The Vegas Golden Knights (19-11) managed to pull out a win Friday night against the New York Rangers (19-7-4). After one hectic overtime, Jonathan Marchessault scored the shootout winner for the Golden Knights. Laurent Brossoit had one heck of a game, especially in the shootout and in overtime. He turned aside every Ranger in the shootout en route to his sixth win this season.
“I’m not a big fan of either (the shootout or overtime). We would rather win in overtime or in regular time. But when you win in the shoot out it feels great,” said Brossoit.
The depth players for the Golden Knights stepped up big in this one. Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone were unable to start new potential nine-game point streaks yet again Friday night. Chandler Stephenson, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, and even Alex Pietrangelo were all held pointless as well.
In the second period, the Golden Knights struggled and got into a bit of penalty trouble, and also gave up two goals. Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer shuffled up his lines as a result and postgame tied the weak second period to the team’s recent schedule.
“I think the second of a back-to-back and three (games) in four nights. I saw a little bit of us running out of gas but I really liked our first. And you have to give them credit. I thought Zibanejad‘s line really took a step in the second and they had us on our heels for a chunk of the middle of that game,” said DeBoer.
In an 82-game schedule, you will have games like this, and it is up for the depth in the lineup to step up. For the Golden Knights, this was the key to their success on Friday night. They got goals from two unlikely sources in Brett Howden and Dylan Coghlan which forced overtime and got the team a point in the standings.
Howden finished the game with a goal and an assist against his former team in the New York Rangers. He spent parts of three seasons with the Rangers before being acquired by the Golden Knights in the offseason in exchange for Nick DeSimone and a 2022 fourth-round pick.
“He’s a great guy. It’s good for him to score against his old team and we’re happy to have him… He’s awesome. He is one of my best buddies on the team and for the short amount of time he has been here he has been great. He always has a positive attitude whether it is ups or downs he always has a smile on his face so it’s great to say,” said self-proclaimed “best buddy” Coghlan.
The Golden Knights, of course, have a big centerman in Jack Eichel coming to join the team within the next couple of months. However strong games like the one we saw from Howden tonight could cause him to stick around, possibly as a winger. It will be interesting to see how the Golden Knight’s line combinations stack up when everyone is healthy.
Howden can play all three forward positions. With the Golden Knight’s projected to be over the NHL’s salary cap with Eichel, Howden’s cheap $885k salary is easier managed compared to someone like Evgenii Dadonov who makes $5 million.
“I think I am playing probably some of my best hockey right now and I feel like I have a bit more confidence so I just want to keep building off that and keep trying to do the right things,” said Howden. “It was a pretty fun night obviously I had a lot of excitement coming back here. But I’m just happy we got the win. That’s a big win for us and we got a good chance to finish off the road trip here.”
With the current concerns of COVID-19 in the NHL, it is important to look ahead at the Golden Knights schedule. The Golden Knight’s, thankfully do not have any players currently in COVID-19 protocols. They will take on the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Los Angeles Kings all before Christmas.
Both the Islanders and Kings only have one player in COVID-19 protocols, both being star players with Mat Barzal and Drew Doughty. The Lightning join the Golden Knights as teams that do not have any players in COVID protocols currently.
The Golden Knights will take a trip to UBS Arena for the first time in team history to take on the Islanders first on Sunday for a matinee game at noon PST.