The Golden Knights ended a four game home losing streak with a 4-0 win over Calgary in a matinee at T Mobile Arena on Sunday and extended their lead in the Pacific Division back to eight points over idle San Jose.
Marc-Andre Fleury was forced to be on his game in the 1st period as Calgary managed to put 20 shots on goal during the period holding Vegas to only six. The action picked up in 2nd period when trade deadline acquisition Ryan Reaves leveled TJ Brodie of Calgary knocking him to the ice and out of the game. The clean and legal hit started a bit of a melee but no penalties were issued. Reaves and Garnet Hathaway continued jawing to the face-off circle and before the puck could be dropped both were assessed unsportsmanlike conduct penalties creating a four on four opportunity for Vegas. During the four on four Dougie Hamilton of Calgary was assessed a penalty for tripping giving Vegas a four on three power play. It didn’t take long fo Colin Miller to blast one past Mike Smith to give Vegas all they would need on the day.
The Golden Knights weren’t done though as William Karlsson scored his 37th goal of the season on an assist from James Neal less than a minute after Miller. Karlsson added his second of the day following a bench penalty for too many men on the ice by the Flames when Jonathan Marchessualt set him up with a one timer to beat Smith. Karlsson closed the scoring with his third of the period when he raced by the Calgary defense and beat Smith again. For Karlsson it was his second career hat trick and the second in Golden Knights history. It was the first time any Golden Knights player scored 3 goals in a period.
With the win Fleury moves into 12th on the all time wins list for goalies with 401 and it was his 48th career shutout. Karlsson notched his 37th, 38th and 39th goals on the season and is five away from breaking the all time record for a Swedish born player in a single season and now leads all Swedish born players with 62 points on the season.
Jose Quintana brought his A game to Las Vegas going six innings striking out eight Cleveland batters while not surrendering a run in Chicago’s 11-4 win on Saturday at Cashman Field.
Indians starter Ryan Merritt was tagged for 8 earned runs while just lasting three innings in the loss. The Cubs scored two runs in the 1st including a solo homerun by Addison Russell. Chicago struck again in the 2nd when Jacob Hannemann crushed a two run bomb and the blowout was on.
In the 3rd Chicago blew it open when Jason Heyward singled home Anthony Rizzo and Mark Zagunis blasted a three run homer to give the Cubs an 8-0 lead. The Cubs added one more in the 4th and two more in the 7th to win going away. Mike Napoli of the Indians hit a two run shot in the 7th to give Cleveland their 1st runs of the day.
Hometown product Kris Bryant went 1 for 3 on the day with a strikeout. These two teams will do it again at 1 PM on Sunday afternoon at Cashman Field.
Minnesota Wild defeated Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 on Friday, March 16 at T-Mobile Arena. With that win, they have now beaten Vegas in all three games this season.
For the Golden Knights, the loss now marks their fourth consecutive loss at home. Their last victory in Las Vegas was on February 23 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Prior to the game, it was officially announced that Reilly Smith, Oscar Lindberg, Luca Sbisa, Brad Hunt, and Zach Whitecloud would not be playing.
Friday’s game was a memorable one for Wild’s Jason Zucker, who grew up in Las Vegas, as he scored the first goal of the night for his team with 12:41 remaining in the first period. In his 29th goal of the season, he was assisted by Nino Niederreiter.
Zucker spoke about scoring and winning in his hometown. “Yeah it was nice, it was a nice way to start the game, but ultimately we got two points and that’s what we came here for.”
Zucker stated there were about 30-40 family members and friends at the game supporting him. He also discussed if he ever thought he’d play an NHL game in Las Vegas. “No I never thought I would. It wasn’t even a dream, so I can’t even say it was a dream come true. I never thought it was going to happen, so it was really cool to do it, and on top of that having my family and friends here, my wife and kids. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Minnesota quickly gained momentum after Charlie Coyle’s successful shot with 14:07 to go in the second period, then Matt Dumba scored his for the visiting team. Dumba was assisted by Jason Zucker, who marked his 27th assist for this season, and Eric Staal who recorded his 32nd of this season.
With 6:32 to go in the game, Erik Haula scored Vegas’ first goal of the night and his 28th of the season. He was assisted by David Perron and Colin Miller.
Ryan Carpenter then helped bring Golden Knights one point away from tying the Wild with an empty-net goal with 55.3 seconds left on the clock.
Not to be outdone, Minnesota extended their lead with an empty-net goal by Zach Parise moments later, with 33.9 seconds remaining.
