Late Knight: How much weight did that game hold?
Late-night musings over tonight’s happenings against Edmonton.
Welcome back to Late Knight where things tend to not make sense yet we try anyway.
First thing’s first: Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have recovered from the turkey coma. I was yelled at via text by a close friend the other day for being too bougie and calling it Tryptophan, so I’m here to tell you it’s a preference.
- I want to give the Golden Knights a pass for Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. I’m aware this won’t sit well with some considering the magnitude of this game and how the Golden Knights now have lost the first two meetings against Edmonton, at home, to begin the season series. But while there was excitement about the Golden Knights getting back to full health for the first time in what seemed like three years, it was still the first step back for some. Max Pacioretty is only two games into his return from a broken foot; Jonathan Marchessault was back from COVID protocol; William Carrier even if you’re trying to incorporate depth guys. I get how that’s not really an excuse, but the Golden Knights can be given a pass by just staying afloat for even this long. Vegas has two games coming up against the Anaheim Ducks — another tough early-season test by all accounts — and the Arizona Coyotes, both on the road. Timing is going to play a factor as the Golden Knights get back to full strength. As much as folks wanted that win badly to make a statement, I would fall back from the edge of the cliff a tad.
- That being said, I understand the concept of it being a blown opportunity for the Golden Knights. If there is a night you hold Connor McDavid AND Leon Draisaitl off the score sheet, you should win that game. You can’t give Edmonton that many chances of odd-man rushes and breakaways, and that’s how the Golden Knights lost this game. Ironically enough, while McDavid nor Draisaitl factored into any of Edmonton’s goals, Pacioretty and Mark Stone were the reasons why Edmonton exited the first 20 minutes with a 2-0 lead. Pacioretty’s pass to Stone was intercepted by Tyson Barrie and quickly turned into a 2-on-1 with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opening the scoring. Moments later, Stone turns it over at the half-wall, Zack Kassian springs Zach Hyman and Hyman shakes off Stone — one of the strongest skaters in the league — and flips the backhand over Robin Lehner with 16 seconds left in the period. In a frame that saw both teams equal at 14 shots apiece, the final two shots from Edmonton in that frame flipped the game. Letting depth guys for Edmonton win a game is not something that has been the case over recent years. That’s why there’s a different vibe with Edmonton and why folks should feel this could be the year the Oilers make it a challenge come playoff time.
- I presumed Alec Martinez was close to returning after that nasty cut he took a couple of weeks ago, but it wouldn’t shock me at this point if it wasn’t just IR, but LTIR was the result. Should that be the case, the earliest we would see Martinez back is Dec. 8 against the Dallas Stars. For all we know, he’s back in the lineup sometime this week in time before the showdown with the Calgary Flames next Sunday.
- With the All-Star Game in Las Vegas, we may need to start discussing the ramifications of Chandler Stephenson being a Golden Knights selection come February. He scored his eighth goal of the season Saturday and has been the best player on many nights for Vegas. He’s not going to the Olympics, but what a consolation prize that would be.
- This was a fantastic week for sports in Las Vegas and I had the pleasure of being at most of them. Starting with the Raiders game on Sunday and then transitioning to a full week of college basketball on the Strip, I have seriously considered investing in a condo in the middle of Allegiant Stadium and T-Mobile Arena. Being born and raised in this city, I never would’ve imagined Las Vegas turning into such a mega-sports capital. This city used to pride itself on 35 million college basketball tournaments in March, and even in my college days, the Mountain West Tournament reigned supreme. Things have changed and evolved in a way I could never imagine, and it’s awesome./