game in the snow: Vegas Golden Knights center Cody Eakin (21) battles for the puck against Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) and center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92), of Russia, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)© APWF Vegas Golden Knights center Cody Eakin (21) battles for the puck against Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) and center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92), of Russia, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The next stage in becoming a consistently great team is integrating homegrown players, like Cody Glass and Nicolas Hague, who were picks from the Golden Knights’ first draft in 2017. Vegas is at the salary cap like the NHL’s best teams and isn’t afraid of the big expectations that come with that.

“We don’t feel or act or believe we’re an expansion team,” McCrimmon said. “We’re in Year 3 as a franchise, and like every other team, always trying to get better, always trying to win more games, always trying to be a playoff team and have success.”

FIRST TIMER

Lifelong Maple Leafs fan Ron Ruckstuhl, 52, was diagnosed with Lewy dody disease three years ago and told he had five to seven years to live. In August, son Joshuah sent a tweet to retired NHLer Paul Bissonnette hoping his dad could attend a game in Toronto for the first time.

Stars visit Chicago, aiming for record 8th straight win

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The Vegas Golden Knights are in Stanley Cup Final in their first season. It starts Monday night against the Capitals. The Knights the best first-year expansion team ever — not just in hockey, but in professional sports. What they’ve done might never happen again. How did the Knights happen?

But the upstart Golden Knights have spent their entire inaugural season speeding past all expectations, and their first Final game didn't slow them The Eastern Conference champion Capitals hadn't given up this many goals in 29 games since March 18 , but they hadn't seen anything like this

“I’ve waited 52 years for something like this,” Ron said.

As part of the “NHL First Timer” video series, the league surprised Ruckstuhl at his house earlier this month and took him and sons Joshuah and Ryan to the Leafs’ game Nov. 5 against Los Angeles.

“I’d never seen my dad smile and laugh (like that),” said Joshuah, 28, who is his father’s full-time caregiver. “For a little bit, you didn’t realize he was sick. You could see him forget about being sick for just a little bit.”

The league is releasing video of the occasion Wednesday to mark World Kindness Day.

“This is what it’s all about,” NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer said. “To be able to put joy in somebody’s life like Ron’s and to be able to show his story to the world is quite an honor and it makes me proud to be a part of the NHL.”

NO LONE WOLF

Phil Kessel is fitting in just fine with the young Arizona Coyotes and has come a long way from playing in the shadow of - and winning two titles with - Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin in Pittsburgh.

“He fed off those guys in Pittsburgh really well,” said coach Rick Tocchet, who also was an assistant with the Penguins. “Sometimes he was under the radar, and he’d come up with some big goals because (opponents focused on) Malkin or Crosby. Now there’s a little bit more focus on him.”

Tocchet said Kessel has done more leading because he recognizes, at 32, he should. It’s working.

“Phil, the young guys love him and he’s taking pressure off guys,” Tocchet said. “When some guys aren’t scoring, to be honest with you, the media are not on the guy as much because Phil takes that pressure off. So he does take the pressure or the burden off some guys if they’re not scoring.”

GAME OF THE WEEK

The Boston Bruins visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday in another preview of a seemingly inevitable first-round playoff series.

LEADERS

Goals: David Pastrnak (Boston), 16; Assists: John Carlson (Washington) and Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton), 21; Points: Draisaitl, 36; Ice Time: Thomas Chabot (Ottawa), 26:07; Goals-Against Average: Thomas Greiss (N.Y. Islanders), 1.88; Save Percentage: Greiss, .942.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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Stastny's OT goal caps comeback, Vegas beats Predators 4-3 .
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Paul Stastny’s 700th career point was certainly dramatic. Max Pacioretty tied the game with less than a second left in regulation and Stastny scored at 1:52 of overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-3 comeback victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night. Mark Stone, Reilly Smith and Pacioretty each had a goal and an assist for Vegas, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Malcolm Subban made 31 saves for his first win of the season.“It was pretty exciting to win a game like that,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “We needed something like that for our team tonight.

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