The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Calgary Flames 6-1 Thursday night. It was a strong game and one that Jonathan Marchessault called ‘the best game of the season.’
But no style points are given for beating a division-leading team by five goals. The Golden Knights are still outside the playoff line with just seven games to go on the 2021-22 season.
The Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks both won Thursday night as well. Here are your updated Golden Knights playoff odds as the VGK get set for the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
Let’s jump right into the takeaways we had from last night’s game.
1- Thompson Time
Outside of the obvious will they/won’t they dynamic the Golden Knights currently have with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the main talk of the team lately has been goaltending. Robin Lehner struggled in his four games returning from injury.
So for Thursday night’s game, head coach Peter DeBoer went with rookie goaltender Logan Thompson as his starter. Thompson put up 35 saves and marched to his fifth-straight win.
This was the right call from DeBoer. While Lehner is still the starter on the team, the Golden Knights cannot afford to have a struggling goaltender on the hunt for a playoff spot. From now on and until the foreseeable future, Logan Thompson is the goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights.
2- Keen Keegan Kolesar
Keegan Kolesar painted a target on his back in the first period after he leveled Chris Tanev with a high hit. It was called, and Kolesar sat for two. But Flames players like Milan Lucic and Matthew Tkachuk didn’t like how Kolesar walked away from the incident scot-free.
Constantly though the rest of the game Tkachuk, and more often Lucic harassed Kolesar. But Kolesar, played it smart and allowed them to make a fool out of themselves. Kolesar drew two penalties with Lucic taking two himself. Smart stuff from KK as the VGK gladly took the powerplays.
3- Powerplay Records
Speaking of the powerplay, the Golden Knights finally broke free and scored once on the man-advantage Thursday. They ended a now franchise-high 0-for-20 streak and it is the second time this season they have gone through a stretch like this.
It looked like Evgenii Dadonov ended the streak by scoring a powerplay goal in the second. But his goal game at even-strength as the penalty expired. Nicolas Roy was the one to truly end the streak later in the game.
4- Grit-Grinder Jack Eichel
When the Golden Knights acquired Jack Eichel I think we all knew a little bit of what he had to offer. He’s one of the best players in the NHL and his stick-handling, speed, and powerful shot have all been on display with his new team.
But one thing that I certainly did not expect to see from Eichel, especially after his injury, was just how physical he can be. Eichel is more than willing to take a hit to make a play. And he is doing this each and every night against some of the best defensemen in the league.
Against the Flames Eichel took a thunderous hit in the first period so that Mattias Janmark could go in on a break and get a grade-A chance. This is a great show of Eichel’s dedication to the Golden Knights.
4- One-Legged McNabb
Speaking of dedication and being willing to sacrifice your body for the team, Brayden McNabb had an interesting shift against the Flames Thursday. McNabb lost his skate blade and was trapped in his defensive zone, unable to get to the bench.
The Flames then took advantage and went in on what could be labeled as a 2-on-1/2. But even with one skate, McNabb laid our headfirst to try and block a shot from the Flames players. While the shot missed him, this, again, shows the level of commitment McNabb has to the Golden Knights.
5- New Lines?
After a disappointing overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks, DeBoer shuffled up his lines significantly for the game against the Flames. The new first line of Eichel, Janmark, and Jonathan Marchessault proved to have some chemistry. The trio was able to score a goal off a smooth passing play in the first.
We are still waiting for the line of Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson, and Max Pacioretty to get to the level they were at in the middle of the season. But a big step in the right direction showed up in terms of the Golden Knight’s line combinations Thursday with the first line excellent.
The Golden Knights will play next Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. There are no relevant games to the Golden Knights being played Friday night in terms of Western Conference Standings.