The Vegas Golden Knights rode an early 2-0 lead all the way to the finish line and snapped a four-game losing steak against the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night. Robin Lehner backstopped his team in his sixth-straight start and the Golden Knights earned a much-needed win.
Both teams were unable to gain any quality scoring chances and had to take what they got. For the Golden Knights, it was a rebound goal off of a screen, a shorthanded goal, and an empty netter. The Golden Knight’s defense limited the Avalanche to 24 shots in total with the only goal allowed coming from a point shot from Cale Makar.
“It was a gutsy effort in a tough building against a great team. I just think we committed to defending hard and you need to against that team and I think we did they all night. We got some timely saves and a couple of big goals and it was a good formula for us,” said Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer.
Chandler Stephenson, who leads the Golden Knights in points scored the first goal of the game off of a juicy rebound left by Darcy Kuemper.
“That’s Vegas hockey how we played tonight. We were taking their time and space away and made smart, good plays… It is about time the whole game together and I think tonight was one of those nights and I hope we can keep building from here on out.” said Stephenson.
The Golden Knights are currently missing key players such as Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Alex Tuch, Nolan Patrick, and Alec Martinez all to various injuries. Stephenson is a player that has seen his role increase due to these injuries.
“I think you just have to roll with the punches and the cards that we are dealt right now. It is tough but I think tonight is a big stepping stone and something to build off of,” said Stephenson.
3 Takeaways Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 Win vs. Colorado Avalanche
1) The Golden Knights got (almost) everything they needed
A big first goal, a goal out of Reilly Smith/William Karlsson, a solid defensive effort, and most importantly a win, were all things the Vegas Golden Knights got Tuesday night. It cannot be overlooked how important this win is for the team as it cancels the longest losing streak in franchise history.
But the one thing still unchecked on the bingo card is a powerplay goal which the Golden Knights are still looking for. The team has not scored a powerplay goal since last year’s playoffs, are 0-31 since, and are the only team in the NHL yet to score on the man-advantage.
2) Evgenii Dadonov is doing everything he can but not getting the results
Evgenii Dadonov gifted Keegan Kolesar the easiest goal he will ever score in his NHL career when he gave him the puck to shoot on the vacant Colorado goal. That was Dadonov’s second point as a Golden Knight after being acquired in the offseason as a top-six forward.
The results have not been there for Dadonov early in his Golden Knights career but it is not like he is not trying. Dadonov had five shots on goal but was stopped on all accounts by Darcy Kuemper. Alongside Kolesar and Nicolas Roy, Dadonov’s line was stellar at cycling and maintaining offensive pressure Tuesday.
When players inevitably return from injury it will be interesting to see what head coach Peter DeBoer does with Dadonov if he cannot get out of his current scoring funk.
3) The Golden Knights are lacking true star power
With Pacioretty and Stone out for the Golden Knights, the star power has gone down drastically. Guys like Stephenson, Kolesar and the misfit line of Smith, Karlsson, and Marchessault have been able to slowly but surely pick up the slack. But the Golden Knights are seriously lacking in star power and are being forced to win games narrowly like the one against Colorado.
This will likely be the new identity the team will have to embrace until they can get guys like Pacioretty and Stone back. However, if recent NHL trade rumors are anything to go by, there could be another star coming to the Vegas Golden Knights in Jack Eichel.
Story coming tomorrow on that.
Up Next: The Vegas Golden Knights take on the Dallas Stars tomorrow at 5:30 pm on the road.