With the Wild’s season sweep of the Golden Knights, Jason Zucker shared his thoughts on why Minnesota matches up well with Vegas. “I think we’re just trying to play a stingy game. I think that’s what it is for us. We’re trying to not let them skate. They’re a fast team, they move pucks well and they make plays. So if you take away their legs and don’t let them skate it is going to be hard for them to make plays.”
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about Minnesota’s performance. “I thought they played great tonight, they competed harder than we did for most of the game. I think they played an excellent hockey game. We had a real good first period but again I think they were the better team. They deserved to win. That’s what they got.”
He also discussed his thoughts on the odd man rushes in the second period. “When our defense plays hard and pinch hard and forecheck as a five-man unit, it works real well. It’s been a big part of our game all year. Now tonight like you said, I agree with you a hundred percent, exactly what happened. We got caught a couple times pinching down and we didn’t have the reload from our forwards and we gave up some odd-man rushes.”
“I want our guys to be aggressive. I want us to play with that style but when you’re a little bit slow, and when you’re not backing up your defensemen when they go down, it’s going to cost you and it cost us tonight. But I don’t want us to change.” Coach Gallant concluded.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury addressed dealing with some frustrations in this game and the last. “We have had such success all year long and we haven’t had too many rough patches, especially at home. It’s frustrating and you know we can be better and that’s what is frustrating. I don’t like showing frustrations in games, like the last game, but sometimes it’s just to take pride a bit. We want to do well and win games, but we go to be able to channel it and take a deep breath through the game and find a way to be make it positive and get goals to win the game.”
Erik Haula spoke about why he felt Golden Knights had a slow start. “I don’t know but we got to figure it out really quick here. We had a meeting with the guys after the game and we got to realize we only have a couple handfuls left of games and we got to start peaking right now. I know first-hand you’ve got to play good hockey, your best hockey at the end of the year and that will help you a lot. Otherwise it’s going to be hard. We just keep learning lessons the way we have to play and what makes us successful and we have got to see that on Sunday.”
Haula reiterated, “We have to.”
Vegas Golden Knights record now stands at 45-21–5
They have six more home games in the regular season.
The Golden Knights will be playing Calgary Flames next at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, March 18 at 1:00 p.m.
For post-game media scrum with Wild’s Jason Zucker, click here.
For post-game press conference with Coach Gerard Gallant, click here.
Photos from game below.
Article and photos by: Helen Yee | @HelenYeeSports
We knew the upsets and buzzer beaters were coming but no one could see what would happen in Charlotte, North Carolina Friday night. UMBC shocked the world with a colossal upset of the #1 overall seed Virginia. Not very many people, let alone avid basketball purists know what those letters stand for. Now, they know the school of University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The Retrievers pulled off the biggest upset in college basketball history in dominating fashion 74-54 over the top ranked team in the nation.
Although they were made aware that anything can happen and not to overlook any opponent, the Cavaliers played like they were asleep. We have seen this lack of energy and casual style of play before with Virginia but to be crushed by a 16 seed is totally inexcusable. Number 1 seeds were 135-0 against #16 seeds in the history of the NCAA Tournament prior to this game.
Besides their lack of intensity, the reason for the Cavaliers embarrassing demise was their top ranked defense gave up 12 three-pointers on 24 attempts as UMBC shot an amazing 50% beyond the arc, while Virgina was only 4 of 19.
UMBC wasn’t the only cinderella dancing on Friday as earlier in the day, #13 seed Marshall defeated #4 Wichita State and gained their first tournament victory in school history. Along with Buffalo and Loyola who also won their first round games, this year’s NCAA tourney is proving to be the most unpredictable in recent history… and we only have completed the first round. Enjoy the madness!
The upsets and buzzer beaters have already begun. The NCAA Tournament is underway and it didn’t take long for the madness to start. In Thursday’s very first game Rhode Island and Oklahoma went to overtime before the Rams outlasted the Sooners 83-78 to get things underway. The Oklahoma loss will put an exclamation point on the theory that the sooners didn’t belong in the tournament as they closed the season losing 12 of their last 16 games and didn’t have a road victory in during this calendar year.
The first buzzer beater winner goes to Loyola as they nailed a three-pointer to eliminate Miami on Thursday. Buffalo shredded just about everyone’s bracket as they dismantled Arizona 89-68. The Bulls were biggest surprise so far as they were a 10 point underdog to win outright.
Favorites covered 10 of the 16 games on day one with the largest spreads being covered by Duke and Villanova. The Blue Devils won as a 21 point favorite and the Wildcats cashed in as 23 point chalk. Oher double digit favorites that covered were Kansas, Tennessee and Michigan.
Expect more excitement today as Round 1 continues. Enjoy the action and may your bracket survive and advance.
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