Game Recap: VGK vs Islanders

Golden Knights (30-22-8) | New York Islanders (33-18-6)


A sold-out T-mobile Arena, pulsating with excitement, a pumped-up and energetic fan base watched as the people’s champion Ryan Reeves duked it out with New York Islanders’ Ross Johnson. Two of the NHL’s most respected enforcers and tough guys shook off the gloves after the opening face-off.

And with a few moments of anticipation as the two men sized each other up, looking for the right moment to strike, the two began a barrage of heavy strikes to the body and head, neither holding back, not flinching in the face of the opponents counter punches. They fought until the referees decided enough was enough, and both men were escorted to the box in front of a roaring crowd, fired up over what they just witnessed.


This opening moment fittingly set the tone for the game that was to come.


Saturday nights’ game between the soul searching Las Vegas Golden Knights (29-22-8) and the defensively talented New York Islanders (33-18-6) could only be described as a heavyweight title fight. Both teams, for the duration of the game, played stingy and inspired defense, not giving an inch to the opponent. They were both slashing, hitting, and striking each other all night. Both teams accumulated over 28 combined penalty minutes, 67 combined hits, and a lot of physical play that showed the identity of both. Neither team was interested in giving the other any chance to take the lead.

In games like these, where both teams decided to bring their best on the defensive side, one goal can and usually is the difference. So with the Golden Knights’ lopsided shot count: taking over 43 shots on goal as compared to New York who only took 19, gave the Knights a better chance to make the game-defining shot to win. And with less than 20 seconds left in what was looking like a scoreless second period, Reilly Smith, with help from Jonathan Marchessault, found a way past the Islanders’ starting Goalie Seymon Varlamov to score the games’ only goal.


With stellar play by star player Mark-Andre Fluery, giving up zero goals with 19 saves, the Islanders were undone by their offensive inability to get anything going. Vegas walked out of the game on top 1-0.


The Islanders were the second game of a five home game stint for the Golden Knights against top-level opponents in the coming week. With this latest win over the Islanders, Vegas will try and ride the momentum into Monday’s game against the powerhouse Washington Capitals and the NHL’s best player Alex Ovechkin.

But the Golden Knights have more to worry about than one man. In this game, they temporarily curved some of their defensive woes, not allowing a low shot count by their opponent to yield great results as they did in the previous two games. And with the Capitols having one of the highest goal percentages in the NHL, the Golden Knights will once again be tested on the defensive side.

For now, Vegas will celebrate it’s recent home winning streak, continuing to show that the team is no slouch and should be a part of the playoff conversation. With many more tests ahead of the Knights, the only thing this team should focus on is finding ways to win. They don’t have to be pretty, as displayed in this heavy-handed slugfest against the Islanders, but this spirited Golden Knights team has to continue to win more consistently, and Monday’s game will again display for the League what the Golden Knights are about.


– JaRon Turner – Franchise Sports Media 

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