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Much Needed Win; Golden Knights Hold On, Defeat Avalanche 3-1

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Reilly Smith Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights (2-4-0) have earned a much-needed win over the Colorado Avalanche (2-4-0) Tuesday evening defeating their conference rival 3-1. This win snaps the team’s four-game losing streak, still the longest losing streak in franchise history. Chandler Stephenson and Reilly Smith scored goals for the Golden Knights and Keegan Kolesar finished things off with an empty-net goal.

Not many people view Chandler Stephenson as a top center in the National Hockey League, but the 27-year old is continuing to prove people wrong. Stephenson leads the Golden Knights in points and continued his scoring spree Tuesday. 

After a quick shot from the point from Brayden McNabb, Stephenson buried home the rebound that Darcy Kuemper left and gave Vegas a much-needed first goal exactly two minutes in. After being shut out against the Islanders, this was a much-needed goal for Vegas.

The Golden Knights played how they needed to in the first period; simple. They forced the Avalanche’s superstars to the outside giving them little room to work with. The offensive chances that the Golden Knights generated came from a hard forecheck and shots from the defense.

Speaking of defenseman, Nick Hauge took two penalties in the period and also got into a brief skirmish with Logan O’Connor late in the period. Luckily for the Golden Knights, the Avalanche’s powerplay has been almost as bad as their own.

During Hauge’s second penalty a play at the blueline was broken up by Reilly Smith who was off to the races on a shorthanded chance. William Karlsson followed up on the play for support but Smith’s initial effort found the back of the net which made it 2-0.

The Golden Knights entered the locker room feeling good about themselves after one. 

In the second the Golden Knights were a little more relaxed and failed to record a shot on net until nine minutes into the period. Outside of a massive hit from Brayden McNabb on Nazem Kadri, the Golden Knights were bland in the second and lacked urgency.

Late in the period, Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson threw a late hit on Keegan Kolesar. Without any hesitation, Nicolas Roy dropped the mitts with Johnson right in front of the Vegas bench.

After a lengthy review, the call on the ice concluded with Johnson receiving two minutes for interference, five minutes for fighting, and a ten-minute game misconduct. Roy was also given two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting, and a ten-minute game misconduct. 

Keegan Kolesar entered concussion protocol immediately, passed, and then returned to the game.

The Avalanche took full advantage of the open ice given after the penalties which turned the game into four on four. Nathan Mackinnon served up a nice pass to Cale Makar and the young defender slid home his first goal of the season from the point making it 2-1.

Starting the third period the Golden Knights were gifted a three-minute powerplay thanks to the aftermath of the Johnson and Roy scrum. One single shot was all the Golden Knights put up in the entire three minutes as the powerplay continued to struggle. The Golden Knights have not scored a powerplay goal this season and are 0-31 since last year’s playoffs.

Midway through the third, Gabriel Landeskog was inches away from tying it up. His wraparound attempt was barely blocked by Hague and Lehner. Lehner kept his team in the game finishing with 24 saves on 25 shots.

Despite some good looks from the Avalanche’s top stars, the Golden Knights were able to hold on and close the game out with an empty-net goal from Keegan Kolesar. Evgenii Dadonov played Mr. Nice Guy and gave Kolesar the easy tap-in goal ending the game with a 3-1 score.

The Golden Knights are back in action tomorrow night at 5:30 against the Dallas Stars. Laurent Brossoit is confirmed to get the start as the team heads to Dallas.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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