60°F
weather icon Clear

Golden Knights get defensive during winning streak

Updated January 3, 2019 - 2:48 pm

The Golden Knights woke up on Christmas morning and found a suffocating defense in their stocking.

Since the holiday break, the Knights have allowed three goals in going 4-0.

They will look to carry the momentum into Friday’s 7 p.m. game against the Ducks at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

“Obviously, you’re pretty happy with the team when you play defensive games like we’ve played,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We haven’t given up a whole lot of chances over the last few games. We’ve got great defensive help and obviously our goalie has been great for us the last three or four games.

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“It makes a big difference. We want to play that way. It starts in the defensive zone and when you’re playing good hockey, that’s what happens. I just like the way we’re playing a complete game.”

The commitment to the defensive zone was particularly evident on Tuesday as the Knights limited the Kings to just 17 shots, including four in the second period.

Defenseman Nate Schmidt has felt the improvement and believes it is helping the team on both ends of the ice.

“I think our defense right now is doing a really good job of eliminating plays,” he said. “Through December a little bit, we were letting teams cycle and recycle and wear you down and then you don’t play as well in the offensive zone because you’re worried about trying to shut things down.

“We’re shutting things down a little bit faster I think and that’s just allowing our guys to be more offensive, have a little more energy up in the rush and kill their plays.”

Schmidt’s return after 20 games helped the defensemen settle into more comfortable roles and the impact has been dramatic as the Knights have gone 16-4-3 since he came back. Now their game is truly rounding into where Gallant wants it as they have outscored their opponents 13-3 over the last four games.

“We’ve played real well and it was some of our best games the last couple,” Gallant said. “The more scoring we get, the better. But what I’m most happy with right now is the way everyone is committed to playing defense and doing a good job in the defensive zone.

“That’s where it starts and that’s where the offense starts. The more players you have with talent and skills, it’s definitely going to help you win games, but I love the way we’re playing right now.”

That’s because Gallant has seen his forwards get involved all over the rink.

“Just because we’re called the forwards doesn’t mean we’re not out there to defend, too,” Ryan Reaves said. “That’s the number one end. You have to take care of your end first and then work your way out.”

Reaves can see the impact the defensive intensity has on the opposition.

“When you’re playing tough defense and frustrating teams and not giving them any chances, it’s so tough on your opponent,” he said. “It wears on them. I think right now we’re stopping plays in the neutral zone a lot and if they’re not being stopped in the neutral zone, we’re making them make a play they don’t want to make. Either they’re dumping it in to the wrong spots or they’re just throwing it in there because they don’t have another play.”

The Knights aren’t necessarily doing anything new, just executing as they have wanted to all along.

Gallant believes the three days off the team had for the holiday was a big factor.

“We’re just playing our game,” he said. “We’re playing better, quicker and with more energy. We talked about how before the break we weren’t playing real well. For me, it was about being tired and a lot of road travel.

“After the break, we got refreshed and we’re playing with a lot of jump. That’s the difference to me.”

They will look to keep it going on a brief one-game road trip on Friday.

