Vegas Golden Knights vs. New York Islanders Pick & Prediction JANUARY 6th 2024

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With an 11-0-1 start to the season, it appeared the Vegas Golden Knights had avoided the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover.

But that topic has resurrected itself lately. The Golden Knights have lost seven of their last nine games (2-7-0) heading into Saturday night’s game with the New York Islanders in Las Vegas. They have dropped into second place in the Pacific Division and sit just three points in front of the third-place Los Angeles Kings, who have four games in hand.

Vegas comes in off a 4-1 home loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday in a rematch of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final. That came on the heels of a 3-0 defeat at Seattle in the NHL’s Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park on New Year’s Day.

Since their sparkling 12-game point streak, the Golden Knights are a very pedestrian 11-12-4 and have been shut out four times, twice as many times as their entire 2022-23 campaign.

Thursday’s loss to the Panthers, who swept the two-game regular-season series with Vegas, was particularly frustrating because the Golden Knights had a chance to take control early in the second period with a pair of 5-on-3 power plays, one for 40 seconds and another for 1:21, and came away empty-handed. The Golden Knights finished 0-for-6 on the power play while Florida converted three of its six chances.

“I’m not sure we even had a good scoring chance,” Vegas forward Mark Stone said of the 5-on-3 power plays. “Completely changed the game. (Then) they get a power play and score on it to make it 2-1.”

“I think our power play sucked the life out of us,” Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Stone said he believed effort would be a key to ending the slump for the reigning Stanley Cup champs.

“We’ve got to find it,” Stone said. “We’ve got to start playing harder. Can’t take things for granted, right? Every team wants to beat us. We got to the top of the mountain top last year. We know what it’s like to be on the other side of it. You play the defending champions, you want to bring your best game, so you’ve got to expect that.”

“We know what we have in here,” defenseman Brayden McNabb added. “We don’t want to turn on each other. We have a veteran group, and a group that loves each other. We’re going to keep pushing and fight through this adversity.”

New York, third in the Metro Division with 46 points, comes in off a 5-1 victory at Arizona on Thursday to improve to 1-1-1 on its four-game road trip. Bo Horvat led the way with two goals and an assist while Anders Lee and Julien Gauthier scored 53 seconds apart to highlight a three-goal third period for the Isles.

“Obviously this next game is going to be going from a pretty good trip to making it a really good trip,” Horvat said. “We’re playing a really good hockey team coming up, and we’ve got to be ready to go for it.”

“We’ve got to keep getting points,” Gauthier added. “Obviously, Vegas is a great, great team. We all know it and they have a good home record, too. We have to come out strong and ready to go, and I think we’re going to give it a good push.”

–Field Level Media

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