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Depth Steps Up, Golden Knights Defeat the Ducks on New Year’s Eve

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Adam Brooks Vegas Golden Knights (Screenshot/ESPN+)

The Vegas Golden Knights (22-12) ended 2021 with a bang as they outplayed, frustrated, and beat the Anaheim Ducks (17-10-7) by a score of 3-1. With this win, the Golden Knights fend off the Ducks for first in both the Pacific Division and Western Conference standings.

Evgenii Dadonov, Alex Pietrangelo, and Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer returned Friday. Nolan Patrick returned to the Golden Knights lineup for the first time since October 22nd. He spent the afternoon as the team’s fourth-line center and also saw powerplay time. Nicolas Hague and Robin Lehner were absent.

Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty once again we’re out of the lineup for the Golden Knights. This resulted in the Golden Knight’s depth scoring picking up in a big way. Nicolas Roy, Adam Brooks, and Mattias Janmark all scored goals for the Golden Knights in Friday’s win.

In the first period, the Golden Knights generated offense from their defense. Except for this time, it wasn’t the traditional Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo duo. For the second time in as many games, Ben Hutton threw a puck on net and it was deflected in by a Golden Knight.

Nicolas Roy scored the first goal of the game on the deflection to make it 1-0. This was Roy’s seventh goal of the season, a new career-high for the 24-year old and we are only 41% through the season.

Later on in the period, Dylan Coghlan shattered his stick on a slap shot. The puck still retained its momentum though and went in after it was deflected by Adam Brooks. There was a bit of confusion before the goal was called as the puck was lodged into the net, but nonetheless, it was a goal for the Golden Knights.

 

The Golden Knights were the far better team in the first period but also had a bit of luck on their side as well. Still, they finished the period up a pair of goals and were outshooting the Ducks 16-4.

This trend continued in the second period and the Ducks started to show some frustration. Whatever they did they couldn’t seem to fool Laurent Brossoit who finished the night with 15 saves on 16 shots. Brossoit was not tested much as the Golden Knights only allowed ten shots through two periods, but his saves were timely and necessary for the win.

Another wacky goal happened in the second period, this time being scored by Mattias Janmark. After a selfish play to set up Keegan Kolesar in front of the net, Janmark intercepted a clearing attempt by the Ducks and sent the puck back to the receiver, and scored. 

Janmark now has goals in back-to-back games, a good sign for the Golden Knights who are without two of their top wingers.

The Ducks started to get frustrated in the third period and captain Ryan Getzlaf was the first to show it. After taking a penalty against former teammate William Karlsson, Getzlaf dropped the gloves with Keegan Kolesar in a pretty quick scrap. However, a few plays later Brayden McNabb and Derek Grant threw knuckles after Grant crosschecked Coghlan. 

After a laundry list of penalties, the Golden Knights were on the powerplay after this scrum but were unable to score on the man advantage. They also received a penalty shot with Janmark taking it but Ducks goaltender John Gibson was able to come up large.

Gibson continued to stand on his head for the Ducks making big saves on Michael Amadio and William Karlsson in the third. He finished the game with 42 saves, but the loss at the end of the day.

One of the only areas where the Golden Knights struggled with Friday was on the powerplay, going 0 for 6. Still, they finish the month of December with 12 powerplay goals, a drastic improvement over their early-season efforts.

The Golden Knights had 14 powerplay shots on the afternoon and outshot the Ducks 45-16 in total. It was an overall dominant game for the Golden Knights Friday afternoon to wrap up 2021. They showed the Ducks why they are atop the Western Conference.

Before the final buzzer, Brayden McNabb laid out Sam Carrick which caused another massive scrum which saw the to fright. The Ducks received a powerplay afterward and Getzlaf scored, which ruined Brossoit’s shutout.

The Golden Knights will play once more at home Sunday for a 1:00 pm game against the Winnipeg Jets.

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Owen Krepps is the new beat writer covering the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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