The Vegas Golden Knights were fortunate their first road trip of the preseason was a short one. They won’t have much time in the air to dwell on what was overall a listless performance Thursday night in Salt Lake City.
The Los Angeles Kings got an early goal from Brendan Lemieux, got an early goal in the second period from Lias Andersson, never trailed and defeated the Knights 3-1. The Kings also won the postgame shootout, 1-0, as Vegas has gone 0-fo-3 in the shootout so far in the preseason.
The two teams meet again Friday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Three takeaways from Thursday’s game:
1. Not much energy: Whether it was the travel, the ice at Vivint Arena, the Kings, whatever, the energy level displayed by the Golden Knights was fairly low throughout.
They sort of got their legs midway through the second period but it was evident they didn’t have their ‘A’ game. The top two lines of Chandler Stephenson-Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone along with Nolan Patrick, Evgenii Dadonov and Paul Cotter did very little.
The Knights had just 12 shots on goal through 40 minutes and the lone Vegas goal, scored by rookie defenseman Daniil Miromanov in the third period was a positive. Patrick Brown and Gage Quinney played with some good speed and purpose. Otherwise, it was a Meh kind of night.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Peter DeBoer said afterward. “There wasn’t a lot to like there. If there’s a silver lining, it’s you didn’t win the game but you get to learn a lot about the group, who’s ready to play and who isn’t.”
2. Lehner hurt, leaves early: Robin Lehner made his first appearance of the preseason and it was a short and shaky one. The Knights’ No. 1 goaltender allowed two goals on 20 shots and left after two periods.
Was he hurt? Was he tired? Was he always going to play just part of the game? DeBoer said the other day he doesn’t like switching goalies in the middle of a game. But Dylan Ferguson played the entire third period along with the shootout. So it makes you wonder what the deal was with Lehner.
The deal, according to DeBoer, was Lehner did sustain some sort of injury. he wouldn’t disclose what exactly happened, but said: “He wasn’t supposed to come out, but it was more precautionary. We didn’t want to risk further injury. He didn’t have anything serious but we didn’t want to risk anything.”
Center Nicolas Roy left with 4:11 to play after getting hurt following a faceoff. Roy was reaching for his left side and went to the locker room. It’s probably not serious either but Roy is trying to keep his spot in the lineup and the last thing he needs right now is a setback. No word from DeBoer on what happened to Roy.
3. More PP woes: DeBoer doesn’t want to make a big deal of it and yes, it’s only the preseason and the Knights didn’t have their complete roster on the ice Thursday. But once again, the power play was low wattage.
Vegas went 0 for 4 Thursday and after going 2 for 4 Tuesday against Colorado and 1 for 3 vs. San Jose last Sunday, it was surprising the Knights couldn’t solve Garret Sparks, who was once their property.