Your Vegas Golden Knights kicked off the week with a thrilling shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators and then took to the road to battle the state of Pennsylvania with affairs against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers and finished off the road trip versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
The league also suspended one of the Golden Knights’ forwards for use of an illegal substance, a new face made his NHL debut on the blue line and much more in this weekly segment.
The Golden Knights took on the Senators on Thursday in Mark Stone’s first game against his old club, but it was his friend in net who was the star. Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves in the shootout victory and was the man of the hour. He made a number of grade-A saves and the one below was during the three-on-three overtime session. Keep this one in your memory bank as it has the potential to be the save of the year.
Then the team hit the road for three games. The first stop was in Fleury’s old stomping grounds against the Penguins. After pranking all of his former teammates pre-game, he was lights out on the ice. He made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season and provided us with another acrobatic save.
He already has a number of highlight reel saves from this season and that is why he is my pick for the Vezina Trophy this season.
After a performance to forget against the Flyers, they finished the road trip in Chicago and pulled out a 2-1 shootout victory. The boys were down 1-0 heading into the third period but put pressure on the Blackhawks all period as they fired 15 shots on net and Nick Holden was able to crack Robin Lehner in the final two minutes of the game.
Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore scored in the shootout to seal the win. It was the first time all season that the Golden Knights did not score first and were able to come away with two points. Mark Stone also extended his point streak to eight games as he found Holden streaking down the wing for the game-tying goal.
Forward Valentin Zykov was suspended for 20 games when he tested positive for an illegal substance. The team shared the following statement regarding the situation.
We were notified by the NHL and NHLPA that Valentin has violated the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. We monitor the nutrition, supplement intake, and overall diet of our athletes on a continual basis throughout our entire season. Valentin knowingly used a banned substance without the consent, recommendation or knowledge of our team. We support the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and respect the decision here.
Zykov knew he was in the wrong and he nor the team are going to appeal the suspension. You hate to see a player get suspended, but when your team comes out and says the player knowingly used a banned substance without consent, that does not bode well for his future.
Bischoff Makes NHL Debut
Jake Bischoff made his NHL debut against the Penguins last week in place of Nicolas Hague. Hague looks good one game and then will have an off night, so head coach Gerard Gallant wanted to get some fresh legs on the ice.
Oscar Dansk was called up to fill in for the injured Malcolm Subban. With the back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday, and Fleury already experiencing a heavy workload so far this season, Dansk was given a start. This was his first NHL start in almost two seasons, the last being on Oct. 30, 2017.
It was not one to remember as he gave up six goals against the Flyers. There were two stretches in the second period that the defense let him down as the Flyers scored twice in a 44 second span and another two goals in a 55 second span.
Milestones and the Week Ahead
Here are a couple of milestones that could be reached in the week ahead.
- Max Pacioretty is two points away from 500.
- Paul Stastny is four points away from 700.
- Cody Eakin is two goals away from 100.
- Marc-Andre Fleury passed Terry Sawchuk for seventh all-time in wins with 446.
Your Golden Knights will play two games this coming week at the Fortress. They host the Colorado Avalanche for a Friday matinee at 3:00 PM and the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday at 5:00 PM.
The Avalanche just suffered their first regulation loss of the season to the St. Louis Blues on Monday and may have lost star forward Mikko Rantanen to an ankle injury. Him and Nathan MacKinnon are tied for the team lead in goals (five), assists (seven) and points (12).
The Ducks will be coming into town on the second night of a back-to-back and have been hot to start the season. New head coach Dallas Eakins has them playing with a quicker tempo and the team has a number of young players integrated into their lineup this season.
Make sure to check out my 3 Stars segment as well. The first star of the week will receive five points, second star will be awarded three points and third star will get one point. I will donate one dollar per point to the player who has the most points at the end of the season to their favorite charity.