NHL Slap Shots: Golden Knights having early success

By Joseph Fazio

Sports Blogger

@JosephDFazio

 

Vegas Golden Knights have an unlikely start to inaugural season

(Jon Bradley, Flickr)

The Vegas Golden Knights have had a more than impressive start to their rookie NHL Season. The team sits second in the Pacific Division with a record of 4-1-0 after a win Sunday against the Boston Bruins. Right winger James Neal has become the Knights’ star with six goals, the second-most in the NHL. The Knights picked up wins against the Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins and two against the Arizona Coyotes. Starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was placed on the injured reserve list Sunday. Fleury was diagnosed with a concussion after taking a knee to the head from Detroit Red Wings’ defenseman Anthony Mantha in a 6-3 loss. Fleury missed practice the following day and was soon placed on the IR. Questions have been raised about Fleury, who has a history with concussions dating to his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Malcolm Subban was claimed off of waivers from the Boston Bruins and will start at goalie until Fleury recovers.

Washington Capital Forwards on Top of the NHL Rankings

Washington Capitals’ centers Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and left winger Alex Ovechkin sit on top of the NHL in points. Kuznetsov leads the league with 11 assists and Ovechkin leads the league with nine goals. Ovechkin previously led the league in goals from 2012-16 before Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby finished last season with 50 goals. The Capitals, who sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-2-1 record have been able to put the puck in the back of the net but are in dire need of some defensive play. Goalie Braden Holtby has had a slow start to his season, allowing 2.47 goals per game and a .923 save percentage. The Capitals next game will be against the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-1-0), who are on top of the Atlantic Division.

Could This Be King Henrik’s Last Season in the NHL

The New York Rangers sit at the bottom of the table in the Eastern Conference with a 1-5-0. Much of the blame has been focused on the lack of determination of the team. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist seems to be nearing or at the end of his career. Last season, Lundqvist, a 35-year-old goalie from Sweden, had arguably his worst season. Lundqvist allowed 2.74 goals per game and a .910 save percentage, both the worst averages in his 13-year NHL career. In the five games the Rangers have played, Lundqvist is allowing 2.28 goals per game and a .914 save percentage. There is no clear backup for the Rangers as second line goalie Ondrej Pavelec has even worse statistics than Lundqvist. If the Rangers season continues to go down, watch for the team to bring up Alexandar Georgiyev from the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL as a possible starting goalie.

ozone@ocolly.com

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