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The Vegas Golden Knights (19-13-5) collected a 3-2 victory against the Minnesota Wild (16-14-5) on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena.

After Mats Zuccarello gave the Wild a 1-0 lead late in the first period, the Golden Knights battled back and took a 2-1 lead in the middle frame. Chandler Stephenson scored to level the score before Shea Theodore’s goal in the dying seconds sent Vegas into the second intermission with the one-goal edge. Tomas Nosek increased the home team’s lead to 3-1 near the midway mark of the third and, despite a late goal from Zach Parise, the Golden Knights came away with the 3-2 win.

When it looked like Vegas and Minnesota would head into the third period level at one, Theodore scored the late go-ahead goal to give the Golden Knights the momentum. Vegas controlled the pace in the final frame and held the lead through the final horn.

Mark Stone: Stone recorded two assists in the victory to hit 20 helpers on the year.

Chandler Stephenson: Stephenson’s third goal as a Golden Knight got the team on the board.

Tomas Nosek: Nosek’s goal came just after a successful penalty kill in the third period.


Vegas hits the road a trip to Vancouver and San Jose. The trip begins Thursday night with a game against the Canucks at 7 p.m. at Rogers Arena on AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports 98.9/1340.

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For their entire existence, the Golden Knights have played a man-on-man coverage system in the defensive zone under coach Gerard Gallant.

But Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime victory over Nashville marked the first time the Knights used zone coverage, and they plan to stick with the new system against Arizona on Friday at T-Mobile Arena.

“I think that’s something that our coaching staff and management wanted to change to shake things up a little bit,” defenseman Shea Theodore said. “It’s a completely different way than we’ve played since the team came here. There is going to be that slight adjustment period of communicating, and some of those goals (Wednesday), those are just working out those kinks.

“I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part, and it’s going to be a pretty good system going forward.”

The Knights’ previous system called for the defensemen and forwards to stay with their man throughout the defensive zone with the occasional switch, similar to basketball.

But Gallant said opposing teams too often were exploiting the Knights in the slot when the coverage broke down.
“We found some teams were taking advantage of some stuff and giving them too much open ice,” Gallant said.

The focus of the new system is to guard the middle of the ice while keeping shots to the perimeter, similar to the philosophy used by the New York Islanders.

“At this point in the season, we just feel like we’re giving up too much in our zone,” defenseman Jon Merrill said. “We made a few tweaks to hopefully protect the good ice in the slot there and have more guys come back and kind of pack it in.”

The Knights struggled at times against Nashville, particularly in the second period when Roman Josi’s playmaking caused confusion in the defensive zone. The Predators finished with a 34-28 advantage in shots on goal during regulation.

But one hope is the new system will allow the Knights to conserve energy since they’re not chasing the puck all over the zone.

“You’ve got to change it up a little bit when things aren’t going well,” right wing Reilly Smith said. “It was good to see our group mold our defensive system a little bit and come out with a win.”

Fleury likely out vs. Coyotes

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury remains on personal leave in Montreal and isn’t expected to be available for Friday’s game, Gallant said.

Fleury, who turned 35 on Thursday, left the team Tuesday because of a serious family illness. There is no timetable for his return.

Zykov sent to AHL

Suspended Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov cleared waivers Thursday and was assigned to the American Hockey League.

Zykov was eligible to return Friday from his 20-game suspension for violating the terms of the NHL/NHL Players Association Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

Turkey time stats

The Knights (12-11-4, 28 points) enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal as they sat in the final wild-card position in the Western Conference, which has become an important predictor of success.

Since the 2005-06 season, more than 75 percent of teams that are in a playoff position on Thanksgiving have gone on to make the postseason.

Last season, five teams came from out of the playoffs on Thanksgiving to qualify, including the Knights and Stanley Cup champion St. Louis.

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Community is a contact sport for the Vegas Golden Knights and the team showed that Monday when players visited pediatric patients at Summerlin Hospital and University Medical Center.

The players spent time with kids of all ages battling different illnesses that are keeping them hospitalized through the holiday season. The team took photos, signed autographs and delivered VGK gift bags for the kids.

