VGK vs Ducks: Positive Changes

Wednesday night’s game was a spectacular, and donut-y delicious, performance by the Vegas Golden Knights.  Obviously upset at the way they’ve been playing so far this season, the Knights came out to prove they were not to be underestimated.  The changes made this game  were things we have all been waiting for all season.  If they continue to do those same things they did during this game, we can expect another magical season from our Knights.

*I know I’m a little late with this story, but I had stuff to do, so get off my back! 😉

Here are a few key changes, as well as some player shoutouts, from the last game that we hope will continue tonight:

Offense decided to REALLY help out on defense. 

I know the offense always helps out, but this was different.  Most notably was the Smith-Karlsson-Marchessault line.  They were playing defense as if they were the main defenders.  At one point I noticed Karlsson was the only one defending in front of Fleury where you would expect a D-man to be.  This occurred while Holden and Merrill were on ice.  If you’re like me, you cringe when you hear those two names together (they are not a successful pairing).  So I think the Karlsson line realized that they were really going to have to take on extra responsibility defensively in order to make the team successful, and it paid off! Just like in real life; you do a good job and they give you more to do!

The rebound! 

Anyone else freak out during the Stanley Cup Final over the abundance of rebound opportunities we had that we didn’t seize?!!  So frustrating, cause Holtby allowed for one practically every save…. *sigh*.   Anyway, last night the VGK didn’t let the rebounds go to waste.  They consistently had one to two players in front of the net ready to take the second shot.  This positioning has been lacking all season, so it was really refreshing to see the boys getting in front of the net and having it really work out for them.

Players Stepped Up. 

I can’t say that last night EVERYONE on the team fought like they did last season, but I can say that enough players stepped up that it made a huge difference.  In particular I saw a lot of fight in these players:

Bellemare- 

Belly seemed to be everywhere on the ice and was making sure that when a Ducks player had the puck, they weren’t going to have an easy time with it.  The way he fought for the puck no matter where it was is the type of play that made this team have an amazing inaugural season.

Eakin- 

 Cody Freakin’ Eakin. Ginger Spice (or Pumpkin Spice if you prefer… ’tis the season!).  He was on fire last night, and no, I’m not talking about his hair.  The goal he made on his breakaway was so beautiful that he made a backhanded shot look effortless. I may have even shed a few tears here, people! He played that game with purpose and passion, and it paid off in a big way.

Karlsson- 

I know a lot people are disappointed with Karlsson this year.  After all, he has only 4 goals this season and we were expecting 8-10. HOWEVER, he has still been a very solid player for us and there is no greater example of this than last night’s game.  Karlsson made several perfect passes to his teammates in front of the net.  They unfortunately didn’t score their shots, but that doesn’t make his pass any less valuable.  He was also playing very smart defensively, filling gaps that our defense left behind.  

**side note- I don’t know what’s going on with his line. Used to be Smith was always there with the perfect pass to Karlsson in front of the net, but this year Smith has decided to take his chances in the center, and unfortunately, its not his strong suit.  Don’t get me wrong, Smith is a surgeon with his passing, and my favorite player, but his accuracy in shooting is just not as good.  If that line can “regroup” and figure out their positioning, they’ll become a powerhouse line and we’ll all be cheering “Wild Bill” again.

Tuch- 

Alex Tuch has been amazing this season.  While last year he had ups and downs, as he learned his own strength and speed, this year he has really come into his own.  He’s playing with confidence and determination. We love seeing him take puck and look like a veteran player as he maneuvers around several opponents. It makes me really excited to see what kind of player he’ll be in the next few years.

All in all, this game made me feel like I could, again, breathe.  I have watched our second season on the edge of my seat, but if the Knights keep playing like they did last night, at least I’ll be watching with excitement instead of stress!  Now let’s beat the Blues!!!

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