Golden Knights looking for fast start, first goal vs Capitals

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) makes a save against the New Jersey Devils...
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) makes a save against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Joe Buglewicz)(Joe Buglewicz | AP)
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 2:44 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Golden Knights didn’t get much help from the rest of the league Tuesday night, with wins by Los Angeles and Nashville along with Vancouver earning a point in a shootout loss to Ottawa. This has been the story for the VGK for a few weeks now, who have won seven of their last eleven, but are farther away from a playoff spot than two weeks ago.

“I’m going to quote one of our players yesterday that, ‘Every day in the NHL is a good day,’” explained Golden Knights Head Coach Pete DeBoer. “There is a lot of truth to that and you have to remind yourself of that sometimes because you can drag it around with ya. It is a good day. There are probably 13 or 14 teams playing out the string here and we’re not one of those teams, we’re still in the thick of things here. It’s a good day and you can’t let your attitude or energy be affected by things you don’t control.”

“Feels like we’re been down 2-0 in a playoff series for a month here,” admitted Golden Knights forward, Mattias Janmark. “We’ve been doing a good job and winning games, but you don’t get that much closer, you don’t get 2-2 if you win two in a row. We’ve been winning six in a row and still down 2-0 so it is hard, but it’s the situation we put ourselves in, so we just have to approach it do-or-die these last couple games, put it all out there, and see where it takes us.”

The Golden Knights haven’t done themselves any favors lately, losing three of their last four. The team believes one of the major reasons for the empty results have been their starts and the ability to score the first goal in games.

“Obviously when we score first that changes the dynamic of the game for us,” said DeBoer. “I want to start quickly which we’re capable of doing and then at that first goal to that start. That changes the dynamic of the game rather than playing from behind.”

“We’ve been playing with a lot of pressure for a long time now with the way we put ourselves in the standings and we’ve done a good job,” explained Janmark. “Now in these crucial games you have a lot of energy, you know what’s on the line and you try and perform that way. If you get that first goal you get to pour that energy out and your legs get a little lighter and start skating a bit more. When they get the first goal maybe you start to cramp up a little, grip your stick a little harder. You don’t want it to be that way, but that’s just the way the body works. You need that first goal to release your energy a little bit and then you can play after that, but that’s just the way it works sometimes.”

The Washington Capitals come into Vegas already clinching a playoff spot, but remain motivated as they jockey for playoff positioning and home-ice advantage in the first round. Wednesday’s matchup will be the third meeting between the two at T-Mobile Arena since Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. The Golden Knights are 2-0 at home against the Caps since finishing runners-up in the Finals.

“Real good team, healthy, not missing anybody, I think Hagelin might be the only going out for them and they’re obviously still playing for things,” said DeBoer. “There are no easy games as we know and when you’re looking at the last two weeks of the schedule this is as tough a game as there is on the schedule.”