Taking a step back from hockey and spending time with kids is something that defenseman Nate Schmidt said is just as rewarding to him and his teammates as it is exciting for the children.

“It’s a fulfilling time of the year to be out in the community and be with the kids,” Schmidt said. “It was great to be around the kids and share that Christmas spirit.”

For kids who don’t have a lot to smile about while receiving treatment, a visit from their local NHL is a way to forget about what they’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis for a few minutes. That smile is what it’s all about for defenseman Brayden McNabb.

“If we can put a smile on a couple of kids faces and make their day, that’s amazing,” McNabb said. “It’s fun for us to come and be able to do this.”

The individual moments the players share with patients are memories that both parties hold with them long after their brief interaction is over. For Schmidt, seeing a kid open up about things that make them happy warms his heart because it takes the conversation away from what has the child in the hospital in the first place.

“The first kid we met, his name was Michael, he was really shy, and he didn’t really want to talk much. But then his nurse came in and he was a bit more comfortable and he told us all about what he wants for Christmas,” said Schmidt.

As the holiday season continues, Schmidt said he felt the essence of what the season is all about with each moment he shared with a kid going through tough times.

“You’re a part of that room for that amount of time and that’s all that matters,” said Schmidt. “They’re excited, we’re excited and that’s why they call it the Christmas spirit.”

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Two teams on two very different paths entered a division rematch on Thursday, but the team lower in the standings ended up coming away with two points as the Vancouver Canucks took home a 5-4 overtime victory against the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks are still without a regulation victory against Vegas, however.

The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Golden Knights as well as a three-game skid for Vancouver.

It was a rough start for Vegas as the Canucks scored on their second and fourth shots of the night, taking an early 2-0 lead. However, Vegas got a rebound goal from Jonathan Marchessault to make it a 2-1 game with just over six minutes left in the first period.

All three members of the first line made a great play on this goal, as Reilly Smith intercepts the pass before passing it up the ice to William Karlsson, who was in ahead of Vancouver’s defense. Marchessault follows up the shot attempt and pounces on the rebound to get Vegas on the board.

However, Elias Pettersson put another goal past Marc-Andre Fleury to regain Vancouver’s two-goal lead through 20 minutes.

The Knights were able to draw even at three by the end of the second, however, thanks to another goal from the first line (this time from Smith).

Again, a great job from all three members of the first line, as Karlsson gets behind the net, finds an open Marchessault, who finds an open Smith for the score.

Vegas also got a goal from Nick Holden in the second, his fourth of the season, which ties him for the lead among Knights defensemen. That goal could be considered controversial, however, as Holden made a check on Josh Leivo that ended up knocking Leivo out of the game before Holden’s goal.

Pettersson scored again to make it a 4-3 game in favor of Vancouver. However, Mark Stone scored late in the third period to knot it up and force overtime.

Stone’s goal boils down to three players — Shea Theodore, Max Pacioretty and Stone. Theodore grabs a pass from Tyler Myers and takes it the other way, finding a way into the offensive zone before getting the puck on net. Pacioretty grabs the rebound and tosses it back to Theodore, who keeps it in the zone and then finds Pacioretty open on the other side of the zone. Pacioretty then finds Stone, who chips the puck over Jacob Markstrom’s shoulder.

Unfortunately for Vegas, Chris Tanev was able to convert on a high-danger chance in overtime, which sealed the win for the Canucks.

It was another undisciplined game for the Golden Knights. They took 14 of the game’s 20 penalty minutes and did not receive a power play until the final three minutes of regulation. The penalty kill did perform admirably, or as well as possible with five penalties to kill, allowing only six shots and two high-danger chances against in 10 minutes of shorthanded time.

The Golden Knights also committed too many turnovers, with five giveaways, including three from defensemen (Nate Schmidt’s leading directly to a goal). Plus, Vancouver was credited with seven takeaways.

