It was a rough one Wednesday night for the Vegas Golden Knights as they lost to the Vancouver Canucks 5-1. Teams lose games like this every now and then, especially after coming off of five-game winning streaks. But the Golden Knights are not in a position to lose these games, currently out of a playoff spot. Every point matters and the VGK left two on the table against the Canucks.
Now the Kings, Predators, Stars, and Oilers, all of which the Golden Knights are chasing in the standings have a chance to gain ground in the standings with all four playing Thursday night. The Golden Knights are off until Saturday when they will play the Arizona Coyotes.
Let’s get to the takeaways.
1- Canucks Come Out Strong
Our guy in Vancouver, Rob Simpson wrote a column the other day about how the Vancouver Canucks have had notoriously bad starts this season. I don’t watch every Canucks game (thankfully) but in the games that I have seen them play this season, I have certainly recognized this.
But Wednesday night against the Golden Knights the opposite was the case. They came out hungry and while they didn’t score the first goal of the game, they never let up and played exactly like how you would expect a playoff-desperate team to play.
“You just want to flush it. There is nothing good to say, we got what we deserved. I didn’t think we gave ourselves a chance to win that game right from the first period the way the game started,” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer.
2- Eichel Needs To Use His Speed More Often
Jack Eichel was the best player on the ice for the Golden Knights Wednesday night and it wasn’t even close. He is meshing well with Chandler Stephenson and Evgenii Dadonov on the new first line. It’s a nightmare for defenders with both Stephenson and Eichel’s speed on one line together.
One of the first big plays Eichel made in the game was when he cut into the net from the left wall got a shot, and drew a penalty. Classic Jack Eichel stuff.
I think he needs to do more of this and take these chances more often. Because if it doesn’t result in a goal, it could likely result in a powerplay.
One of the main reasons the Golden Knight’s powerplay has struggled this season has been due to a lack of opportunities. I think the VGK need to use Eichel’s speed as a penalty-drawling machine.
3- Demko With The Save Of The Year (Almost)
One last quick thing on Eichel. He scored the only goal for the Golden Knights Wednesday but it came after Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko made a miraculous save on a falling puck. Had Demko not given the puck right back to the VGK this would have been one of the saves of the year in my opinion.
Here’s a replay of the save and eventual goal. It’s right around the 37-second mark.
let's take it back to Jack 💯 pic.twitter.com/sBat5MZ6Mi
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 7, 2022
4- Defensive Nightmare
Well, we waited long enough, let’s dive into the main issue this team had Wednesday night. Defensive mistakes simply cost the Golden Knights with sloppy turnovers and bad coverage. It was simple mistakes from veteran guys too.
Alec Martinez struggled to find a breakout pass and Brad Richardson scored. He then fumbled the puck on the penalty kill and Elias Pettersson scored. Pettersson also danced around Ben Hutton who set up Tanner Pearson for a goal. Brayden McNabb took two late-game penalties, one of which led to another goal. These mistakes simply can’t happen from the team’s most defensive defensemen.
I see a lot of people quick to blame Robin Lehner as always. While none of the goals were necessarily his fault, he looked like he lacked confidence and at the end of the day let in five goals. I would not be surprised at all if Logan Thompson started the next game against the Coyotes.
5- Absent Offense
I’m really struggling here on what to say about the team’s offense as there really was nothing to talk about from that department for them. If Eichel was not getting the work done the VGK were simply forced either wide or just out of the offensive zone in general. William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault had their chances here and there but every chance seems like a one-and-done rush.
“I can’t put this any other way we were awful. We were awful in front of the net, we were awful in breakouts, we were awful everywhere,” said DeBoer.
The Golden Knights will be off for a few days but that does not mean we are done covering games here at the Vegas Hockey Now for the time being. While Golden Knights fans scoreboard watch, we will tune into the Michigan/Denver Frozen Four game to watch the play of Brendan Brisson.