The Vegas Golden Knights (20-11) won their second-straight shootout contest against a New York team Sunday as they beat the New York Islanders (8-12-6) by a score of 4-3. Shea Theodore had two (and a half) goals as he scored two goals in regulation and then one in the shootout.
Robin Lehner made his return to Long Island for the first time since leaving the organization in 2019. The 30-year old goaltender has often thanked the Islander’s fanbase for their support in his battle with mental health. Lehner was honored with a video tribute during the first TV timeout of the first period.
Mark Stone was unavailable for the Golden Knights as he was listed out with an upper-body injury. As a result, Michael Amadio drew back in the lineup and Evgenii Dadonov played on the first line. For the Islanders, Robin Salo and Matt Martin were out due to COVID-19 protocols and joined Mat Barzal.
Good point from @DavidCGoucher today on the broadcast. Golden Knights taking on a third-straight team without their top scorer
They take on the Kucherov-less Lightning on Tuesday too. #VegasBorn
— Owen Krepps (@OKrepps85) December 19, 2021
The Golden Knight’s best line of the night was easily the Misfit line of Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and William Karlson. The trio was frequently on the attack and forecheck for the Golden Knights. Their hard work led to the game’s first goal.
After Karlsson gained the puck for the Golden Knights on a hard forecheck, he passed it over to Zach Whitecloud. Whitecloud fired a shot which gave a juicy rebound to Marchessault. Marchessault then made no mistake and buried home his team-leading 14th goal of the season.
The second line was also partially responsible for the Islander’s tying goal as Smith took a high-sticking call on Oliver Wahlstrom. On the powerplay, the Islanders got a lucky bounce with Brock Nelson’s pass hitting a skate. The puck went off the skate of Brayden McNabb and the Islanders scored to tie things at one.
The Islanders were the better team to start out the second period. Early in the frame, the Islanders had a lot of sustained pressure in the Golden Knights zone. Alex Pietrangelo and Zach Whitecloud were trapped in their own zone for a three-minute shift.
Robin Lehner had to be sharp and stopped a lot of the long shot attempts from the Islanders. He finished the game with 29 saves on 32 shots. The second period in general featured some tremendous goaltending. Iyla Sorokin for the Islanders kept his team in the game after a handful of multi-shot scrambles.
Late in the period, Max Pacioretty threw a bone-crushing hit on Andy Greene and which sent him flying. Kieffer Bellows was not too fond of the hit and dropped the gloves with Pacioretty. This was Bellow’s first-career NHL fight and it was against one heck of an opponent.
Max Pacioretty and Kieffer Bellows square off pic.twitter.com/lTsSKTWMXT
— JeSuisCH🏒BleuBlancRouge (@HabsHappy) December 19, 2021
In the dying seconds of the frame, Whitecloud made a great stick-check on a pass intended for Nelson. Whitecloud likely saved a goal as Nelson was in prime shooting range and the Islanders had Lehner moving from right to left.
The Golden Knight’s powerplay has been completely different from what it was in the early parts of the season. On a powerplay in the third period, the Golden Knights continued their recent surge. After Dadonov hit the crossbar, Theodore scored off a one-timer slapshot from the middle point. Nicolas Roy provided a great screen and the Golden Knights took the lead 2-1.
This powerplay goal from Theodore was his first in 102 games. The Golden Knights have five powerplay goals in their last six.
The Golden Knights had to kill two straight penalties of their own in the third. William Carrier took an offensive zone penalty and for the second straight night, the Golden Knights bench took a too many men penalty. The Golden Knights killed off both penalties.
The Islanders tied things up in the third period after a bad turnover from Nicolas Hague. Zach Parise picked up the puck and fed Bellows who beat Lehner with a long wrist shot. Lehner was not happy with himself after the play and was animated after the goal.
The Islanders struck again in the third with Cal Clutterbuck scoring. However, Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer challenged the play for an offsides and was right. The game remained 2-2 but only for 53 more seconds.
After a face-off win, Wahlstrom found Jean-Gabriel Pageau unguarded by Chandler Stephenson and Pageau scored. The Golden Knights found themselves down for the first time in the game with just over two minutes left in the third period.
With Lehner on the bench and the extra-attacker out for the Golden Knights, they tied the game at three late. Theodore once again blasted home a slap-shot from the center point with just 44 seconds left in the game.
For the second straight night, the Golden Knights headed to overtime, and for the second straight night as well no goals were scored in the overtime period. Robin Lehner had to make some great saves to keep the Golden Knights in the game in OT.
In the shootout, DeBoer played the hot-hand of Theodore to go first and it paid off as Theodore scored. The Islanders missed on both of their attempts and Roy scored a nifty goal to ice things for the Golden Knights.
This win completed a four-game road trip sweep for the Golden Knights and they are now tied for both first in the NHL’s Western Conference and Pacific Division. They will return home to T-Mobile Arena to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, December 21st for a 7:00 pm game.