No other team in the NHL had a better month of April than the Vegas Golden Knights. The boys from Sin City put together a 10-game winning streak, leading to an 11-3-1 record to round out the month. This allowed them to become the first team this season to clinch a playoff spot, which they did on April 22, in a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.
They played so well as a team that it’s hard to narrow down the three stars of the month for April because, in my mind, they are all stars. However, it must be done. So, without further ado, let’s sit back and count down the three stars of the month.
Third Star: Robin Lehner
Lehner had a major bounce-back this month, playing his best hockey while in a Golden Knights uniform, and that is why he occupies our third spot. At the beginning of the season, it looked as if Marc-André Fleury was the unanimous starter for this club, and was even being touted for the Vezina Trophy. Well, Fleury is still playing extremely well but Lehner has come back from injury with a vengeance and has been performing exactly the way Golden Knights management expected him to when they signed him to that lucrative offseason contract.
In eight appearances during the month of April Lehner posted a 6-1-1 record to go along with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage, along with one shutout. The Sweden native was building off an impressive return from injury in March, where he went 3-0.
It appears Lehner is back for good and if he keeps this up the Golden Knights will have one of the deadliest goaltending tandems in the NHL for the playoffs. Although I am a huge fan of Fleury, I am extremely happy Lehner has gotten his mojo back and hope he continues this play for the rest of the season.
Second Star: Shea Theodore
For the second straight month, Theodore occupied the second star of the month. His performances this month were phenomenal and led to him being the highest scorer among Golden Knights defensemen on the month. With a team that has Alex Pietrangelo on the blue line, Theodore has stepped up and has made a name for himself as the best defenseman on the team.
During the month of April, Theodore finished third among all Vegas skaters in points, and first among defensemen. In 15 games played Theodore put up one goal and 12 assists, along with a team-high plus-15 plus/minus. This proves he doesn’t have to score to make an impact, as he is best when dishing the puck to his teammates. What’s even more impressive is that he accumulated his plus/minus ratio while logging 21:50 minutes of time on ice on average through the month, the second-most on the team.
These stats and his leadership ability have the Golden Knights thrilled they have someone like Theodore on the back-end. Locked up until the 2024-25 season, Vegas is primed for success with this man patrolling their defensive corps.
First Star: Max Pacioretty
What a difference a couple of months can make. Back in October and November, trade rumours were swirling around marksman Max Pacioretty. The rumours suggested he and his $7 million average annual value could be shipped out to make way for some space for the cap-strapped Golden Knights. Ultimately, he didn’t get traded, and boy are the Golden Knights glad. After his performances this month, Pacioretty now sits second in points on the team, with 50 in 47 games played.
During the month of April Pacioretty was HOT, posting 6 goals and 11 assists in 15 games played, good for most among all skaters on the team during the month. As I said earlier, this pushes him to occupy second place in scoring on the team, as well as proving himself to be one of the most clutch scorers the game has ever seen.
It seems with Pacioretty he cannot be stopped, and he always finds the best moments to break out. Hopefully, he keeps this up come playoff time and we see some clutch playoff goals en route to the Stanley Cup Final.
Wrap It Up
The month of May is the last for all NHL clubs, as they wrap up the season with the remaining games left on the schedule. The Golden Knights face the Minnesota Wild on Monday, then play another five times before waiting to see who their first playoff opponent will be.
Only time will tell how they will fare in the playoffs, but if their play during the month of April serves as an indicator then we will surely be in for some exciting Golden Knights hockey come playoff time.
Who do you think we’re the three stars of the month? Let me know in the comments below!
Michael Vidakis is a Montreal native who writes for the Vegas Golden Knights team here at The Hockey Writers. In his spare time, he enjoys the finer things in life such as Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, staring aimlessly outside windows and tangerines.