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Golden Knights Flatten Canucks Early; ‘There’s Excitement’



Vegas Golden Knights Game, Win over Vancouver Canucks

The Vegas Golden Knights (42-25-8) are beginning to assert themselves in the Western Conference playoff race. Wins are stacking up like poker chips in front of Daniel Negreanu. The Golden Knights won their third straight and sent a loud message to their rival, the Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks (46-21-8).

The Golden Knights hung four goals on Vancouver goalie Casey DeSmith in the first period, and the game was never again in doubt. The Golden Knights cruised to a 6-3 win at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday.

“Today, there was good juice. I think the team is in a good place. The guys that were injured, they’re healthy, they’re feeling it again,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It doesn’t happen automatically. Logan (Thompson) is feeling good about his game, and when you’re goaltender is on, it makes everyone else feel better. There’s a lot of that going on. There’s an excitement with (Tomas) Hertl being back in the ice … I think the guys know what’s around the corner if we take care of business.”

What’s around the corner are the Stanley Cup playoffs and a chance to defend their magical “Cup in Six” run with a “Cup in Seven,” too.

Anthony Mantha continued his resurgence and offensive outburst with the Golden Knights. Pavel Dorofeyev could have been given an assist, but it was technically an unassisted goal as Dorofeyev was stopped on a breakaway but poked the puck away from DeSmith into the crease. Mantha (22) buried the loose puck at just 1:37.

Five minutes later, Jonathan Marchessault continued his assault on the scoresheets. Vancouver overcommitted on the rush, and the Golden Knights counterattacked with a four-wide jailbreak. With several players racing toward DeSmith, Marchessault (41) kept the puck for a sneaky stick-side wrister that lit the lamp.

Marchessault is just two goals away from tying William Karlsson’s single-season record of 43 goals. He also had two assists Tuesday night, including setting up the next Golden Knights goal.

Another jailbreak counterattack. Another player was open in the slot. Marchessault set up Eichel (26), who buried the close-range wrister at 9:40 of the first period.

Noah Hanifin notched the fourth goal of the period and 12 of the season when he scored a power-play goal at 14:42. Eichel had the primary assist.

By the end of the first, it was 4-1 Golden Knights, and they were able to keep Vancouver in check for the remainder of the game. Nils Hoglander scored the lone Canucks goal in the first period.

Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson continued his run, building on the recent Central Division road trip. He stopped 27 of 30 shots, and the Golden Knights did a good job of keeping the high-danger chance to a minimum. According to, the Golden Knights allowed only seven high-danger chances.

The Golden Knights wasted little time in the second period putting the game away. Karlsson (26) ended the competitive nature of the game when he scored the Golden Knights’ second power-play goal of the game at just 1:46 of the second.

Vancouver efforted to make a game of it. Quinn Hughes, whose name is pronounced Norris Trophy favorite, scored twice. First, the all-world defenseman scored six minutes into the second period, then again at 1:41 of the third period.

However, the Golden Knights flexed their response muscles. Just as they did so many times in last year’s playoff run, the Golden Knights scored immediately after they allowed a goal. Brett Howden (8) chipped in the depth scoring to remind the Canucks the game was out of reach.

And it was.

The Golden Knights are now three points behind the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific, as a Round One playoff battle with Connor McDavid and Edmonton looms. The Golden Knights are five points ahead of the second-wild-card LA Kings and eight points ahead of the St. Louis Blues (the first team out of the playoffs) with seven games to go.

The VGK visit the Arizona Coyotes on Friday before facing the Canucks on their home ice on Monday.