“So what? They beat an AHL team that is about to move to Houston,” I hear you all saying.
Call it what you want, but the Vegas Golden Knights got an always-important two points in tonight’s 7-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The special teams are coming around as the team once again scored both a powerplay goal and a shorthanded goal on Friday night.
Nicolas Roy got out of his scoring drought and had a goal and an assist. Laurent Brossoit looked good in net and made the saves he needed to when tested. Dylan Coghlan was reinserted into the lineup and had a strong game. It was a much-needed and expected Golden Knights victory Friday night.
The powerplay is starting to find its groove and the key reason why is Max Pacioretty. Patches possess one of the best shots in the NHL and the Golden Knights need to continue to feed him pucks on the powerplay.
“He is an elite goalscorer… I don’t think it is an accident that our powerplay gets better adding guys like that to the lineup,” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer.
The Golden Knights are slowly climbing up the NHL’s powerplay rankings and are now 25th in the league with operating at 15.09%.
“Our special teams tonight, I think, were big. I think we were able to get that first goal on the powerplay and then on that PK I think Smitty (Reilly Smith) made an amazing pass to Stephey (Chandler Stephenson) and it definitely gave us a lot of momentum,” said Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault postgame.
It is clear as to why the Arizona Coyotes are bad as they simply lack true NHL talent. But one thing that stood out to me tonight is just how many pending free agents the team has on the current roster. The Coyotes only have six players listed on their NHL roster that are signed past this upcoming offseason.
The other day I wrote about the five names on the NHL trade market and what names the Golden Knights could be interested in. Many of those names were players with large cap hits which the Golden Knights cannot afford. However, with the Coyotes, there are a lot of cheaper names that could be shopped around at the NHL trade deadline.
Lawson Crouse, Johan Larsson, Ryan Dzingel, Christian Fischer, and Travis Boyd are just some of the names the Coyotes have that are under $2 million in cap hit. They will likely be shopped around the NHL trade market and could be looked at by Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon.
The Golden Knights have dropped two very important division games against the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers recently. They will move on to play yet another dominant Pacific Division team in the Calgary Flames Sunday night at 7:00 at the Fortress.