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FSM Essential Recap: VGK vs Coyotes – 7/30/2020

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The Vegas Golden Knights won their dress rehearsal over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 in Edmonton at Rodgers Place. We are not supposed to put a whole lot of stock into an exhibition game, but this game was different. All the exhibition games were different.

 

Usually, teams have a series of training camps followed by five or six preseason games before playing meaningful games. Typically sports do not get suspended for four-plus months. The layoff is what made tonight’s exhibition game a bit more meaningful. The games start to matter for the Golden Knights beginning Monday, August 3rd when they take on the Dallas Stars in their first round-robin game.

 

Golden Knights vs Coyotes
Photo Credit: Arizona Republic

Reilly Smith scored on the power play and penalty kill to give VGK a 2-0 lead in the first period. No scoring in the second period. Taylor Hall scored for the Coyotes on the powerplay midway through the third, but Alex Tuch answered with a nifty shot from a tight angle four minutes later. Nick Cousins sealed the deal with an empty netter with thirteen seconds remaining.

In the first period, VGK held the Coyotes to zero shots for a stretch of over seventeen minutes. VGK had a long stretch where they only had eight shots on goal in thirty minutes of five on five play. Chalk both of those events to the layoff.

Chandler Stephenson replaced the injured Max Pacioretty on the top line. Nick Cousins moved up to center the third line with Tomas Nosek centering the fourth line. It will be interesting to see what Coach Pete DeBoer does with the lines on Monday.

 

Marc Andre Fleury looked solid in the win. He had a brief scare in the first period with Nate Schmidt check Taylor Hall into him. Fleury bounced right up and seemed fine after the contact. VGK held Arizona to twenty-three shots on goal. Robin Lehner is expected to start in the first round-robin game Monday vs. Dallas with Fleury returning to the net against St. Louis on Wednesday.

 

Ryan Reaves may be getting a call from the NHL to discuss his hit on Nick Schmaltz during the second period. It appeared the principal point of contact with Schmaltz was to the head. Schmaltz would head to the locker room shortly after and not return for the rest of the game. Note that the Coyotes made it a point to mention that Reaves was not a dirty player moments after the hit. Hopefully, the NHL reviews the hit with the audio on.

 

Golden Knights vs Coyotes
Photo Credit: NHL

Alex Tuch can be a force in the postseason. He moves incredibly fast and smooth for his size. Once he gets a full head of steam coming through the neutral zone, he is tough to slow down. Playing on the third line will create all sorts of miss-matches throughout the playoffs, as most likely he will be playing against the other team’s third defensive unit a lot.

Nate Schmidt looked a bit uncomfortable on the bench. Coach DeBoer stated it did not appear to be anything significant. Jon Merrill was dressed as the seventh defenseman, and if Schmidt must miss any time, Merrill most likely draws back into the lineup.

The Vegas Golden Knights had something fun taking place alongside the game on their YouTube and Twitch feeds. Titled “Fortress at Home,” you saw a lot of the in-game programming you would know if you were at T-Mobile for a live game. Carnell Johnson did a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. The VGK goal horn blared as “Vegas Lights” played by Panic at the Disco after VGK scored. Recordings of performances by the Knight Line played during a timeout. This was the exact element of feeling a part of the game for which I had been looking. Kudos to VGK for bringing a piece of The Fortress into our homes.

 

Next up is VGK’s first round-robin game against the Dallas Stars on Monday at 3:30pm. The Stars failed to log a goal against the Nashville Predators in their exhibition game. Tyler Seguin was ruled “unfit to play” however, he is expected to be ready to play in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Seguin was the leading scorer for the Stars with fifty points in the regular season.

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: TDChrisG

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