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FSM Essential Recap: VGK vs Stars – 8/3/2020

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The Vegas Golden Knights found a creative path to victory in their first round-robin game against the Dallas Stars on Monday afternoon.

 

VGK got an early goal by Chandler Stephenson that found its way through the five-hole of Dallas Stars goalie, Ben Bishop. The rest of the first was scoreless. Joe Pavelski, Jaimie Oleksiak, and Corey Perry would score three straight goals giving the Stars a 3-1 lead going into the second intermission. Vegas was given life halfway through the third when Mark Stone bounced a beautiful wrist shot off in the inside of the far post.

Nearly two minutes later, Nate Schmidt would get the tying goal off a pass by Reilly Smith that was intended for Jonathan Marchessault.

 

VGK vs Stars
Photo Credit: Dallas Morning News

The “Meatgrinders” line would notch the GWG. William Carrier, facing away from the net, managed to push the puck between his legs as Bishop scrambled across the crease in an attempt to keep the game tied. There was contact between Carrier and Bishop, and the goal was waved off by the referee.

Coach Pete DeBoer challenged the call on the ice, and Toronto would overturn. William Karlsson would ice it with an empty netter with twenty-one seconds remaining.

What stood out to me in this one was the line juggling by Coach DeBoer. Nick Cousins found his way up and down the lineup. The defensive combinations were mixed and matched. Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault were reunited.  It seemed like DeBoer had one of those metal bingo cages with the arm that sticks out. He took the first three numbers that came out down the slide after he spun the cage a few times. I am not sure if Coach DeBoer was mixing up the lines looking for a spark, or trying to prepare the players for the on-the-fly changes they will face throughout the playoffs. Perhaps a combination of both?

 

VGK seemed extremely relaxed on the ice, and this was on display while Carrier’s no-look between the legs goal was under review.

 

VGK vs Stars
Photo Credit: Knights On Ice

The players were laughing and chatting it up as they waited for the determination. The outcome of the round-robin games is important, but the more significant focus seems to be preparing for a long playoff run. VGK had stretches where they looked like one of the top seeds in the Western Conference. They also had a long stretch where they looked like a first-round exit.

Nate Schmidt showed his offensive presence throughout the night. He had a shoot-first mentality once inside the offensive zone. Alex Tuch was quiet after a dominating performance in the exhibition against Arizona.

I am curious if reuniting Karlsson, Smith, and Marchessault was for one night only, or if we will see more of them together in game two. The chemistry between the three of them is still there. Robin Lehner had a strong performance in net. An unfortunate bounce of our defender, a perfect screen, and a great deflection is how Dallas scored. Lehner saved everything he was supposed to, and a few he wasn’t.

 

Next up for VGK is their second round-robin match against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. St. Louis allowed the go-ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche with 0.1 remaining on the clock in the third period on Sunday. Marc Andre Fleury will be in net.

 

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: TDChrisG

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