Golden knights vs blues highlights
Photo Credit: AP

FSM Presents: 2 Minutes with Gawlik – Weekly VGK Update – Vol 16

Franchise Sports Media

 

Welcome to “Two Minutes with Gawlik, Volume 16.”  Just two regular season games remain as VGK has an eye on winning the West Division and Presidents Trophy!

 

Golden Knights vs Coyotes
Photo Credit: Yahoo

Monday, May 3rd vs. Wild: For fifty-eight minutes and thirty-two seconds of hockey, it seemed like VGK would get another two points in the standings in a pivotal game. This one had a glass half full type of feeling until the Minnesota Wild threw the glass right off the table. We are not talking about a small mess to clean up either. The glass shattered into a million pieces, and the Midori Sour (had to Google “green drinks”) splattered all over the crème-colored couch in the living room. Robin Lehner was far from his best but did not deserve all the blame. Joel Eriksson Ek started the scoring by beating Lehner five-hole. Lehner was without his goalie stick for what seemed like an eternity. Alec Martinez had just returned the stick to Lehner. Lehner was unable to get the stick properly set.

In my opinion, this was a colossal communication breakdown on the VGK side. Traditionally a forward will sacrifice their stick to the goalie when he loses his. Someone on the ice or the bench must communicate that Lehner lost his stick. VGK responded with two quick goals ninety seconds apart. VGK led 3-2 going into intermission. Peyton Krebs logged his first career NHL point on a primary assist to Alex Tuch. VGK held two-goal leads on two separate occasions. The Wild have had a flair for the dramatic all year and pulled off a stunner by scoring three third-period goals. The final two goals coming with less than two minutes remaining. This game had more of a playoff atmosphere than last week’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche. Big hits and plenty of after-the-whistle gatherings.

Wednesday, May 5th vs. Wild: At this stage of the year, it seems like every game is “the most important game of the year.” This was VGK’s third “most important game of the year” in a week. Leading to Wednesday’s game, VGK is 1-1 in “most important games of the year.” Excitement, controversy, blood, and overtime…this one had it all. The first period had a melee when Nicolas Hague boarded Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov bloodied Zach Whitecloud, which drew a five-minute major. Upon review, it was “not a major.” Since Kaprizov only punched Whitecloud, the call was reduced to a minor.

Later in the period, Ryan Hartman was parked in front of Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury protected his space by delivering a cross-check to HartmanBrayden McNabb was nearby and received a punch from Hartman. McNabb responded with a punch that bloodied Hartman. Old-time hockey! VGK carried a 1-0 lead into the third period.  Kaprizov scored two goals two minutes apart, and it felt like disaster was striking again in MinnesotaReilly Smith converted on a late powerplay to send it to overtime. Alex Pietrangelo was the hero scoring less than two minutes in.  VGK is now 2-1 in “most important games of the year.”

 

Golden Knights vs Blues Highlights
Photo Credit: AP / John Locher

Friday, May 7th vs. Blues: The Blues and Golden Knights are on a collision course to meet in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.  As of writing this, VGK is in a position to win the Honda West Division, and the Blues are locked in at 4th place. VGK drew first blood, however, they found themselves trailing 3-1 late in the second period. Alec Martinez scored with ten seconds remaining in the second period to give VGK momentum. Nicolas Roy tied things up in the third, and the two teams needed overtime to settle the score.

Lehner had a rough game but came up big in overtime. It seemed as this one would be heading for a shootout; however, Jonathan Marchessault found the back of the net with eighteen seconds remaining in overtime.

Saturday, May 8th vs. Blues: The Blues and Golden Knights looked like two teams that played the night before. The game was a bit sluggish and lacked energy at times. The Blues are not playing for anything at this point of the season, and it seemed like VGK played down to the Blues’ level at times. VGK won 4-1 in a game fueled by a Reilly Smith hat-trick and forcing the Blues to turn the puck over. The Blues shifted gears in the third period by focusing less on hockey and more on hitting. As I mentioned in the recap for Friday’s game, the two teams will almost certainly meet in the first round, so the Blues tried to send a message.

 

Mark Stone mentioned that it would be nice when Ryan Reaves returns to the lineup. He does not think there will be as much chirping out there.

 

Golden Knights vs Coyotes
Photo Credit: Action Network

Last week’s games were more intense as far as physical play went. Fights, big hits, blood, and nastiness made for fun hockey to watch. Teams will have to think twice about their physical game when Reaves is on the ice. Reaves has also been a contributor during VGK’s last three playoff runs. He is a +5 with two goals and four assists in thirty-six games. Not exactly the type of stats that jump off the page, but he is a serviceable player beyond his role as a line four energy player.

David Perron was an integral piece of the success during VGK’s inaugural season. As with many former VGK players that have come back to T-Mobile Arena as a visiting player, Perron received nothing but cheers and support. That is about to change. Assuming VGK and the Blues faceoff in the first round, Perron may need a period or two to become public enemy number one. He plays on the edge and is not afraid to take a run at anyone. What used to be cheers and respect for a VGK alum will become boos and anger in the next week or so.

T-Mobile Arena welcomed the Henderson Silver Knights for a Saturday matinee against the San Jose BarracudaHSK went on to win by a score of 5-3. Cody Glass had a three-point performance. I can not imagine he figured to be in an HSK sweater for this game when the season started. Glass has had a rough year with VGK but seems a step above the AHL game. He does not overly stand out, but he makes plays and gets on the scoresheet consistently. One can only imagine what the next season has in store for Glass…and if it will be in Southern Nevada.

Just two more games of the regular season for VGK.  A win tonight against the Avalanche secures the Honda West Division and VGK’s first Presidents Trophy in franchise history.  What a year it has been…and to think I called VGK a fringe playoff team in my season outlook article. Oops.

 

I look forward to having you back in the box for another “2-Minutes with Gawlik” next week right here on Franchise Sports Media.

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Chris on Twitter @TDChrisG

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