After a heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Halloween, the Vegas Golden Knights needed some redemption. Though fans hoped it would come against Winnipeg, the Golden Knights lost in overtime once again, 4-3.
The Knights were looking for a comeback, but there was a kink in the plan. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was ruled out due to an illness. However, that meant a familiar face could start after being out since the second game of the season: Malcolm Subban.
It was the Jets’ Mathieu Perreault who drew first blood early in the first period, but that was what it took to get the Golden Knights going. Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty and Nate Schmidt all scored goals (within four minutes, mind you) to bring Vegas up to a 3-1 lead.
In terms of scoring, nothing happened in the second period. The period wasn’t without its own thrilling adventures, though. Adam Lowry of the Jets took a shoulder (and maybe an elbow) to Alex Tuch’s head, sending him down the tunnel without a game return.
The referees didn’t call a penalty (though it definitely should have been), so in true enforcer fashion, Ryan Reaves dropped his gloves to penalize Lowry himself. Lowry used Reaves’ sweater as a impairment tool, and the fight ended with two major penalties dished out.
The 3-1 lead for Vegas would stand until halfway through the third period, when Perreault managed to score once again. A questionable icing-non-icing call led to Mark Scheifele’s game-tying goal, sending the game into dreaded overtime territory.
Though the Golden Knights had a couple scoring opportunities in overtime, the Jets just absolutely dominated the puck. It would be Kyle Connor who would eventually score the game-winning goal and give Vegas their second overtime loss in a row.
Two Losses in a Row: What’s the Deal?
We have had a couple…surprising losses, not just the ones to the Canadiens and the Jets. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts for the season so far:
- Four of the seven losses this season were due to blown leads.
– These losses were at the hands of the Boston Bruins, the Nashville
Predators, the Canadiens and the Jets.
- We are currently 3rd in the league when it comes to time leading a game, but we are actually 7th in the Western Conference as a top Wild Card.
– Our defense can only keep the other team back for so long usually.
There is something else important to note. In the past six games, the other team has scored first on the Golden Knights. The Knights then push to play “catch up,” and exert a lot of energy in the first and beginning part of the second period, not leaving much energy to protect their lead in the third or even in overtime.
A big issue the Knights had tonight was the absence of key players. Fleury being out with an illness definitely affected the team, because they have said that sometimes they tend to leave Subban high and dry.
Then there’s Tuch. He just returned from IR after being out since the preseason with a wrist injury. Gerard Gallant said in a post-game conference that he now has an upper body injury, but couldn’t provide any further updates. Could it be a concussion, or maybe a jaw issue? It’s possible, and he could be out for a couple games again.
Now…let’s talk about Mark Stone. VGK Ladies founder Katie Leavitt made an interesting point. In our overtime losses, Stone was on the ice for four of Montreal’s five goals, and two of the Jets’ four, including both overtime goals (he wasn’t guarding his man). His plus/minus score sits at -4 right now, which isn’t good. As a player, you definitely want to be in the positives. Maybe he’s facing his own challenges when it comes to playing a little defensively for us, perhaps he’s struggling with allergy season?
Whatever the issues, the Golden Knights need to work it out. They need to pace themselves through the first and second periods so they have momentum in the third. They need to cover for their goalie, no matter who it is. And we need to get healthy, and stay healthy.
All eyes will be on Vegas in the coming days as they begin a four-game road tour on Tuesday, when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets.