The Vegas Golden Knights (18-11) narrowly defeated the New Jersey Devils (10-13-5) by a score of 5-3 on Thursday night. The Golden Knights led the entire game, but saw the Devils make a late third-period comeback with two straight goals and a third goal that was later disallowed.
This was the Golden Knight’s first trip to Prudential center in over two years. In their last meeting on December 3, 2019, where Jonathan Marchessault scored a hat-trick.
Before the game, it was also announced that two Devils’ players would be unavailable. PK Subban and Jesper Boqvist were placed in COVID-19 protocols. The Golden Knights do not have any players in COVID-19 protocols as of now despite playing the Bruins last game who also have had players enter COVID-19 protocols.
The Golden Knights welcomed Nicolas Roy back to the lineup. He had missed the past two games with a non-COVID illness. Shea Theodore seems to have caught whatever Roy had as he did not play Thursday night for the same reasons. Dylan Coghlan drew back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past three games.
Just under two minutes into the game, the Devils scored the first goal. After a shot from the point by Dougie Hamilton, Jack Hughes buried home a juicy rebound chance. Hughes has four points in five games since his return from injury.
Midway through the first period, the Golden Knights had the perfect opportunity to tie things up. Both Damon Severson and Janne Kuokkanen took penalties of the Devils which gave the Golden Knights a 54-second five-on-three advantage.
Head coach Peter DeBoer and the Golden Knight’s bench called a timeout in preparation for the two-man advantage. The Golden Knights ended up scoring as a result. Coghlan, who took the normal place of Theodore on the Golden Knight’s second powerplay unit fired a howitzer to tie the game at one.
Reilly Smith won a battle on the boards and Roy provided a nice well-timed screen in front of Mackenzie Blackwood. The Golden Knights now have scored a powerplay goal in their last four games.
The Golden Knights were able to take the lead with a big goal from the fourth line in the second. Brett Howden made a play on the boards to feed Keegan Kolesar who made a nice shot-pass to William Carrier. Carrier scored his fourth goal of the season to make it 2-1.
In the later stages of the second period, the Devils were the better team. They outshot the Golden Knights 14-5 after the Carrier goal and had 15 shots on the period. Robin Lehner had to be sharp. He finished the night with 27 saves on 30 shots.
The Golden Knights were patient though and were finally able to break free with some insurance goals in the third period. William Karlsson fired home a beautifully placed slapshot after receiving a long stretch pass from Reilly Smith.
Smith didn’t even look for Karlsson, he just fed him a pass that magically hit Karlsson tape-to-tape and he scored. Unreal chemistry from the misfit line.
Just 33 seconds later the Golden Knights added another one. Alex Pietrangelo caught the Devil’s defenseman pinching and sprung Roy and Mattias Janmark on a two-on-one. Janmark passed it over to Roy and he scored to make it 4-1 Golden Knights.
But the Devils did not go away. Shortly after the Devils cut the lead as they capitalized on a high sticking penalty from Coghlan. Tomas Tatar scored from the slot on the ensuing penalty. The Devils then followed it up with another goal from their special teams, this one being shorthanded.
In the dying seconds of a Golden Knights powerplay, Jimmy Vesey deflected Jonas Siegenthaler’s shot to make it a one-goal game. This was the Devil’s third shorthanded goal of the season and a huge one at that. Four goals in less than five minutes of game time saw the tight 2-1 game from the first two periods change dramatically.
Late in the third, Zach Whitecloud trucked Hughes with a massive open-ice hit which he likely learned from fellow defenseman Brayden McNabb. This gave the Golden Knights a bit of a spark and they were able to kill off more clock against the Devils.
Devils head coach Lindy Ruff pulled Blackwood with just under two minutes remaining. Jonathan Marchessault made him pay as he scored his 13th goal of the season with the net empty. The Devils took a timeout and afterward Hughes scored his second goal of the game, or so he thought.
Peter DeBoer and the Golden Knight’s then challenges for an offsides and were correct and the goal to make it 5-4 came off the board and it remained 5-3.
But before time ran out a scrum ensued as Mason Geersten went after Alex Pietrangelo simply just to stir the pot. Equipment flew off and Robin Lehner got into the mix taking his helmet off and challenging the Devils to fight him. Max Pacioretty and Lindy Ruff even exchanged words on the two benches. Lehner was kicked out of the game and Laurent Brossoit came in to play the final 15 seconds.
Vegas Hockey Now will have a full breakdown of the ending scrum but as for now, they escape Newark with two points and have now won three straight.
The Golden Knights will play on the East Coast one more on Friday as they take on the New York Rangers at 4:00 pm. They are halfway through their road trip with a perfect 2-0 record.