The Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings face off for the second time in three days after the VGK won a convincing 5-2 contest on Friday night. Five different Golden Knights posted multi-point efforts in the win and Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 4-0 on 27 saves.
Now the real test will be for the Vegas Golden Knights to repeat the same dominating performance as Friday night. Vegas was up 3-0 barely halfway into the first period and didn’t start to relax until the third, making the score appear closer than it was.
Vegas Golden Knights (6-1-1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (3-5-2)
After postponing games for ten days due to COVID-19 protocols, the Golden Knights came out firing Friday night. The first goal came less than a minute in, and by just past the halfway point of the opening frame Vegas was well on its way to the victory.
Now Vegas has to maintain the form that saw them earn points in six of the first seven games before the COVID-19 shutdown. After watching other teams that come back from protocol postponements come out flying, now the question is whether or not the VGK can keep that momentum going.
Certainly getting plenty of scoring from the top two lines helps. Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Nic Hague all had multi-point games Friday. Marc-Andre Fleury was his usual self, making timely saves while the VGK built an insurmountable lead.
But in the third period, the energy started to wane. The focus got fuzzy. The detail wasn’t as sharp. Granted, the game felt well in-hand – and it was – but that dip is what concerns me most.
In order to avoid the letdown in this afternoon tilt, the Golden Knights once again need a fast start. More than a few times this team has come out of the gate slowly and fallen behind. There’s too much talent on the roster to have those kinds of starts, and it’s a troubling trend that has to disappear. Friday felt much more like what we expected from this team on a regular basis.
The Kings meanwhile are struggling this season as they look to rebuild. It’s an interesting time for a team trying to turn the corner and flip the keys to the kids, but the veterans from the Stanley Cup seasons a decade ago still carry the team. Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty are still there. Kopitar has 12 assists on a team with only 26 goals-for this year. Quick has earned six of the team’s eight points in net despite massively inflated numbers (4.05 GAA, .867 save percentage). It’s going to be a rocky road for the next few years, but the Kings are finally paying the piper for those two titles.
Keep An Eye On
VGK – Fresh off a hat trick, Max Pacioretty dropped a playmaker (three assist game) on Friday night against LA. He now has six points in his last two games and is flying around out there. With so much attention on Mark Stone (rightly so) to start the season Pacioretty has been overshadowed, but no more. He’s feeling it right now.
LAK – Anze Kopitar continues to play the setup role for the Kings, and the fact that he’s assisted on almost 50% of the team’s goals is both amazing and concerning. The Kings are struggling to score goals when he’s not on the ice, and if Vegas can take him out of the game it bodes well for a victory. Containing skilled players isn’t always easy, and Kopitar is one that the Kings rely on heavily.
Vegas Golden Knights
- William Karlsson recorded his 100th point as a Vegas Golden Knights player in Friday’s win over the Kings.
- Mark Stone needs two points for 400 in his career.
- Shea Theodore needs two assists for 100 in his career.
- Vegas has scored four or more goals in five games this season, posting a 4-0-1 record.
Los Angeles Kings
- Austin Strand made his NHL debut Friday, posting a plus-1 rating in 17:27 of ice time.
- All four of Dustin Brown’s goals this year have come on the power play, and his PPG Friday night was his 100th career power play marker.