More Golden Knights: Follow at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge Mailbag | November 14th, 2019
The Review-Journal's Ben Gotz and Adam Hill are back for a new rendition of the Golden Edge mailbag! Send in your VGK questions, and they'll answer them live on the stream.
Golden Knights to honor "Miracle on Ice" team
The Golden Knights will honor the 1980 USA Olympic men’s hockey team on the 40th anniversary of its “Miracle on Ice” victory against the Soviet Union next year. On Feb. 22, a public event with the 1980 team will take place at the Thomas & Mack Center that will include video of never-before-seen moments from its implausible run at Lake Placid, New York. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Alex Tuch Returns to Practice After Second Injury - Video
Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch returned to practice on Tuesday afternoon. Tuch missed the last four games due to an upper-body injury sustained in the team’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 3.
Golden Knights Know They Need to Play More Dominant Style of Hockey - Video
The Golden Knights recent road trip turned out to be an unsuccessful one, as the team went 1-3 away from home. Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch says one of the problems lately has been that his team is just trying to win games, instead of completely dominating their opponents.
Alex Tuch And Nate Schmidt Return To The Ice - Video
Alex Tuch and Nate Schmidt return to practice as the team becomes more energized after their win against the Anaheim Ducks.
Golden Knights Watch Party At Las Vegas Ballpark - Video
The Golden Knights host a watch party at the Las Vegas Ballpark where fans gathered to watch the game against the Pittsburg Penguins.
Golden Edge Mailbag | October 17th, 2019
The Review-Journal's Ben Gotz and Cassie Soto are back for a new rendition of the Golden Edge mailbag! Send in your VGK questions, and they'll answer them live on the stream.
Malcom Subban Day-To-Day, Gallant Talks Golden Knights' Goaltenders - VIDEO
After suffering an undisclosed lower body injury in a loss to the Arizona Coyotes, Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban was announced as having a day-to-day injury when head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about his goaltenders after practice.
Golden Knights lose 4-1 to Coyotes - VIDEO
The Golden Knights lost 4-1 to the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale. VGK Goalie Malcolm Subban exited the game early with an injury and is Day-to-day.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant knows Coyotes are "very aggressive" - Video
The Golden Knights will head to Arizona to face the Coyotes on Thursday with hopes to bounce back from Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Bruins. Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant is fully aware that the Coyotes are a very aggressive team and knows his guys will have to match that speed.
Golden Knights Feast on Shark - Video
After swimming with (and defeating) the Sharks in their first two games of the season, the entire Vegas Golden Knights team feasted on their fair share of seafood at Zuma Las Vegas inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Golden Knights Greet Fans At Gold Carpet - Video
The Golden Knights walk the gold carpet before puck drop at their season opener against the San Jose Sharks at the T-Mobile Arena.
Golden Knights Hold Private Practice, Lunch for 1 October First Responders - Video
The Golden Knights held a private practice at City National Arena for first responders, Mandalay Bay employees and guests who were affected by the 1 October events. After practice, guests were able to meet the Golden Knights themselves to take pictures and get autographs.
Golden Knights Prepare to Honor Those Affected by 1 October - VIDEO
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon discusses the teams upcoming practice which will honor those affected by the events on October 1, 2017. The team has invited guests including first responders, Mandalay Bay employees and others who were impacted. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon Discusses Roster Updates - VIDEO
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon discusses the teams roster and key injuries ahead of Opening Day (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Golden Knights Max Pacioretty on the Golden Edge Podcast - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty joins the Golden Edge podcast to talk about the upcoming season for the Knights, the rivalry with the Sharks and the Pacioretty 67 burger.
Golden Knights Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin Injured in Preseason Loss to Kings
The Golden Knights not only lost to the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Friday night, the team also saw Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin head off the ice with injuries. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz give an update on the players injuries as well as discuss what went wrong for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Suffer Second Preseason Loss to the Kings - Video
The Golden Knights suffered the team's second loss of the preseason, this time to the LA Kings 3-2. Head coach Gerard Gallant knows his team got off to a sloppy start but was impressed with the final effort.
Golden Knights Forward Ryan Reaves wants to play in the pre-season - VIDEO
Golden Knights Forward Ryan Reaves talks about coming back from an injury and a possible long term deal with the team. September 26, 2019.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gallant speaks on injuries and cuts before last two pre-season games - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant speaks after practice on September 26, 2019, on injuries and cuts before last two pre-season games.
Golden Knights Suffer First Preseason Loss to Avalanche, 4-1 - Video
The Golden Knights suffered the team's first preseason loss, after falling to the Avalanche 4-1. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz break down what went wrong for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights React to First Preseason Loss - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant called the first loss of the preseason a "team loss" that was "tough to watch."
Paul Stastny On Playing More Games - Video
Golden Knights forward Paul Stastny talks about preparing for the regular season and playing more games before the season starts.
Golden Knights Nate Schmidt Talks About Seeking Change With PED Testing - Video
The Golden Knights wrap up their practice for the day and Nate Schmidt hoping to see changes to PED testing.
Nate Schmidt On Wanting Change With PED Testing - Video
Nate Schmidt speaks about wanting to see change with PED testing in the NHL.
Fleury and Marchessault Play Heads Up - Video
Golden Knights Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Marchessault play heads up VGK edition.
Aliens invade City National Arena for competition - VIDEO
Aliens attended the City National Arena for a competition to see who was best dressed. The prize was out of this world. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights rally to beat Kings in OT, 3-2
The Golden Knights were down 2-0 halfway through the third period, but two quick goals helped get the team back on track to beat the Kings 3-2 in overtime.
Golden Knights' Deryk Engelland Shares Advice with Rookies - Video
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland has some advice for rookies: “Stick with what got you there.” The veteran NHL player also recalls his first goal as a pro.
Golden Knights Continue Preseason Success with Win Over Avalanche - Video
The Golden Knights prospects are continuing to prove they are worthy of a starting position, this time with a shutout 5-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant Praises Prospects - Video
A day after the Golden Knights 6-2 preseason victory over the Arizona Coyotes, head coach Gerard Gallant discussed how impressed he is with the prospects, including defensemen Nicolas Hague and Dylan Coghlan.
THE LATEST