The Vegas Golden Knights (15-11) were unable to complete the comeback Friday night against the Philadelphia Flyers (9-12-4) as they lost 4-3. Special teams played a huge part in the Golden Knight’s loss as they allowed two powerplay goals and one for six on their own man-advantage.
Chandler Stephenson missed the game due to personal reasons, Keegan Kolesar took his spot on the first line and Adam Brooks drew into the lineup for the Golden Knights. Ben Hutton replaced Dylan Coghlan in the defensive rotation for the and Laurent Brossoit started.
Former Golden Knight Patrick Brown also made his return to T-Mobile Arena. He played five games for the Golden Knights combined in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
The Flyers ended their ten-game losing streak, got goals from key forwards that were in scoring droughts, and also got a big game from Carter Hart. This was the first meeting between the Flyers and Golden Knights since January 2, 2020.
The first goal in a matchup like this is always crucial. With the Flyers struggling, giving up the first goal allowed them to have something to latch onto and get them out of the dumps.
During a four-on-four, Kevin Hayes scored on a backhanded shot. A rebound came out after a shot from the point hit Brossoit in the face and Hayes scored on it. The Flyers played with the lead from Hayes’ goal all the way to the final buzzer.
The Golden Knights, despite never taking the lead, played a solid game for the majority of the night. They were led, as usual by the top-two forward lines as well as Alex Pietrangelo on the blue line jumping up on the play. Pietrangelo has 17 points in his last 17 games.
Now in their third game since being reunited, the misfit line of Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, and William Karlsson continued to show their chemistry. Late in the first period, the trio made a tick-tack-toe play and scored to tie the game at one. Karlsson got the final touch backdoor after a nice shot pass from Marchessault.
In the second period, Brossoit lost track of the puck after a weird bounce and the Flyers scored to take the lead. Maxwell Willman scored his first NHL goal in his ninth career game to make it 2-1.
The Golden Knights had a couple of opportunities to get back into the game, including a powerplay chance in the second. But once again the Golden Knight’s powerplay was atrocious at gaining offensive chances, zone entries, and just any momentum in general.
Fans at T-Mobile Arena were heard booing the Golden Knight’s failed powerplay attempts.
After being tested a bit on the first line, Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer replaced Kolesar on the first line with Nicolas Roy. As a result, the new first-line scored late in the second period. After a Pietrangelo shot turned into a big rebound, Max Pacioretty tapped in his eighth goal of the season.
But the special team’s play of the Golden Knights continued to be nightmarish in the third period. The Flyers scored two powerplay goals in the period with each coming from a struggling forward.
Sean Couturier ended a 14-game scoreless drought off a shot from the point. Then, Travis Konecny set up James van Riemsdyk right in front of the net for a tap-in goal. This ended an 11-game scoreless drought for van Riemsdyk.
The Golden Knights got their turn with back-to-back powerplays late in the third period. In a must-score area of the game, the Golden Knights failed to score on either powerplay. They failed to even register a shot on their second opportunity.
Carter Hart, who has also struggled this season, came up big in the third period for the Flyers and kept them in the game. The Golden Knights finished the game with 44 shots. This is the tenth straight game in which they have outshot their opponents.
A powerplay did end up coming for the Golden Knights but it came a little too late. With Brossoit pulled, Pacioretty scored from his office with 1:45 left on the clock. He now had nine goals in nine games.
But time ran out for the Golden Knights. The Flyers ended their ten-game losing streak as well as the Golden Knight’s three-game winning streak 4-3. The Golden Knights played a decent game at five-on-five but their special teams truly shot them in the foot tonight.
The Golden Knights will go at it again Sunday night against the Minnesota Wild to finish out their current homestand at 6:00 pm. The team currently sits fourth in the Pacific Division standings behind the Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, and Calgary Flames. We are 31% through the season.