The Vegas Golden Knights kicked off the back-half of the 2022-23 season with a strong win over the Nashville Predators 5-1. After losing four-straight games and going 1-5-2 without captain Mark Stone leading up to the break, this win was a much-needed one.
Here are Vegas Hockey Now's takeaways from the win.
The new third line of Chandler Stephenson, Will Carrier, and Phil Kessel had a great game with all three players scoring a goal and an assist. Head coach Bruce Cassidy may have just found the right mex of skill, speed, and pysicallty between the trio.
"We have been playing well the last few games here. We've got a lot of speed and we can work hard and win some battles. Obviously having Stephey (Chandler Stephenson) in the middle there is great so I am trying to give him the puck and get out of the way," said Carrier, who was a +4 against NSH.
"Phil (Kessel) has really responded with Stephey (Chandler Stephenson) and we know what Will Carrier can do, he is the real heartbeat of the team and in the locker room a lot of nights… Phil has been good with them he has been going to the net and contributing. If we can get that line to continue working for us now it really gives us something," added head coach Cassidy.
With the line of Michael Amadio, Reilly Smith, and William Karlsson also having a strong night and it only being a matter of time before Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault get out of their scoring slumps, this line gives the VGK tons of extra depth.
Hill Plays it Safe
Late in the game the Predators had a powerplay and pulled Juuse Saros for the extra attacker to make it 6-on-4. Golden Knights goaltender Hill collected the puck behind his net and briefly thought about going for the goalie goal, but decided against it. He passed it to Alex Pietrangelo, who scored on the empty-net billiards style, which means Hill picked up an assist on the play.
"I definitely thought about going for it for a second, but then I heard Petro (Pietrangelo) calling for it. So good karma that it went into the net, right?" said Hill.
The Golden Knights have never scored a goalie goal in their history but the Nashville Predators have. In 2020, Pekka Rinne became one of just seven NHL goalies to score with a shot on goal in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Sidenote- it is my dream to see a goalie goal live. One day.
Easy Night On the Hill
Overall, Hill had a mostly easy night as the Golden Knights limited the Predators to just six shots on goal through two periods of play. They made a push in the third period and ended the night with 17 shots on goal, but Hill stood tall.
A big part of the success of defense for the VGK has to do with the personell as with Zach Whitecloud back, the team finally has their ideal six defensemen all in the lineup.
"I thought we had a great game. It showed in plays where pucks were hitting bodies in front. We always got our sticks there first and we always had the right body position in front of the net and our guys did a phenomenal job blocking shots," said Hill.
A Win For the Dads
The Godlen Knights won their first game of their annual (or-should-be-annual-but-there-was-a-global-pandemic) dad's trip. They are now 6-0-1 in games where the dad's are in attendence as a unit and they will travel with the team to Minnesota for Thursday's game at 5:00 p.m.
"It's awesome and great for everybody. I think all of our parents made so many sacrifices as children wheter it was missing out on vacation to go to a hockey tournament and all the money it costs to play the game, especially as a goalie, it is awesome to have them here are share this experience," said Hill.