The Vegas Golden Knights (19-11) defeated the New York Rangers (19-7-4) on Friday night 3-2 in the shootout. Jonathan Marchessault scored the shootout game-winning goal and Laurent Brossoit stopped 27 of 29 shots for his sixth win of the season.
Similar to their matchup against the New Jersey Devils, this was the first meeting between the Golden Knights and New York Rangers in over two years thanks to COVID-19 shortened seasons.
Brossoit got the start for the Golden Knight’s with it being a back-to-back. He technically played in Thursday night’s game against the Devils after Robin Lehner was kicked out. Shea Theodore returned for the Golden Knights after missing the last game with a non-COVID illness.
On the Rangers side of things, they were missing their leading scorer in Artemi Panarin. Panarin left midway through the Rangers’ victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. He is listed as day-to-day with a minor lower-body injury.
There were also only three officials for the game as referee Kendrick Nicholson was unexpectedly absent from the game. He was presumed to be out due to COVID-19 protocols.
The main storylines heading into Friday night’s game were the Golden Knights facing off against two former members of their organization in Ryan Reaves and Gerard Gallant. But many people overlooked the fact that Brett Howden would play his former team in the Rangers as well.
Howden himself was not one of these people as he scored the first goal of the game for the Golden Knights. The fourth-line of Howden, William Carrier, and Keegan Kolesar all got touches on the puck before Howden put it in backdoor.
The Golden Knights had a grade-A chance to extend their lead on the powerplay in the first period. After some good puck movement, Max Pacioretty ripped a slapshot from his spot on the powerplay. But Rangers netminder Alexander Georgiev made a great save to deny him.
Both Pacioretty and Stone had their nine-game point streaks snapped in Thursday night’s game against the Devils. They were both held off the scoresheet once more in this game.
The Golden Knights had perhaps what was one of their worst periods of the season in the second.
The Rangers completely controlled the frame and limited the Golden Knights to only four shots in the frame. Just 17 seconds into the period, Mika Zibanejad scored off a simple wrist shot as he gained the zone. Zibanejad used Zach Whitecloud as a screen and Brossoit was unable to track the puck which made it 1-1.
The Rangers forced the Golden Knights to take a couple of penalties as a result of their sloppy play. First, it was Nicolas Roy who went to the box for a slash. During the kill on Roy’s penalty, Alex Pietrangelo was called for a high-sticking penalty. But the Golden Knights never touched the puck. During the delayed call, the Rangers scored as Zibanejad fed Chris Kreider with a nice cross-ice pass.
With the Golden Knight’s never touching the puck after the Pietrangelo penalty, they had to kill another entire penalty before getting back to five-on-five.
To start the third period, Golden Knight’s head coach Peter DeBoer shuffled up his line combinations. He swapped Nicolas Roy and William Karlsson, as well as Mattias Janmark with William Carrier. Theodore and Pietrangelo also took a couple of shifts together.
New Golden Knights Line Combinations
Pacioretty- Stephenson- Stone
Marchessault- Roy- Smith
Carrier- Karlsson- Dadonov
Janmark- Howden- Kolesar
— Owen Krepps (@OKrepps85) December 18, 2021
The Rangers sat back in the third period and tried to close things out with the one-goal lead. They did a tremendous job at taking away the Golden Knight’s time and space. As a result, the third-period shots were only 2-1 Golden Knight at 5:23 left in the third period.
But all it took was one shot to change the game. After a faceoff win by Howden, Nicolas Hague made a nice play to pass it over to his defense partner Dylan Coghlan. Coghlan buried home a wrister for his second goal in as many games.
Brett Howden finished the game with a goal and an assist against his former team.
Time ran out for both teams and for only the third time this season, the Golden Knights would play a game past regulation. Overtime was absolutely chaotic and Laurent Brossoit singlehandedly kept the Golden Knights in the game with huge saves on Filip Chytl, Ryan Strome, and Mika Zibanejad. Max Pacioretty had a handful of chances in which he could have ended the game but he canned on them.
It was yet another chaotic and fun overtime but no goals led us into overtime.
Roy, Kappo Kakko, Evgenii Dadonov, and Zibanejad all missed on their attempts to start the shootout. Jonathan Marchessault scored the only goal of the tiebreaker with a wrist-shot stick side. Ryan Strome was stopped by the pads of Brossoit to end the shootout and the Golden Knights
Tonight was a big statement win for the Golden Knights. They played far from the best hockey that they have all season and still managed to find the win against one of the best teams in the league. Outside of the shootout goal, the entirety of the Golden Knight’s top-two lines did not score Friday night.
Instead, they got major contributions from under-the-radar players like Howden and Brossoit and found a way to win. This is part of what defines a good hockey team.
The Golden Knight’s will travel tomorrow to Long Island before they get set to play the New York Islanders on Sunday for an early 12:00 pm noon game.