Vegas was dominant in terms of possession at even strength until overtime. In regulation, the Golden Knights had a 64.29 percent Corsi, a 60.32 shot share and a 60.97 percent expected goal share, all excellent numbers.

Puck possession flow chart Natural Stat Trick
Unfortunately for Vegas, Markstrom did just enough to support the Canucks’ offense and keep Vancouver in the game, making 38 saves on 42 shots for a .905 save percentage.

Fleury wasn’t great, either, making just 29 saves on 34 shots, allowing 2.03 goals above expected (the Golden Knights’ defense allowed just 2.97 expected goals against), for an .853 save percentage. Vegas is now 2-9-2 in games where Fleury has had a save percentage below .900 this season.

Ultimately, however, it feels like the blame lies on the Knights’ discipline and inability to stop taking penalties, turning a 1-0 lead early on into a 2-0 lead in the first period. If the Knights could have given themselves fewer shorthanded minutes and more time at even strength, where they were dominant, maybe they would have gotten a better result.

Even so, the Knights are now tied with Arizona with 44 points in the standings; Vegas is in second place because the Coyotes have a game in hand, but the point helps Vegas maintain its ground in a tight Pacific Division race.

The Golden Knights will face another Pacific Division opponent as they are set to take on the Sharks in San Jose on Sunday.

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The phrase “man advantage” becomes a misnomer when William Karlsson and Reilly Smith are on the penalty kill.

The two Golden Knights forwards are shorthanded terrors, always a deflection or a pokecheck away from an odd-man rush. They pounce on any opportunity an overly aggressive power play gives them.

That continued Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith forced a turnover in the defensive zone, rushed down the ice and patiently waited for Karlsson to get open for a tap-in goal.

“Just trying to get us back to even,” Smith said. “I definitely owe him for a lot of backdoor tap-ins that he’s given me over the last few years.”

The goal continued the duo’s staggering work on the penalty kill this season. Karlsson has five shorthanded points (two goals, three assists), while Smith has four (two goals, two assists).

Only six NHL teams have outscored the pair’s four combined goals on the penalty kill. Karlsson has been on the ice for more shorthanded goals (five) than power-play goals against (four).

”We have the mindset of trying to attack when we can,” Karlsson said. “There are some spaces that open up, especially when teams have only one guy on the blue line. It’s been working pretty well.”

The two are uniquely gifted to take advantage of those openings. Karlsson and Smith are two of the Knights’ best defensive forwards and keep their sticks active in the defensive zone to hunt for turnovers. They’re also both blazing fast but keep their heads up when skating through the neutral zone.

That allows them to find each other when they’re going full speed to the net. Even when they don’t see each other, they’ve played together for three seasons so they usually know where the other one will be anyway.

That’s what leads to shorthanded goals off the rush like Saturday’s, or Smith’s in the season opener against the San Jose Sharks. Smith created a turnover at the blue line with his stick, passed to Karlsson, got the puck back and scored for his first goal of the season.

“It’s fun to watch,” defenseman Deryk Engelland said. “I get to kill with them lots. Any time we can get a puck to the neutral zone, you never know what’s going to happen with those two out there.”

Smith seems to be enjoying their chemistry too, especially since his first two NHL teams, the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, barely trusted him on the penalty kill. But then he was traded to the Florida Panthers, who were led at the time by Knights coach Gerard Gallant.

He earned Gallant’s trust on the penalty kill then, and now no coach would think about not putting him on the ice shorthanded. Same goes for Karlsson, and he and Smith have celebrated their combined success by setting each other up for plenty of goals.

“I owe him probably 10 more,” Smith said. “But, you know, don’t tell him that because he’ll start shooting it on 2-on-1s. I enjoy backdoor tap-ins too.”

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Golden Knights had a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a victory Thursday night, which seemed an unlikely prospect a month ago.

After scratching out a point against Vancouver, the Knights will settle for sitting even in points with Arizona atop the standings.

Vancouver’s Christopher Tanev scored 1:30 into overtime to send the Knights to a 5-4 loss at Rogers Arena in the first game of the Fathers Trip.

