VGK beat Chicago for 4th straight road W
The Vegas Golden Knights grabbed their fourth road win in as many tries Thursday, Dec. 15 as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, from the United Center.
Vegas is now 11-2-1 all-time against Chicago. Vegas completes this two-game road trip a perfect 2-0-0, grabbing all four points that were up for grabs.
“I liked our third period a lot,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “The first period, we generated some looks. The second, we got away from it and the third we talked about what we needed to do, and I thought they executed that. We handled whatever was in front of us whether it was losing a guy or whatever’s in front of us.”
This win gives Vegas their 22nd win on the year and they now have a record of 22-9-1, good for 45 points in the Pacific Division. The Knights currently hold an eight-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings with Seattle dropping to third place with 35 points.
Vegas returns home Saturday, Dec.17 to start a four-game homestand. Saturday’s contest features the New York Islanders who are 17-12-1 on the year and have lost five of their last seven games.
Goalie Logan Thompson held Chicago scoreless for 56:06 of this game before right-wing Taylor Raddysh scored the lone goal for the Blackhawks. Before that goal, Thompson had held Chicago scoreless for a total of 116:06 going back to the last time these teams met on Oct. 13, a game that was a 1-0 win for Vegas.
Thompson saved 24 of the 25 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .960. This was the first time in three games that Thompson has had a save percentage greater than .900.
“Personally, it’s been frustrating as of late,” Thompson said. “I expect more of myself. This game is huge for us on the road as a team.”
It was a multi-goal night for the shorthanded goal king Reilly Smith who netted his fourth shorthanded goal of the season for the Knights. Smith leads the league in shorthanded goals for the season with four. Minnesota’s Connor Dewar is behind him with three shorthanded goals.
“I didn’t do anything, Karlsson did everything by himself,” Smith said. “He picked off a pass, created a breakaway for himself, won a puck battle between three guys, and was able to find me in the slot.”
The Golden Knights seemed to be participating in Throwback Thursday as most of the players that are still on the roster from the inaugural season had multi-point nights.
Smith finished with two goals, center William Karlsson had two assists and center Jonathan Marchessault had two assists. These three individuals were also announced to be the three stars of the game.
Golden Knights newcomer defenseman Brayden Pachal recorded his first career NHL point when he assisted on an empty net goal by Smith.
Other goals from the Golden Knights included one from center Chandler Stephenson in the first period and center Phil Kessel in the second period.
The Vegas special teams had successful performances in this one with the power play scoring on their only opportunity and the penalty kill successfully killing off both penalties they faced including scoring shorthanded on one of those penalties.
Vegas has scored at least one power play goal in six of their eight games played in December and they are scoring on 40 percent (8 for 20) of their power play opportunities in December.
With the recent success of the power play, Vegas has moved up to 12th in the league in power play percentage for the season. For most of the year until December, the Knights were in the bottom third of the league in power play percentage.
One note to keep in mind after this game is that Vegas did lose another guy to injury in this one. Center Paul Cotter suffered an upper-body injury in the second period and did not return. Cassidy said the team would further evaluate him when they returned home.