Round Robin play for the Vegas Golden Knights gets underway Monday evening vs the fourth-seeded Dallas Stars. The teams will face off at 3:30 PDT from "The Bubble", the Scotiabank Arena in Edmonton, AB, Canada. It will be aired on AT&T Sportsnet - Rocky Mountain in Vegas and Fox Sports Southwest in Dallas.
Exhibition Game Recaps:
One team was happy, the other was not. The Golden Knights got great performances out of the defense corps, the new-look third line, and Marc-Andre Fleury on their way to a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Those same Coyotes would go on to win Game One of their Play-In series versus the Nashville Predators.
Ironically, the Preds are the very team that blanked the Stars 2-0 in their exhibition meeting. While the Golden Knights won without a top-line player in Max Pacioretty, the Stars were unable to overcome the absence of first-line center Tyler Seguin. Viktor Arvidsson scored both Predator goals on the stellar Ben Bishop. Anton Khudobin, the 1B to Bishop's 1A, stopped all nine shots sent his way.
Pacioretty remains out of the Golden Knights' lineup per Head Coach Pete DeBoer. He went on to say Pacioretty is "on the horizon" and should be back soon. Their only change, expectedly comes in goal, with Robin Lehner replacing Fleury. Both men split time evenly since the acquision of Lehner at the trade deadline. He has yet to lose a game as a Golden Knight.
Andrew Cogliano left Thursday's exhibition game with an undisclosed injury. Both he and Seguin are expected to be in the lineup, despite limited practice time in the past few days with the club. Both men will immensely help stabilize an offense that was dormant in exhibition play.
Narrowing down a top performer for the Stars is quite easy. Both goalies kept the Stars' winning hopes alive, while the offense couldn't crack the scoreboard. Even better than his 9-for-9 performance, Khudobin's humor in practice is a thing of beauty.
We mic'd up Dobby at practiceYes, he is indeed a national treasure 🤣 pic.twitter.com/pf4qmGtoP2
That new-look third line really brought it on Thursday for the Golden Knights. The young, gifted Alex Tuch looked fresh and was all over the ice. He scored a sharp-angle goal, the third of the game for Vegas, and added an assist. His linemates Nic Roy and Nick Cousins both finished with two assists, with Cousins adding an empty-netter to his line in the closing moments of the game.
In goal, Fleury was pretty good, stopping all but one of the shots he faced. Giving up one goal, to Taylor Hall on the power play, is nothing to scoff at. There were long stretches where the goalie didn't see a shot on goal and admittedly it was hard to stay focused due to the solid defense in front of him.
Round Robin Overview:
Sunday night brought the opening of the Western Conference Round Robin slate of games. The top two seeds, the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche, played a spirited game that went down to the last tenth of a second.
Newcomer Nazem Kadri played hero for the Avalanche, giving them their first lead of the game, with 0.1 left on the clock. The goal was upheld after a lengthy review, much to the dismay of the Blues. It was a fitting end for the Avalanche who controlled play for a large portion of the game. Ryan Graves opened the scoring for the Avs in the third period. Former Golden Knight David Perron was the lone goal scorer for the Blues.
Game two of the Round Robin should be tougher on both clubs. The Golden Knights will take on the Blues on Thursday while the Stars get the Avalanche the night prior. That leads to Game Three weekend with Vegas vs Colorado on Saturday and the Blues vs Stars on Sunday.
With how good the Golden Knights looked and the Stars trying to get healthy and settled, I see a VGK win. A score of 3-1 seems right here, only because how good the Stars are in goal. Vegas will need a good showing from Mark Stone, who will want to establish himself before the round of 16.
Follow along with me on Twitter, as I'll be talking about the game for the full 60 minutes! Check out the links below!