With a week until their next game, the Vegas Golden Knights have a long time to forget about Wednesday night’s embarrassment against the Calgary Flames. The Flames came out with a three-goal first period and rode their lead until the end, defeating the Golden Knights at the Scotiabank Saddledome 6-0.
“There is no excuse for how we started the game and the game. It essentially was over 20 minutes in, unfortunately,” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer.
The best course of action for the Vegas Golden Knights heading forward is to try and forget about their game against the Flames. But we’re not the Vegas Golden Knights here at Vegas Hockey Now! Here are _ takeaways from Wednesday night’s game.
1- I Feel Bad For Robin Lehner
I know all of you Golden Knights “fans” in the comments will be pointing to this game as a poor game from Robin Lehner. But despite giving up six goals, nearly none of the goals scored on him Wednesday night were his fault. It’s just a shame that this had to happen to Lehner and his confidence, especially with the Tkachuk between-the-legs goal which was just salt on the wound.
The real problem was the defense as it was non-existent. They left six-foot-three Milan Lucic in front of the net to screen Lehner, allowed the Flames to skate right through the 1-1-3, and couldn’t get out of their own end on multiple occasions.
On top of all of this, they weren’t able to score a goal at the other end. So what do you Lehner haters want him to do in this situation? Skate down the ice and score a goal himself?
2- Jakob Markstrom is a Vezina Canidate
At the other end, part of the reason the Golden Knights struggled to score so much was because of Jakob Markstrom in net. Markstrom made 28 saves en route to his eighth shutout of the season which leads the league. To put that number into perspective, the Montreal Canadiens only have eight total wins on the season.
If it were me voting, Markstrom would get Vezina votes from me for sure. I see him up there with Frederick Andersen, Tristan Jarry, and Andrei Vasilevisky as the best goaltenders this season.
3- Keep Nolan Patrick in the Lineup yeah?
The only player for the Golden Knights that had any shot at scoring on Markstrom Wednesday night was Nolan Patrick. This was Patrick’s first game back into the Golden Knights lineup since being a healthy scratch against the Oilers. He had four shots on goal against Markstrom, as well as a breakaway chance.
With Mark Stone now out for who knows how long, I strongly vouch for Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer to keep Patrick in the lineup. Personally, I think he brings for finish and flare than players like Keegan Kolesar and William Carrier but that’s just me.
4- Physics or Brute Strength?
In the first period, before things became an absolute dumpster fire for the Golden Knights, Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington broke a pane of glass at the Saddledome. He did so on a simple clearing attempt and the game was stopped so that repairs could be made.
Makes you wonder just how hard that puck was going or if the puck just hit the right spot on the pane of glass that made it shatter. Speaking Flames defenseman breaking glass remember when Dion Phaneuf did it twice in one game?
5- Waves at the Saddledome
On the topic of the Scotiabank Saddledome itself, you know your team is getting spanked when the wave starts up in the crowd. During the second period Flames fans, seemingly bored of their team crushing the Golden Knights, started doing the wave.
This on top of Tkachuk’s show-off type of goal just makes the night worse for the Golden Knights.
6- Gaudreau is Getting PAID This Offseason
With another goal against the Golden Knights, Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau is sixth in league scoring this season. In a contract year, the 28-year old forward will certainly get a raise from his current $6.75 million salary, but I am not sure if it will be with the Flames.
Call me crazy but I could see there being a sort of swap between Gaudreau and Claude Giroux in Philadelphia. I am not suggesting these two get traded for one another, rather the Flames will add Giroux at the deadline and re-sign him in the offseason. Gaudreau, who is from the Philly area will sign with his hometown team in the Flyers in the offseason. Just my prediction.
7- Flames Have no True no. 1 Defenseman
Looking at the Flames a little more, to me, they really don’t have a true number-one defenseman. But I don’t think this is a bad thing at all. With this vacancy now in the limelight due to Mark Giordano being claimed by the Seattle Kraken, the top defenseman spot on the Flames is up for grabs.
I saw a strong game Wednesday night from Nikita Zadorov, Rasmus Anderson, and Chris Tanev. Kylington has also started to emerge this season as a top-four option for the Flames. However, I am still of the belief that to win a Stanley Cup you need a top defenseman (Hedman, Pietrangelo, Carlson, Letang, Keith, Doughty, Chara).
8- Horrible Game to Finish Off Before Another Break
Getting back to the Golden Knights, this game really stings. Not only do you allow the Flames, who have six-games at hand on you in the Pacific Division, destroy you in a four-point game, this game is also the last before a six-day break.
Maybe this game can serve as a blessing in disguise for the VGK as a wake-up call. With a week off they sit tenth in the league standings despite Stanley Cup dreams. The Flames, Ducks, and Kings all have a chance to gain ground on the Golden Knights.