Golden knights vs wild
Photo Credit: TSN

FSM Presents: 2 Minutes with Gawlik – Weekly VGK Update – Vol 7

Franchise Sports Media

 

Welcome to a very happy “Two Minutes with Gawlik, Volume lucky number 7!” It should not be hard to figure out why I am so happy, it was another PERFECT week for Southern Nevada Professional Hockey! The Vegas Golden Knights and Henderson Silver Knights have the best record in their respective leagues. HSK currently sits 10-1, 20 points, and a points percentage of 0.909 and VGK currently sits at 16-4-1, 33 points, and a points percentage of 0.786. Five NHL teams have earned more points than VGK to date, but that is due to them playing more games. VGK has the best points percentage in the NHL. February 20th was the last time VGK and HSK lost, oddly enough both teams lost on the same day.

 

Golden Knights vs Wild
Photo Credit: Knights On Ice

March 1st vs. Minnesota: Perhaps the most exciting VGK game to date. First and foremost, VGK was able to welcome a small number of “Medieval Maniacs” to “The Fortress” for the first time in 2021. They were treated to a thriller! VGK trailed 4-2 in the third period. Nicolas Hague gave VGK some hope with just over seven minutes remaining. Alex Tuch sent the small but mighty crowd into a frenzy with forty-one seconds remaining. With Marc Andre Fleury pulled, Mark Stone sent a saucer pass to Tuch, who redirected the puck into the goal out of mid-air! Max Pacioretty ended this one off a nice pass on a two-on-one rush from StoneStone was the story notching five primary assists: so much joy and excitement watching this game from home.

March 3rd vs. Minnesota: The Wild were probably itching to get back on the ice to avenge Monday’s heartbreaking loss. VGK was in no mood for that to happen beating the Wild by a score of 5-1. Complete domination as VGK created an additional four points of separation from the Wild by winning Monday’s and Wednesday’s games.

 

Golden Knights vs Sharks
Photo Credit: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

March 5th vs. San Jose: Oscar Dansk got the start as VGK was scheduled for back-to-back games against the Sharks. VGK stormed out of the gates to a 3-0 lead. It felt like this one was on cruise control, but sometimes strange things happen when VGK plays San JoseVGK held a 4-2 lead with just over thirteen minutes remaining in the third. Logan Couture put the Sharks within one with just under fourteen minutes remaining. Kevin LaBanc tied it up when Dansk misplayed the puck with just over a minute remaining.  Heading to overtime, all eyes were on Pacioretty, and he rose to the occasion, scoring just over a minute in overtime. Ryan Reaves and Kurtis Gabriel had a spirited bout just as the puck dropped to start the third period. More on Gabriel below.

March 6th vs. San Jose: VGK was able to keep Saturday’s game in cruise control from beginning to end.  Fleury notched a shutout, Tuch had two goals, and VGK would win this one by a score of 4-0. Mark Stone left the game during the second period. It appeared that a puck hit him as he skated off the ice for a line change in the second period. Coach Pete DeBoer mentioned that it was more of a precautionary measure to not bring Stone back in the game for the third period. Hopefully, he can return to the ice tonight against the Wild.

 

Time to waste some words on Kurtis Gabriel of the San Jose Sharks.

 

Gabriel has played three games in the NHL this season, all against VGK. Going back to the 2013-2014 season, Gabriel is basically a lifetime AHL player. Prior to the current season, Gabriel has appeared in just thirty-eight NHL games and over three hundred AHL games. He has had multiple seasons at the AHL and OHL level where he has earned one hundred or more penalty minutes. Simply put, the dude is a goon called on to protect the San Jose Sharks when they play the Vegas Golden Knights. That alone speaks volumes to the turn the rivalry has taken. Sure, these two teams have history.

“Not a major” will always be on the minds of anyone in Vegas. The Sharks are choosing to give up a roster spot for a player that can potentially help the Sharks win for Gabriel. The Sharks would rather dress a goon to stir up the pot than field their best eighteen skaters to help the team win. I sincerely apologize for the last one hundred-seventy words or so. I could have written about something much more positive…see what I did there?

 

Alex Tuch is finding his game. He scored several big goals this week and doing it with a smile on his face.

 

Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: Knights On Ice

He is a sniper with speed. He is a big-bodied, power forward with speed. I have said this many times; he may be the toughest player in the NHL to contain coming through the neutral zone with speed. He may not have the same acceleration as players like Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon, but Tuch is turning out to be just as dangerous at times as those two elite players. Tuch coming into his own just may be what is needed to give VGK a Stanley Cup victory this year.

Fleury has been lights out. Who knows where this team would be had VGK traded Fleury in the offseason?  This is going to get tricky, so follow me for a moment. It was the wrong move for VGK to keep Fleury. Deep breath, everyone, please do not close your browsers. VGK is in the spot they are in this season because they have FleuryRobin Lehner does not appear to be close to returning. So, if Fleury were out of the picture, Dansk and possibly Logan Thompson would be sharing the goaltending duties. It is safe to assume that VGK would not have the best points percentage in the NHL without Fleury.

VGK is fortunate that the injury bug has not bitten them too hard. Everything seems to be clicking as well.  George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon are no strangers to making big moves during the trade deadline. This year’s trade deadline will most likely be different for Vegas as they have limited salary cap available. If VGK can avoid injuries to key players and if players like Alex Tuch and Cody Glass can continue to contribute on a nightly basis, VGK is primed for a deep run. However, one or two injuries to key players and a degression in performance can spell disaster.

VGK is at the Blackjack table, and the count is plus sixteen with a big bet on the table. With a favorable count, you are expected to win, but the monkey does not always appear when the dealer is showing a six.

 

Another four-game week is on tap for VGK as they travel to Minnesota and St. Louis to take on the Wild and Blues, respectfully.

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Chris on Twitter @TDChrisG

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