It didn’t start well. The Vancouver Canucks played the perfect road game. They sucked the life out of the game, the crowd, and scored a pair of early goals. The Vegas Golden Knights rallied with goals by Evgenii Dadonov and Reilly Smith and needed three leads before one stuck.
In the third period, Jonathan Marchessault scored a power-play marker, his 100th goal as a Golden Knight, and it stood as the game-winner.
“When they said it, I didn’t understand. So I asked someone on the bench and they told me (it was my 100th goal). I’m pretty proud of that,” Marchessault said.
Mark Stone, who missed the last 12 games, set up Dadonov for the clincher with five minutes remaining. On a two-on-one, Stone gave Dadonov (5) a layup, and Vancouver was finally done. Marchessault (9) added more insurance with four minutes left when he poked a loose puck into a yawning cage. The Vegas Golden Knights beat the Vancouver Cancuks 7-4 at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.
It’s the second straight game that Vancouver gave up seven goals. They’ve lost seven of their last nine games. Travis Green’s seat is probably toasty at this point.
The Golden Knights had to rally from a bad start. That was about breaking through the suffocating Vancouver play and a few mistakes by the struggling Canucks, too. Once the game opened up, the boys hopped on the firewagon.
Late in the first period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Josh Bailey took minor penalties 26 seconds apart, and Dadonov was happy to clean up the mess. With just 14 seconds remaining in the first period, Dadonov (4) got the garbage goal near the crease for a jolt of feel-good at the end of the period.
The Golden Knights dominated Vancouver in the second period.
Early in the second period, Vancouver defenseman Brad Hunt left Reilly Smith uncovered on the left wing. Smith (5) ripped the wrister past Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko to even the game.
Midway through the period, the Golden Knights forecheck created a turnover in the Vancouver zone, and Brayden McNabb was the lucky Golden Knight to be uncovered by scrambling defense. Like Smith, McNabb (2) snapped it past Demko from the left wing.
Vancouver lost three of their previous four games and were carpet-bombed in Colorado on Thursday night, 7-1.
However, the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t put away Vancouver.
Instead, Vancouver tied the game twice. Later in the second period, Nils Hoglander pressured the Golden Knights point, created a turnover, and scored on a breakaway when he outraced Ben Hutton and Dylan Coghlan. 3-3.
Early in the third period, Jake Leschyshyn (1) scored his first NHL goal to give the Golden Knights a 4-3 lead.
Less than one minute later, Lehner kicked a big rebound which went directly to Hoglander (4), who scored again to tie the game. Again.
Just three minutes into the game, Vancouver earned a two-goal lead early in the first period, including one Robin Lehner probably kicked himself just a bit. Vancouver pressured the Golden Knights point (again), and J.T. Miller streaked past the Golden Knights defensemen and beat Lehner through the five-hold from about 35 feet (back of the circle).
Before the game was six minutes old, Vegas was down 2-0. Vancouver’s quick puck movement scrambled the Golden Knights defense, and Tanner Pearson (2) was alone near the crease for an easy deflection.
3 Vegas Golden Knights Takeaways:
Lehner and Defense:
1) It wasn’t Lehner’s best night. He certainly would like the game’s first goal back, and the juicy rebound to Hoglander in the third period was an unforced error.
He faced over 40 shots (43). For the fourth time in six games, the Golden Knights allowed 38 shots or more. There are very few goalies like Lehner’s predecessor who get better when bombarded. Most goalies need a bit of protection.
Lehner won’t be at his best every night. It’s time the Golden Knights tighten the screws. Thanksgiving–the traditional “starting line” for an entire NHL season is around the corner. The high-scoring wins are fun, but it’s time to buckle down.
2) Jonathan Marchessault has a filthy wrister. His first goal made Phil Kessel’s snap shot look like slow motion. Marchessault is feeling the puck, and it’s feeling him. Good players put themselves in position to score. Better players finish those chances. Marchessault is burying them all.
You’re forgiven for wondering just how potent this Golden Knights lineup will be with a No. 15 in the middle. It could be hotter than any show on the Strip.
3) Vancouver is an absolute mess. They had a good start but got sucked into the Golden Knights game. They traded chances, and they played open. Vegas is a better team or at least better at that, and Lehner is a better netminder than Demko.
The weaker teams of the Western Conference must be defeated, and Vegas did that.
But maybe they should play a bit better next time– hop off the firewagon and into a more complete game.