Golden Knights sweep Kings, are first team to advance to second round


The Vegas Golden Knights magical debut season is not stopping.

Thanks to their 1-0 win on Tuesday night, the Golden Knights are the first team in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs to advance to the second round after sweeping the Los Angeles Kings in four straight games.

Vegas will now await the winner of the San Jose Sharks-Anaheim Ducks matchup, where the Sharks hold a 3-0 series lead and can complete a sweep of their own on Wednesday night.

For Vegas, well, this was impressive.

At this point nothing about this team should surprise us but the way they completely shut down the Kings was really something to behold. They limited the Kings to just three goals in the entire series, with starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury recording a pair of shutouts and stopping 127 of the 130 shots he faced in the four games.

For those of you keeping score at home, that is a .976 save percentage. If it didn’t become clear a year ago during his run with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the days of Fleury being a concern in the playoffs are long gone.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

 The Golden Knights needed that great goaltending and shutdown defense because they didn’t really light up the scoreboard themselves in the series, scoring just seven goals in the four games and winning two of the games by a 1-0 margin. That includes Tuesday’s series-clinching game in Los Angeles. But that is still four more goals than the Kings managed. That is all they needed.

On Tuesday, the lone Vegas goal came from defenseman Brayden McNabb.

Why is that noteworthy? Well … McNabb was the player the Golden Knights selected from the Kings in the expansion draft back in June.

While Vegas gets ready for the second round, the Kings have to now get ready for an offseason full of questions as they figure out a way to fix a team that has not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2014, has won just a single playoff game (1-8 record) since then, and just has the look of an organization that has become completely stagnant. They need changes. Many changes.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

tampa bay lightning
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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

Rasmus Sandin
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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.