“It’s a good point for us. We didn’t play our best to start the game,” right wing Mark Stone said. “For us to still outshoot our opponent by (nine shots) shows we played some really good 5-on-5 hockey.”

Stone tied the game with 4:20 remaining in the third period as the Knights extended their point streak to four games (3-0-1).

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Reilly Smith and Nick Holden had second-period goals to help the Knights overcome a 3-1 deficit after the first. Jonathan Marchessault added a goal and an assist.

Elias Pettersson scored twice, including with 10:41 left in the third period to give Vancouver a 4-3 lead. Antoine Roussel and Tanner Pearson also had goals for the Canucks, who scored on two of their first four shots.

Jacob Markstrom finished with 39 saves, including a blocker stop on Paul Stastny with two minutes remaining to keep the game tied at 4.

“We needed to do a little bit better job in the first period clearing the front and coming back to support our defensemen and those don’t happen so we’re not chasing the whole night,” Smith said. “We did a good job coming back and tried to control the pace for most of the third period, but it’s hard to come back in this league.”

Here’s what stood out from the loss:

1. Momentum swing

The Knights controlled play for the final 12-plus minutes of the first period after falling behind by two goals and nearly went into the locker room tied.

Stone cut through the slot and had Markstrom leaning the wrong way, but his backhand was turned aside with 45 seconds left in the period.

Vancouver went the other way, and Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt made a careless pass in his own zone that was intercepted. J.T. Miller moved around Brayden McNabb and got off a soft shot, but Marc-Andre Fleury gave up a rebound and was unable to cover the loose puck before Pettersson poked it in for a 3-1 lead with 28 seconds remaining.

“We didn’t take care of the blue paint. That’s what we didn’t do,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “They scored at least two goals from the blue paint in the first. We got better at that the rest of the game. When you let people get to the blue paint and there’s loose pucks around there, they’re going to put them in the back of the net.”

2. Momentum swing, Part II

Holden delivered a check from behind to Vancouver’s Josh Leivo, who crashed awkwardly into the boards and stayed down for more than two minutes before he left the ice favoring his right leg with 8:18 remaining in the second.

The hit didn’t sit well with the Canucks, several of whom tried to get at Holden in the ensuing scrum, or their fans, as Holden was not penalized.

They felt even more aggrieved 28 seconds later when Holden’s shot from the point sailed through traffic and tied the game at 3.

“I think earlier in the year, we didn’t really have that killer instinct to come back in a game,” left wing Max Pacioretty said. “Obviously, we’ve been feeling a little bit better about our game as of late, especially individuals. Being able to claw your way back into a game is a good feeling, but ultimately you want to get that second point.”

3. Like old times

The Knights’ first line of William Karlsson, Marchessault and Smith are starting to click the way they did during the inaugural season and combined for six points to lead the comeback.

Marchessault cleaned up a rebound in the first period, and the three connected for a beautiful goal in the second that cut Vancouver’s lead to 3-2.

Karlsson fought off a check behind the net from Bo Horvat and centered the puck to Marchessault. He made a one-touch pass to Smith at the side of the net for his 14th goal.

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The Vegas Golden Knights closed out their November schedule with 2-1 shootout victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday at T-Mobile Arena.

After a quiet first period, Alex Tuch opened the scoring with a power-play tally as he deflected a pass from Nicolas Hague into the back of the Arizona net. At the 14:53 mark of the second, Jakob Chychrun scored for the visitors to tie the game at one heading into the last intermission. After a scoreless third period plus five minutes of overtime, Alex Tuch beat Darcy Kuemper in the third round to give Vegas the 2-1 shootout win.

Malcolm Subban: In his third consecutive start, the Vegas goaltender stood tall through extra time making 35 saves on 36 shots.

Alex Tuch: Tuch scored in regulation and the shootout to lead Vegas to its second consecutive win.

Nicolas Hague: The rookie defenseman set up Tuch for the team’s lone goal in regulation.


Vegas will hit the road again for a three-game trip starting Monday night as they visit the New York Rangers at 4 p.m. PT. Catch the action on AT&T SportsNet, FOX Sports 98.9/1340 and Deportes Vegas 1460.

