Game Recap: VGK vs LA Kings – Game 66

Golden Knights (34-22-8)  L.A. Kings (24-35-6)


All good things must come to an end, and the Golden Knights saw that first hand Sunday night against division rival L.A. Kings in a 4-1 loss that shocked the home crowd.


Going into Sunday’s matchup with one of their most hated rivals, the Las Vegas Golden Knights enjoyed a franchise-record eight-game winning streak that had capped off a turn of fortunes for the team after a midseason struggle. The winning streak showed how the Golden Knights had reconstructed their defense, reenergized the offense, and tightened up mistakes and loose ends overall. But against the L.A. Kings, who have had a down year, looking to rebuild their roster, the Golden Knights’ old habits caught up to them.

Sunday night Las Vegas allowed the Kings four goals in a game where the Golden Knights outshot the opponent. The Knights, in this case, outshooting the kings 43 shots to a measly 17. This trend of allowing opponents better shots on goal resulting in points has been an issue all of February for the Golden Knights. The trend seems to be following them into the last month of the NHL season going into March, but the Knights were also sloppy on special teams. The Knights had four power-play opportunities, three late in the third period, and capitalized on only one of those chances while giving up two power-play goals Sunday night.

While the play of Anze Kopitar, the Kings’ best offensive player, and all-around all-star, was spectacular against the Golden Knights, the story for the Kings is centered around Goaltender Cal Peterson. The rookie goalie had 42 saves and an outstanding third period where he was bombarded by the Golden Knights offense with over 17 shots on goal, five coming during a single power play session, and gave up nothing to the Knights. His play late in the game saved the Kings from what could have become another third-period rally by the Golden Knights, something that fans of the Knights team have seen a lot of in recent games.


While the Kings’ play was great against their division rival, the Golden Knights play re-opened old wounds as Peter DeBoer’s team goes into the remainder of its season.


The Golden Knights have found ways to win games, controlling teams’ ability to score in many of the games they played over the last month, going 10-3 in February. However, for the Knights to lock in the top spot in the Pacific Division, they are going to have to play better against division opponents trying to play spoilers such as the Minnesota Wild and the L.A. Kings.

To do that, the Knights will have to get Mark Stone healthy. His abilities on the ice create better opportunities to score for the team and allow other players such as Johnathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty chances to score as well. Vegas will also have to make the most of their opportunities in special situations, such as power plays. The Golden Knights penalty kill percentage is one of the lowest in the NHL sitting at 77.4%, and it shows in spots that are detrimental to the teams’ success.


For the Golden Knights to stay ahead of Edmonton, Las Vegas will have to find a solution for their biggest weakness in the coming games. A massive rematch looms with the Oilers in Canada seven days from now.


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– JaRon Turner – Franchise Sports Media 



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