The Vegas Golden Knights took it to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night as they won 4-1. Among concerning news around the NHL of the spread of COVID-19, the Golden Knights won in dominating fashion. This was their fifth win in their past six games as the team has been on an impressive run.
Max Pacioretty continues to be a beast since returning from injury as he scored twice. He now has more goals than games played this season and if it weren’t for him missing time, he would be right beside the goal-scoring leaders across the entire league.
Robin Lehner played a much better game tonight than he did last game. He allowed just one late goal when Patrice Bergeron beat him early in the third period. His job was made easier by the Golden Knights only allowing the Bruins to record 24 shots.
Brad Marchand, the Bruins top scorer, was missing from tonight’s game due to COVID-19 protocol. This is becoming a larger story around the league and the Golden Knights have been lucky to not have had any major outbreaks so far.
The Golden Knights position in the Pacific Division would be looking a lot better if they had a few overtime losses. Because all their losses this season have come in regulation, they’re further down the standings than we would expect considering they have the most wins.
Golden Knights get off to quick start
The Vegas Golden Knights got off to an incredibly strong start in this game. It was the first period that set the tone for the night as the Bruins never stood much of a chance. The Golden Knights controlled 75% of the expected goals at 5-on-5 in the first period as they controlled the game flow.
By jumping on their opponent early, they could play a style that suited their position for the rest of the game as they kept chances to a minimum, allowing only ten at 5-on-5 during the entire game. It was a good display of how to play with a lead.
How much the Bruins were affected by the absence of Marchand is tough to say but the Golden Knights did their job, taking both points that were up for grabs tonight assertively.
Chandler Stephenson continues dominant stretch
Chandler Stephenson has been on a tear recently as he continues to rack up points at a career-high rate. He’s been an excellent discovery for the Golden Knights and has meshed very well alongside Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone on the top line.
After last game, Stephenson shared that he recently lost his grandma and was clearly emotional. Stephenson has been playing the best hockey of his life during what is clearly a tough time for him, evidence as to the person he is.
Stephenson is making a strong case that he should stay next to Stone and Pacioretty (a trio that was on the ice for three 5-on-5 goals for and none against tonight) even when injured superstar Jack Eichel returns, potentially giving the Golden Knights a devastating duo of lines at the top of their lineup. If he continues to perform like this, he gives coach Peter DeBoer no choice.
COVID-19 protocols intensifying around the league
The past few days have seen a concerning amount of players testing positive for COVID-19 as there have been outbreaks on multiple teams. The Bruins were one of the teams affected as star forward Brad Marchand was held out of this contest due to COVID-19 protocols.
Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA want to see the season suspended but there have been multiple games postponed for later dates. As the spread of the virus continues, there could be more games postponed, especially as the Omicron variant continues to grow.
The Golden Knights have dealt with plenty of injuries this season and have shown that they can win even without a full lineup, an encouraging sign should they have to lose a player due to COVID-19 regulations.
The Vegas Golden Knights play their next game on Thursday at 4 PM Pacific Time. That game will be on the road against the New Jersey Devils.