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Hill Sharp in Return: Golden Knights Defeat New York Islanders 3-2

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The Vegas Golden Knights were anxious to get the taste out of their mouths from Monday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. Coach Bruce Cassidy called Monday’s game beer-league hockey from the Golden Knights. Tuesday’s effort against the New York Islanders was much closer to the standard of Golden Knights hockey that Cassidy expects.

The Golden Knights scored first and never trailed against the Islanders, something they did not do against the Devils. Ivan Barbashev got the game’s first goal, extending his points streak to four games. Sheldon Rempal scored his first NHL goal on the powerplay in the second period after scoring 99 career goals in the American League. Nicolas Roy scored the eventual game-winner. Roy had two points in tonight’s win giving him eight points in the last five games.

The Golden Knights won 3-2 giving them 62 points on the season.

The Golden Knights had a disastrous road trip leading to the All-Star break last season. In four road games, the Golden Knights went 0-2-2. The Golden Knights already have three points on this year’s four-game road trip before the All-Star break.

Adin Hill Sharp in Return

Adin Hill was on the ice for 6:25 on Dec. 17 against the Ottawa Senators before removing himself from the game due to a lower-body injury. Hill was removed from the game on Nov. 30 due to precautionary reasons. Nov. 22 was the last time Hill completed a full NHL game, just over two months ago.

Hill looked sharp in his first game back from injury. The Islanders did not make Hill’s first game back an easy one. Hill made 40 saves on 42 shots which included 16 high-danger chances by the Islanders.

Lineup Change Led to Game-Winning Goal

It was a bit of a head-scratcher not to see Brendan Brisson in the lineup after scoring his first NHL goal Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Here is Cassidy’s breakdown of why Rempal was in the lineup over Brisson. “Nothing against Brisson, we just felt one of the issues with the younger guys in a back-to-back is strength. We knew it would be a heavy game. You saw it with Pav (Pavel Dorofeyev), he had a tougher time tonight. The younger guys, when you’re a little fatigued, it’s a tough league if you’re not at 100%. That’s just the reality of learning to play in the league every night as a young guy.”

In Cassidy we trust.

Quotables

“Normally guys say they blackout but I think I’ll remember every little detail about that goal.” Rempal on scoring his first NHL goal. “You’re not a human being if you don’t have doubts. I think it’s all about hanging in there. When it’s your turn, it’s your turn.”

“It was fun to get back in game action, tonight.” Hill after the victory. “I felt pretty good, our guys played a good game. I felt like I didn’t miss a day.

“We certainly perfect, I thought we competed harder to keep the puck out of our net which was the ask after last night.” Coach Cassidy comparing the last two games.

Points Pace

Last season, the Golden Knights had 62 points through the first 51 games. It took the Golden Knights 48 games to hit 62 points this season.

Concern

Brett Howden was a minus-1 in Tuesday’s game which puts him at minus-6 over the last two games. Howden’s plus/minus is now the second lowest on the Golden Knights at minus-8 on the season, trailing only Paul Cotter who is minus-9. This is the second game in a row in which HockeyStatCards has not thought too highly of Howden’s effort.

Next Up

The Golden Knights have two much-needed days off before their back-to-back games against the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.