Vegas shows rust after dropping back-to-back games in California

Source: Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

After a three-day, league-mandated break for the Christmas holiday, the Vegas Golden Knights traveled to California for a two-game road trip. They’re returning home with only one point out of a possible four and will face the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The Golden Knights, in a back-to-back situation, started in Los Angeles playing against the division rival Kings and ended up losing a convincing game 4-2 with Logan Thompson getting the start in goal.

It was back and forth for 60 minutes but ultimately Los Angeles was able to get away with a victory and reduce Vegas’s lead at the top of the Pacific division. On Thursday, the Golden Knights were in Anaheim to face the Ducks, who are the worse team in the league.

The Knights got off to a horrible start. In less than 10 minutes, Adam Henrique scored two goals on five shots and chased Adin Hill from the net, the first time this season that had happened.

Vegas fought back to level the game at two as Mark Stone scored shorthanded. Ben Hutton, who was replacing Shea Theodore in the lineup, tied the game midway through the second period. OT solved nothing and the game was decided by a shootout.

Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry scored for the Ducks while John Gibson, who was making his return from injury, stopped Stone and Reilly Smith to seal the win for the home team. After the game, Bruce Cassidy, Stone, and Alex Pietrangelo met the media to talk about the loss.

“We threw a lot of shots at the net,” Cassidy said. “We got screens but I don’t think it was a lack of effort. All in all, Gibson was the best player on the ice.”

Vegas ended up outshooting Anaheim 51-27 and it looked like they had dominated them from start to finish as it took 40 minutes for the Ducks to have 10 shots on net.

“We changed the goalie and I am not a big proponent of that but something looked off. We made a call, and when you play back-to-back you will always play two goalies. He should be the most prepared but I didn’t see that and I went in a different direction.”

Last season, the Vegas Golden Knights suffered through injuries. Poor injury luck seems to be catching up with them again as they now have five key players on IR in Jonathan Marchessault, Alec Martinez, Jack Eichel, Shea Theodore and Zach Whitecloud.

“Making changes in game, putting in younger legs and against good teams, you need to bring energy. So it’s a lot to ask.”

Pietrangelo was asked what he thought of Gibson’s performance making 49 saves and he gave credit where credit was due.

“He didn’t give much,” Pietrangelo said. “He seems to play well against us and we had some really good chances with over 50 shots. We need to find a way to capitalize and our powerplay had a chance to win it tonight and didn’t.”

Mark Stone was visibly disappointed and was asked how he felt leaving with one point despite Gibson’s performance.

“I am not happy,” Stone said. “We can’t leave those games to chance against a team like that and with over 50 shots you need to find a way to score more than two goals. Against a team like that you’re not happy walking away with one point.”

Vegas will wrap up 2022 on New Year’s Eve against the Predators on Saturday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.

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