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Golden Knights Pummell Sabres 5-2

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Jonathan Marchessault Vegas Golden Knights Lunar New Year special jerseys (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

The Vegas Golden Knights (27-16-3) curb-stomped the Buffalo Sabres (14-24-7) Tuesday night at home in their last game before the 2022 NHL All-Star break. Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, and Cody Eakin all returned to T-Mobile Arena for the first time in a visiting uniform and were all honored during the first TV timeout.

For the Golden Knights, unexpected injuries to both Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud forced the team to rely on Kaeden Korczak to make his NHL debut. He took his rookie pregame lap wearing a special Lunar New Year jersey which the Golden Knights wore for warmups. 

Getting to game action, the Golden Knights simply dunked on an inferior opponent Tuesday night. They scored 33 seconds into the game with some fantastic passing by the Misfit Line of Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and William Karlsson. 

Smith finished off the play with a tap-in goal and scored just his first goal in the last eleven games and second goal in 21 games. Hopefully, this goal gets the monkey off the back for Smith and he can start scoring again at a consistent pace.

Overall, the Golden Knights played to their strengths Tuesday night. They relied on a quick transition game and scoring chances off the rush to start their offensive drives. They also did a great job of clogging up the neutral zone with the 1-1-3. 

The only quality chance the Sabres got in the first period came from Tuch and Tage Thompson on a two-on-one. The Golden Knights lucked out though as Tuch’s stick shattered on his shot attempt. 

Turnovers cost the Sabres the game and one of the turnovers that resulted in a goal came late in the first period. The puck simply escaped the reach of Dylan Cozena and went right to Brett Howden who sniped a shot on Craig Andersen. Howden now has goals in three straight games.

The Golden Knights extended their lead in the third period with a powerplay goal from Marchessault. The net was wide open for him as a cross-ice pass from Nicolas Roy found a seam and went by a completely clueless Henri Jokiharju.

Two milestones were marked on the goal as it was Marchessault’s 20th goal of the season and Alex Pietrangelo assisted on the goal which gave him 500 total points on his career.

The Golden Knights were pummeling the Sabres so bad in this game they started to score on their powerplay. Shorthanded, Howden, and Keegan Kolesar went to work and scored the Golden Knights league-leading seventh shorthanded goal of the season.

The Sabres were able to score in the second period however and ruin Robin Lehner’s shutout as Tuch scored against his former team with a well-placed wrist shot. Tuch now has 13 points in 13 games with his new team.

Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone added salt to the wound for the Sabres to start the third period as Pacioretty fed Stone who scored his eighth of the season.

After an odd bounce off the boards which made things 5-2, the Golden Knights closed things out with a much-needed rout-styled win over the Sabres. They are now on a six-day break from game action.

The All-Star Skills competition starts on Feb 4th at 4:30 pm PST on ESPN with the All-Star Game following the next day at noon on ABC and ESPN+. You can find tickets to the All-Star Game here. The next Vegas Golden Knights game will not be until Feb 8th when the team travels to Edmonton to take on the Oilers at 6:00 pm.

 

Vegas Hockey Now’s Player of the Game: Reilly Smith

Strong game from the Misfit Line tonight as always. They started the game off with a good pace that set the tone for the rest of the game. Smith finally broke his goal-scoring drought as well.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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