The Vegas Golden Knights got back in the win column Sunday afternoon as they defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1. Jack Eichel scored his first-ever goal with the Golden Knights and Logan Thompson collected his first-career NHL win.
Before we get too into things I want to bring up what happened last night at SAP Center after the game. After the game, arena security was investigating a suspicious package that was outside of the San Jose Sharks Arena. Police dogs smelled something suspicious in an outside locker which was believed to be a bomb.
Our very own Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now had to wait two and a half hours to leave the arena while everything was getting worked out. Thankfully, there were no explosions and at 10:30 pm a city of San Jose spokesman just told SJHN that SAP Center was “all clear” and that “nothing suspicious was located in the locker.”
Anyways, back to the game itself. If you can transition yourself from that somehow.
Six Takeaways From the Golden Knights 4-1 Win Over the Sharks
1- I Thought Shorthanded Chances Were the Golden Knights Thing?
The Golden Knights simply beat the Sharks last night. They were the better team in almost every facet. However early in the game, the outcome could have been much different given the Golden Knight’s lackluster defense.
There was a good three-to-four grade-A chances that the Sharks had shorthanded in the six minutes of powerplay time the Golden Knights had in the first period. Thompson had to make several big saves on Sharks such as Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, and Logan Couture.
With eight shorthanded goals, the Golden Knights lead the league in this department. However, they could have been on the opposite end Sunday night had it not been for Thompson. Shea Theodore in particular struggled to keep the puck in the offensive zone for the Golden Knights. This is an area the team will need to clean up in their week-long break from game action.
2- Eichel’s Showing His Patience and Stickhandling Skills
Perhaps the biggest storyline coming out of Sunday night’s game was Jack Eichel scoring his first goal with the Golden Knights. It was a fun goal to watch develop with Eichel working with Chandler Stephenson. Using his patience, Stephenson gave the puck back to Eichel who slipped one past Reimer.
It was a great third game for Eichel who had a goal and assist for two points and was a plus-2. All night he showed his dominant offensive instincts. Whether it was his skating, puck handling, or flashy moves off the rush it was an exciting night to be a Golden Knights fan watching Eichel develop.
3- The Third Line Still Can’t Score
On a less positive note, the third line of Nicolas Roy, Evgenii Dadonov, and Mattias Janmark still can’t score. It has been ten games since Dadonov has registered a point, and seven since Janmark has. Roy did get credited for an assist on Stephenson’s empty-net goal. Hey, maybe that counts for something?
If this line continues to be non-existent for the Golden Knights perhaps Peter DeBoer tries something different. But with the Misfit Line not going anywhere after the last failed experiment, and the first line developing chemistry what else is there to do?
4- Golden Knights Took Advantage of James Reimer’s Bad Game
Yeah, James Reimer struggled last night. He had, what I would consider, two “bad goals” Sunday afternoon. The first of which was the first goal of the game where Keegan Kolesar simply came into the zone and fired a shot which went in. The second was the goal that Max Pacioretty simply threw to the net and again it simply went in.
Overall he made 31 saves on 34 shots and let in three goals. This combined with a .912% save percentage isn’t horrible but those two goals are ones in that the Sharks would like to have back.
5- It Will Be Awhile Before The Sharks Will Be Relevant Again
Let me continue to criticize the Sharks here while I have the floor. As perhaps the Golden Knight’s biggest rival, the Sharks are far from being a relevant team in the NHL again. They have tons of money locked up in long-term contracts to aging veterans such as Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Logan Couture, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
While these players are more than deserving of the money it is the term that is the problem with many of these contracts running until these players hit their late-30s. Unless the Sharks can magically find a way to get out of these deals as they did with Evander Kane, tough times are ahead for the Sharks.
Not to mention the Sharks have to sign their actual young players like Tomas Hertl and Alexander Barabanov. See you in the 2031 playoffs, San Jose!
6- Logan Thompson Looks Amazing
I wanted to save this one for last because this was the takeaway that captivated me the most. I may be speaking prematurely here and overreacting but I really think the Golden Knights have something here with Logan Thompson. He made 35 saves on 36 shots last night for his first career NHL win.
He looked like a veteran in the net making saves in a calm and collected manner. With Robin Lehner injured, Thompson has gotten the call-up to the NHL once more. This time he is making the case to stay full-time. Thompson has done everything he can in the AHL and proven his worth with the Henderson Silver Knights. Perhaps this could make the Golden Knights comfortable in trading Laurent Brossoit to free up some cap space? Thompson has already signed to a cheaper extension.