On Friday night, the Anaheim Ducks found themselves in Las Vegas taking on the Golden Knights. Neither team has been particularly great to start the season, as the Ducks entered this one with a record of 2-4-2 compared to the Golden Knights of 3-4-0.
Despite the cold start to the season, the Golden Knights appeared to be slowly turning things around thanks to back-to-back wins against the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars. While they were able to make it three straight on Friday night, it wasn’t by any means a convincing win, and one that will have many continuing to question this team right now. William Carrier acknowledged the fact that they needed to be better in his post-game comments.
“You see it all the time, some momentum,” Carrier said. “They get a goal and they just get that energy back. They can smell that they have a chance at the win. We’ll just do a better job trying to regroup here, whenever there’s a goal just try and get that momentum back.”
The Golden Knights came out flying in this one, and got on the board early thanks to a breakaway goal from Reilly Smith. Smith was denied on his first shot in alone, but converted on the rebound to put his team up 1-0.
The Golden Knights didn’t let up after the early goal, and could have made this one ugly early if it weren’t for some great saves by John Gibson on the likes of Peyton Krebs, Keegan Kolesar, and Smith who came very close to his second of the period. Through the first six minutes of play, Vegas led 10-0 in the shots department. Despite the dominance however, Gibson held strong and was able to keep his team within one heading into the first intermission.
Once again, the Golden Knights were able to get on the board early in the period, this time thanks to a one-timer from Nicolas Hague on a feed from Jonathan Marchessault. Soon after, the Ducks finally began to show some life, but were shut down often by Robin Lehner who made some solid saves on a penalty kill midway through the frame and stopped Troy Terry on a breakaway moments after.
Fans in the building were treated to a fight in the second, as Kolesar dropped the gloves with Josh Manson. The Golden Knights forward wasn’t happy with a hit Manson laid on Evgenii Dadonov and immediately challenged the Ducks defenceman, though it turned out to be a pretty tame scrap with no major punches thrown.
Shortly after the fight, the Ducks were able to get their first of the night. Brayden McNabb turned the puck over behind the net to Sonny Milano who in turn fed it out front to Trevor Zegras. The 20-year-old made no mistake as he was able to fire one past Lehner for his second of the season and cut the lead in half. Once again, the Golden Knights headed to their locker room with a one goal lead.
For whatever reason on Friday night, the Golden Knights came out flying to start each period. In the third, it was Chandler Stephenson’s turn to score an early period tally on a beautiful goal thanks to yet another great pass by Marchessault.
Minutes later, it felt like a major missed opportunity when the Golden Knights failed to register a shot on a three on one rush, but all turned out fine as Carrier was able to find the back of the net less than 30 seconds afterward on a goal Gibson would likely want back.
The game nearly became 5-1 when a shot from Coghlan rang off the post but stayed out. The Ducks instantly took the puck the other way and Troy Terry was able to make a nice move around Lehner and slid it home to make it a 4-2 game.
The Ducks weren’t done there either. They had plenty of good chances for a good stretch of time after their second goal, and were finally rewarded with just over four minutes left in regulation as Isac Lundestrom was able to get one past Lehner on a scramble play in front of the net.
Again, the Ducks continued to dominate play and were able to score the tying goal on a point shot from Kevin Shattenkirk which was tipped home by Adam Henrique. It capped off what was a very ugly 10 minutes from the Golden Knights in a game which they should have won rather easily after going up on the Ducks 4-1. The horn for the end of the third went, which was a relief for Vegas given how they played to close it out.
The overtime frame started out rather slow compared to what we are used to seeing in 3V3, but picked up in the final few minutes. With just over two minutes remaining, Dadonov had a great chance to put home an overtime winner for the second time in three nights but was denied by Gibson. The miss nearly proved costly as Jakub Silfverberg had a great opportunity as he cut to the net with just seconds remaining but was stopped on a great save from Lehner to close out the overtime period.
“What a game,” Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer said after the game. “It was like five games in one. Loved our start. I thought it was a crime we weren’t up by more than one early. I think that was a mistake – we knew they were going to come up off the mat and make a push.”
“This was a huge week for us. We were staring at an absolutely potentially disastrous start instead of just a bad start. I thought guys have dug deep all week to get us back to .500 here.”
Zegras (ANA): Goal
Stephenson (VGK): Save
Max Comtois (ANA): Save
Marchessault (VGK): Save
Kevin Shattenkirk (ANA): Save
Nicolas Roy (VGK): Goal
Terry (ANA): Save
Dadonov (VGK): Goal
1) The Golden Knights lost Alec Martinez to injury for a few games early into the season, and appeared to lose him again after taking a puck to the face during the first period. He was forced to head down the tunnel immediately in what was a scary situation, but thankfully was okay. He was back on the bench to begin the second period, which is a huge sigh of relief given how much he means to this team.
2) It has been an up and down start to the season for Lehner, who came into tonight’s contest with a 2.87 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. He wasn’t tested a ton through the first two periods, but made the saves he needed to in order to preserve his team’s lead. However, in the third frame, he allowed three goals in just over five minutes. While none of them were particularly weak, you need your goaltender to make a big save, and he failed to in the third.
But Lehner was able to show up big for his team in the shootout and walk away with the win. While the final result was good, he still hasn’t played as well as he is capable early on this season. That should change in the near future.
3) The Golden Knights were able to get big performances on the night from Marchessault, Stephenson, and Hague, all of whom recorded two points in the contest. If they hope to keep winning, everyone on the roster will need to take their turns contributing offensively to help make up for the losses of Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone.
Share This Article
Support independent news coverage by sharing on your platforms