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New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux has been fined $2,.000 for his hit on Vegas forward Cody Glass. The NHL announced the fine yesterday.
Brendan Lemieux has been fined by the NHL for an elbow to Vegas Golden Knight rookie Cody Glass. The New York Rangers forward hit the Vegas player with a little over three minutes left in the second period. He wasn’t penalized on the play. Cody Glass was obviously dazed and had to leave the ice with assistance. He suffered a concussion on the play.

The hit has caused a furor in Las Vegas with fans calling for a suspension. Lemieux was challenged and fought Vegas’ William Carrier in the third period.

Here is the hit:

Despite the fact that there was no penalty on the play, due to the injury, it was reviewed by the NHL Department of Player Safety. Here is their explanation of the fine:

New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux has been fined $2,000.00 for elbowing Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Glass during NHL Game No. 466 in Las Vegas on Sunday, Dec. 8, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 16:40 of the second period.
The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

That sure tells us a lot, doesn’t it? On one hand, the Rangers should be happy that Lemieux escaped with a $2,000 fine and wasn’t suspended. He has already developed a reputation in the league and is currently second in the NHL in penalty minutes.

On the other hand, Lemieux was fined for the Vegas hit that wasn’t ruled a penalty in the game and appeared to be accidental. While it’s just a fine and not a suspension, building up a history of disciplinary actions will affect any future rulings.

A prior suspension
Lemieux also has a history. While with the Winnipeg Jets last season he was suspended for two games for an illegal hit to the head. The check to Florida’s Vincent Trocheck was completely different than his hit on Cody Glass. He was also given a match penalty and had a fight right after the hit. Here is the NHL’s explanation of the suspension.

Lemieux’s check on Trocheck was much more predatory and intentional. That;s the big difference with his check on Cody Glass. After the game Lemieux explained that it was accidental and reached out to Glass as he was being taken off the ice.

After the game, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant was more forgiving of the check. “I don’t think there was a real attempt to hurt him…but you’re responsible for your stick. You should be responsible for your elbow.”

On Monday, Knights defensemen Brayden McNabb told the Las Vegas Review-Journal “From what I know, it’s an avoidable hit…it doesn’t need to happen, and now you’ve got a young guy who’s not playing and it’s crucial to his development. He’s a big part of our team. It’s a team that we only play twice and we’re done. I guess you could say it’s part of hockey, but it’s unfortunate.”

A precedent last season
There is at least one precedent for the fine after that hit. Last March, Chris Kreider was fined $5,000 for a hit that was practically identical to Lemieux’s. Kreider hit Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson with an elbow, bloodying the Canucks forward. Kreider was given a game misconduct and a two minute elbowing penalty. Pettersson returned to the game, a 4-1 Vancouver win.

Why Kreider’s check warranted a $5,000 fine and Lemieux’s a $2,000 fine is tough to explain. Kreider was tossed from the game and the Rangers were shorthanded and gave up a power play goal. Pettersson returned and played a regular shift the rest of the game.

Sunday, there was no penalty on Lemieux’s hit. With a concussion, Cody Glass is expected to miss some action. In hindsight, the long term effect of the Lemieux hit will be much worse than Kreider’s.

There have been eight players fined so far this season for infractions ranging from elbowing to unsportsmanlike conduct. Lemieux’s $2,000 fine is the smallest so far this season with Ryan Johansen and Evander Kane each fined $5,000 last week for elbowing.

It would be helpful if there was more of an explanation about why the determination was made to fine a player rather than just stating that a player has been fined.

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Marc-Andre Fleury fans can soon take home a limited edition bobblehead figurine of the Vegas Golden Knights goalie.

“We’re excited to release this very unique bobblehead of Marc-Andre Fleury as part of the Player Riding series,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “Few goaltenders have been better than Fleury between the pipes and the arrival of the fan-favorite to Las Vegas made the Golden Knights an instant contender.”

