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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Takeaways: ‘Quiet’ Skill Guys, Thompson Did Everything Right



Jack Eichel Vegas Golden Knights Buffalo Sabres return (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

Six penalties in the second period alone sunk the Vegas Golden Knight’s chances of starting the season off 4-0. They lost to Pacific Division rival, the Calgary Flames, 3-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome Tuesday.

Will Carrier and Brett Howden scored for the Golden Knights, both in the first period.

Here are our takeaways from the Golden Knight’s first loss of the season.

Golden Knights Takeaways

Doing His Part

The last person to blame for the Golden Knight’s 3-2 loss was goaltender Logan Thompson, who playing in his hometown, faced 40 shots. He battled all night and made two highlight-reel saves on Tyler Toffoli and Nazem Kadri.

“He was excellent and has been every start. Good for Logan. That is probably the biggest positive of this game. He gave us a chance to win… he did his part to help us win,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Thompson has emerged as the Golden Knight’s defacto starter, with Robin Lehner set to miss the entire season with a hip injury. So far, through three games, he has a .938 save percentage and 2.03 GAA.

“He played unreal and gave us a chance to win… That’s all you can ask from a goalie, and we weren’t good in front of him. Great for him, but we have some stuff to work on,” said Brayden McNabb.

PK Scrimmage

A simple takeaway here. The Golden Knights took six penalties in the second period, which resulted in two powerplay goals by the Flames and another goal that was called off. That simply cannot happen.

“I thought we were playing the right way for the most part. We had some breakdowns but got saves. Unfortunately, once the goal came back, it turned into a penalty kill scrimmage for us from about eight o’clock to nine o’clock,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Western Canadians

Flames coach Darryl Sutter had a funny quote before Tuesday night’s game when asked about the Golden Knights. An Alberta man himself, Sutter pointed out the abundance of Western Canadians on the Golden Knight’s roster. “First off, they have eleven players from Western Canada,” Sutter said.

These players are Laurent Brossoit, Adin Hill, Logan Thompson, Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore, Zach Whitecloud, Keegan Kolesar, Brett Howden, Nolan Patrick, Chandler Stephenson, Mark Stone, and, depending on how you count things, Jake Leschyshyn.

So only eight of these players were in the lineup Tuesday. But some of them had major impacts on the game, such as Thompson and Howden.

Quiet Stars

The effects of playing nearly 12 minutes of the second period on the penalty kill were felt up and down the Golden Knight’s lineup. Alex Pietrangelo played a total of 25:52 minutes Tuesday, with almost six minutes coming on the penalty kill alone. A lot of the VGK’s defensemen were overworked in the second.

But on the other end of the spectrum, there were players who don’t play on the penalty kill, just sitting on the bench waiting for the six penalties to be killed. These players are primarily skill players like Phil Kessel and Jack Eichel. Cassidy even resorted to playing Eichel on the penalty kill for a couple of shifts.

“Eventually, that is going to take players out of the game that don’t kill and wear down some of your D-men. They were able to execute and get back into the game off that. I’m just disappointed we didn’t have enough in the third to reset,” said Cassidy.

The Golden Knights had two makeup calls and powerplay chances in the third period. But by the time guys like Kessel and Eichel finally got back on the ice, their play was off, and they were unable to score.

“We had our opportunities on the powerplay in the third. That is where your skill guys have to come through in a game like this, but they were quiet,” said Cassidy.