The Vegas Golden Knights (10-7) marched a commanding 5-2 win Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings (8-9-2). Zach Whitecloud returned after missing twelve games and scored his first-ever multi-goal game in the NHL. The Golden Knights also got goals from Nicolas Hague and Paul Cotter. Robin Lehner made 26 saves on 28 shots.
Amidst the COVID-19 concerns, the Golden Knights were without Jonathan Marchessault, Michael Amadio, and Wiliam Carrier Thursday. Shea Theodore also missed the game after he left last game taking an awkward fall into the boards losing an edge.
But despite this, the Golden Knight’s offense from the blue line was the main storyline. They got three of their four goals from defensemen and now have fourteen goals from defensemen this season. They are the only team in the NHL that has three defensemen with three-plus goals. Hague, Alex Pietrangelo, and Shea Theodore are these three players.
In the first period, the Golden Knights thought they scored the first goal of the game with Whitecloud putting the puck over the line. The play was set up nicely by Mark Stone and Pietrangelo who continued this trend all night. However, the net was dislodged before the puck crossed the line.
Lehner was tested a good bit in the first period by the Red Wings but nothing in extreme quantities. The Red Wings left the first period outshooting the Golden Knights but it was mostly from easy shots out wide with no traffic or rebounds.
In the second period, things escalated quickly as the Golden Knights scored four goals. Ben Hutton and Adam Erne fought after Hutton crushed Michael Rasmussen with a nice hit. This marked Hutton’s second fight in three games for the Golden Knights.
With this spark the Golden Knights to scored as Hague buried home a rebound. Pietrangelo and Stone were the ones setting up the play as usual.
The Golden Knights kept the momentum going scoring shortly after to make it 2-0. Brett Howden started a nice forecheck for the Golden Knights and Stone found Whitecloud who scored his first goal of the season in his first game back from injury.
Giavani Smith cut the Golden Knight’s deficit to one as he put home a goal after net mouth scramble. But the Golden Knights rushed back with two unanswered goals to finish out the second period.
It was Whitecloud who once again found the back of the net off a simple shot from an offensive zone faceoff win. That six-year contract extension is already looking great is it not?
Before the end of the period, Paul Cotter ripped home his second NHL goal after being called up once more. Cotter is scoring at every level of professional hockey and is making his case to stay in the NHL.
Alex Nedeljkovic started the third period for the Red Wings and had his hands full as the Golden Knights kept their foot on the gas pedal. A tremendous pass from Mattias Janmark sprung Reilly Smith on a partial break. Smith went forehand backhand and scored. He now has eight points in his last eight games.
Late in the third, Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider blocked a shot from Cotter. The superstar rookie left the game after struggling to get to the bench. Moments later Dyan Coghlan blocked a shot as well but stayed on the bench.
The Red Wings made it 5-2 as Joe Veleno made a slick move to the net around Lehner’s failed poke check. But the Golden Knights held on to win 5-2.
This was the last matchup between the Red Wings and Golden Knights this season. They will split the season series 1-1.
The Golden Knights are back in action Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home with a 7:00 puck drop. This will be the Golden Knight’s last game of a six-game homestand before they head on the road for two.