The bobblehead figurine showcases Fleury riding on the landmark “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and wearing a Golden Knights sweater goalie leg pads. He’s also depicted with his hands outstretched.

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum produced the figurines.

Each bobblehead is individually numbered 2,019 and are available for purchase through the museum’s online store. Any orders placed before Dec. 19 are expected to arrive in time for Christmas.

The bobbleheads are $40 each, plus a flat shipping fee of $8 per order.

Fleury joined the Golden Knights in 2017 and is a four-time NHL All-Star who won a gold medal with Team Canada during the 2010 Winter Olympics. He entered this season with 439 victories and 56 shutouts in the regular season and 78 victories and 15 shutouts in the playoffs in his long career.

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They’re still not white hot. But they’re getting there. The Vegas Golden Knights have turned the burner to medium and are poised to flip it to high.

The club has put together its best 10-game span of the campaign with a 7-2-1 record. That’s the best run of 10 since they went 9-1 last season immediately after acquiring winger Mark Stone.

The club finds itself sitting third in the Pacific Division prior to any action Tuesday. Vegas has won three of its last four and two of them were of the blowout variety. The second period in Sunday’s 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks was one of the most dominant periods the club has played. They were physical, smart and opportunistic. For a VGKer, fan, coach, player or manager, it was simply fun hockey of which to be a part.

The question now for the Golden Knights and their fans is can they go to the next level? Can they go on a spurt which puts them among the elite of the NHL? There are some signs which say they can.

Goaltending tandem
One of the factors dragging Vegas down early was the club’s inability to earn points in games when Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t in net. And the team’s reliance on him threatened to leave him spent at the regular season finish line.

The resurgence of Malcolm Subban has dramatically helped Vegas as he’s won five of his last seven starts and gained standings points in six of those games.

Having a second goalie who provides wins gives the coaching staff the opportunity to trim some of Fleury’s workload.

Up until November 23, Fleury led the league in games played (20) and was 2nd in TOI (1159:00). Since then, Fleury is 47th in GP and 49th in TOI. Fleury has gone from being on pace to play 66 games to being on pace to play 52 games.

Offense from defense
Production from the backend was a worry for Vegas early on but of late, the blueline has been redlining on offense.

In October, Vegas ranked 30 of 31 teams in production from defensemen with 17 points. Since then the team is up to 18th with 39 points since November 1. Nate Schmidt’s return from injury has boosted this number and Shea Theodore piled up five assists just last week.

Gerard Gallant likes his team to play hard but clean hockey. Be physical but stay out of the penalty box. For much of his tenure in Vegas the club has been one of the least penalized teams in the NHL.

To begin this season, however, the team consistently took too many penalties.

The last 10 games has seen the team take 2.63 penalties per 60 min at 5v5. Prior to that, Vegas was at 3.73 penalties per 60 mins at 5v5. That’s a big reduction and key in that mix is defenseman Brayden McNabb who was averaging 1.2 PIM/game in the first 25 games but is down to 0.18 PIM/game over the last 11 games.

Maximum Max
Max Pacioretty has been excellent and his 34 points in 36 games to start the season is the most he’s had in any season in his career (over the first 36 games played). His previous high was 32 points in his first 36 games in 2012-13. It’s also the highest points in a 36-game stretch since his 2016-2017 season, when he posted a high of 37 points in 36 games.

Scoring from everywhere
The Golden Knights have gotten goals from Ryan Reaves, Valentin Zykov, Nick Holden, Deryk Engelland and Chandler Stephenson of late and depth scoring is always great. But as the saying goes, “your best players have to be your best players” and that’s been happening for Vegas.

In December, the Golden Knights have 44 points in eight games from the club’s seven highest paid forwards (5.5 points/game). In 14 games in November, those same seven players produced just 52 points (3.7 points/game).

More from Marchessault
Jonathan Marchessault has five goals in his last seven games. On Sunday, Marchessault scored his 100th regular season NHL goal and became the 128th undrafted player to debut since 1963-64 and score 100+ career regular-season goals. In contrast, 813 drafted players have turned the trick since the league’s inaugural draft.