Vegas Golden Knights Vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Good, Bad, Ugly

There couldn’t have been a worse ending to the homestand for the Vegas Golden Knights who dropped an ugly loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

After consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the LA Kings, the Vegas Golden Knights dropped their third straight loss in the final game of their seven-game homestand.

It was the last thing the Knights wanted with an incredibly tough eight-game road trip ahead of them, and it was just another reminder of the flaws that plague this team.

On what was just another miserable night for this team, the Golden Knights failed to breach the fortress that was Elvis Merzlikins, who made 27 saves for his first career NHL shutout.

And, for the sixth consecutive game, Vegas allowed the first goal in the first period after Emil Bemstrom beat Marc-Andre Fleury from the left circle with a wicked one-timer.

Pierre-Luc Dubois then made it a two-goal game after tipping a shot past Fleury, before Alexander Wennberg iced the game in the third period with a deadly wrister.

It was just a night where nothing went right for the Vegas Golden Knights, and we decided to break down the game in our own unique way…

Final
Columbus Blue Jackets
3
Vegas Golden Knights
0

The Good

Marc-Andre Fleury – Let’s preface this by saying that there wasn’t a whole lot of good for the Vegas Golden Knights against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

However, one positive was the play of Marc-Andre Fleury, who had come under fire lately for a few less than stellar outings.

But, Fleury was superb against the Blue Jackets and he kept his team in the game with a plethora of sublime stops, including an outstanding glove stop to stymie Seth Jones in the third period.

Fleury made 19 saves in total and, while it wasn’t a night to remember for the Knights, it was an important bounceback performance for the future Hall of Famer.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 11: Keegan Kolesar #55 of the Vegas Golden Knights takes the ice for warm-ups prior to a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at T-Mobile Arena on January 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

Keegan Kolesar – We’re clutching at straws here when it comes to taking positives from the game, although we do have to give a stick tap to Keegan Kolesar.

The gritty forward scored his first two goals of the year for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL on Friday, before jumping on a plane to Vegas to make his NHL debut against Columbus.

It was a fairly uneventful introduction on the big stage for Kolesar, who recorded one shot on goal and two hits in 12:06 minutes of total ice time.

However, Kolesar was soon reassigned to the AHL in the wake of the game, which hopefully means that Jonathan Marchessault is nearly fully healthy.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 11: Nick Foligno #71 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates after a goal by Emil Bemstrom #52 (not pictured) during the first period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on January 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Zak Krill/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Bad

This Team – Okay, so this is vague but there is something going on with this group right now. They aren’t coming out ready to play and they don’t strike me as being a cohesive unit.

And they are so frustrating. What I mean by that is you think they have turned the corner after they’ve won five straight, only to then go and drop three consecutive losses, including against two teams who are in transition periods right now.

The team was even booed off after the game after being outfought and outclassed, and they just lacked fight against the Blue Jackets which is a cardinal sin.

Power Play – The Golden Knights have really struggled on the power play as of late, and it drew another blank against Columbus on Saturday.

Vegas went 0-for-3 on the PP and generated just three shots on goal, which just isn’t good enough when you consider the riches the Knights have on the man advantage.

The Golden Knights are still ranked inside the top ten on the power play in the NHL (21.8), but their lack of conviction on the PP against the Blue Jackets really hurt them.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 11: Columbus Blue Jackets center Nathan Gerbe (24) passes the puck during a regular season game against the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by: Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Ugly

The Defense – It seems that Shea Theodore is the only blueliner really producing the goods for the Vegas Golden Knights at the moment.

Theodore again led all Golden Knights skaters in total ice time with 25:05, but he isn’t getting any help.

Nate Schmidt is having a horrible year while the rest of the blueline is made up of stay-at-home defensemen.

This franchise really needs to go out and acquire a puck-moving defenseman before the Trade Deadline.

Vegas currently ranks 18th in high danger chances allowed (10.59 per 60 minutes) and 22nd in goals allowed (2.66 per 60 minutes).

Something needs to be changed and quick or otherwise it could be a long summer for the Vegas Golden Knights again.

Lack of Secondary Scoring – We sound like a broken record but the Vegas Golden Knights need some help.

Their top six can’t always carry them and that was evident against Columbus, when the rest of the lineup also failed to step up and deliver.

Of course, you rely on your top six forward unit to carry the bulk of the work but when they are having an off day you need the rest of your lineup to fill the void.

Next: Long road trip will tell us a lot about this team

That isn’t happening right now and, despite generating 27 shots on goal on Saturday, the Vegas Golden Knights just couldn’t find a clinical touch.

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