The Vegas Golden Knights (22-12-1) were defeated Sunday afternoon by Winnipeg Jets (15-11-5) in overtime 5-4. Kyle Connor scored the overtime game-winning goal for the Jets. The Golden Knights were unable to finish off a third-period comeback which saw forward Mattias Janmark score two goals.
In terms of lineup changes, Brett Howden returned to the Golden Knights after missing the past couple of games in COVID-19 protocols. The Golden Knights now do not have any members of the team on their COVID-19 protocol list.
Laurent Brossoit started his fourth-straight game against his former team. Also, Nolan Patrick got a shot on the first line with Chandler Stephenson and Evgenii Dadonov. However, he was bumped down in the second period.
Both Paul Stastny and Nate Schmidt returned to T-Mobile Arena for the first time since leaving the Golden Knights organization in 2020. They received a huge ovation after their welcome back video played during the first TV timeout.
The story of the game for the Golden Knights was puck luck and the inability to capitalize on their chances. The team controlled the majority of the first half of the game. But with two goals in 33 seconds, the Jets came back and made things interesting in the second period.
Keegan Kolesar, who had a terrific game, started up the offense for the Golden Knights in the first period. Kolesar danced through the Jets defense for a beautiful almost-goal but was stopped by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck finished the game with 42 saves.
That same line was able to generate the first goal of the game later on though as William Carrier gained the zone. Kolesar fed Zach Whitecloud for a point shot and on the rebound Michael Amadio scored.
Unfortunately, the man who started the rush in William Carrier left the game after taking a shot to the face from Dylan Coghlan. He missed a couple of shifts to start the second period but did return for the Golden Knights Sunday.
The Golden Knights continued their strong offensive game in the first and scored the game’s second goal. On a two-on-one, Evgenii Dadonov tried to pass the puck back to Amadio but hit the skate of a Jets defender. Nonetheless, the puck found the back of the net, and the Golden Knights were up 2-0.
But in just under a minute the team’s lead was evened in the second period. 24-year old Jansen Harkins danced into the slot and with a good screen, fired home a wrist shot. Then Kristian Reichel scored his first-career NHL goal after a hard forecheck from the Jets.
The Golden Knights continued to battle, but the Jets with their newfound confidence pushed back and made the game more even. Shots were 22-10 after the first period and 26-21 after two.
The chances were there for the Golden Knights Sunday afternoon. But for whatever reason, they were unable to capitalize on their chances. Whether it was bad shot placement, missing the net, having little traffic in front of Connor Hellebuyck, or just straight-up whiffing on shots, the Golden Knights struggled to score.
With the Golden Knights unable to find the scoring touch, the Jets answered. Against his former team, Statsny tipped home a shot from Josh Morrissey to give the Jets the lead. Things only continued to get worse for the Golden Knights as Howden was called for a trip and the Jets scored on the ensuing powerplay. Andrew Copp got the goal and was set up nicely by Connor.
As the third period progressed the cheers from fans at T-Mobile Arena got quieter and quieter as the Golden Knights struggled to gain any momentum to get back into the game. Mattias Janmark said ‘enough of this’ and got to work.
Janmark won a puck battle after a sky-high pass from Whitecloud, danced in, and scored a nifty goal to put the Golden Knights within one. A couple of plays later Brossoit made a huge save on Nikolaj Ehlers and all of a sudden the Fortress was rocking again.
The Golden Knights once again made a late-game effort to come back and it was once again successful. With the extra attacker on the ice, Shea Theodore blasted a point shot with just nine seconds left and Janmark tipped it home. The Golden Knights again came back and earned a point in the dying seconds of the game.
That point would be the only one the team would get Sunday as they dropped the game in overtime. Connor made a smart play and used his skating ability to dance in and score the overtime winner. This marks the first overtime loss for the Golden Knights this season.
— Owen Krepps (@OKrepps85) January 2, 2022
The Golden Knights will be back in action Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators at home at 7:00 pm. See you then!