The Vegas Golden Knights found themselves in a wacky Wednesday night game against the Anaheim Ducks in which they lost 6-5. The team is now two wins removed from .500 and have struggled to find their game as of late.
In the third period, Mark Stone crashed into the boards after being hooked by Derek Grant. He stayed in the game, but could require some additional medical attention and could be unavailable for the Golden Knights moving forward.
“He came back and gutted it out. We will see you tomorrow what we’re dealing with,” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer.
The Golden Knights have continued to struggle with injuries this season and Stone’s potential second injury of the season just adds to the list. But no matter which way you slice it, the NHL’s season will continue to go on no matter how many players are out of a team’s lineup (unless you are the New York Islanders).
We are now over a quarter of a way through the season for the Stanley Cup favorite Vegas Golden Knights. The team currently sits outside of a playoff spot with 24 points and is even behind the San Jose Sharks in the standings.
The urgency and resilience were there for the Golden Knights against the Ducks, and for the most part, it has been there for these past few losses. But the team continues to lack key details that Stanley Cup contending teams should not have trouble with.
“At the end of the night when you score for five goals you should win but our attention to detail defensively wasn’t good enough tonight,” said DeBoer.
The Golden Knights have continued to shoot themselves in the foot in terms of starting games. They have given up the first goal in three of their last five games. In the games in which they have taken the lead, they have given up multi-goal deficits.
“We’ve been putting ourselves in a hole in a lot of games lately,” said Golden Knights forward Mattias Janmark who had a goal and assist against the Ducks which both came shorthanded.
Potentially an area of hope in Wednesday night’s loss is the powerplay. Things took a step towards the right direction as the team scored two goals on the PP. Both powerplay goals came late in the game with Reilly Smith and Max Pacioretty scoring.
Special teams played a big factor against the Ducks as the Golden Knights also scored two shorthanded goals. These came from Mattias Janmark and Zach Whitecloud and is another thing the team can look two as a bright spot from Wednesday’s game.
Early on in the season, when the Golden Knights were ravaged with injuries, Robin Lehner stood on his head and kept the team afloat. Since players like Stone and Pacioretty have returned, it seems like Lehner has taken his foot off the gas pedal.
Granted, he is not getting much help from the defense as many defenders have been caught pinching, have failed at breakout passes, and have just been straight up out of position.
There were two goals Wednesday night that Lehner would have liked to have back which came from a defenseman. Josh Manson scored from a sharp angle after a puck hit a skate and went in, and Hampus Lindholm fired home an easy shot from the point.
“That’s not Vegas hockey… We all just have to be better, myself included,” said Robin Lehner.
Lehner has played in 17 games for the Golden Knights this season and as a result, we have seen very little of Laurent Brossoit. With Lehner struggling a bit due to the Golden Knight’s defensive breakdowns, perhaps DeBoer will go with Brossoit next game.
That next game will be Friday evening against the Arizona Coyotes for a 6:30 puck drop.