For the majority of sixty minutes, the Vegas Golden Knights (22-13-1) played an uninspired and lazy game of hockey on Tuesday night. They lost to the Nashville Predators (21-11-2) by a score of 3-2. The Golden Knights played a sloppy defensive game in front of 24-year old goaltender Logan Thompson.
Thompson made his first career NHL start and stopped 23 of 26 shots. This was his second NHL game as he came in relief for Marc-Andre Fleury all the way back in March of 2020. He is still looking for his first career NHL win. There were no other lineup changes for the Golden Knights outside of Dylan Ferguson backing up Thompson.
Right off the bat, the misfit line of Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault had some solid opportunities. Marchessault and Smith had a two-on-zero but Jusse Saros made the save.
Speaking of big saves, that was the story of the game for Thompson and the Golden Knights. Despite wanting to improve their defensive game, the Golden Knights forced Thompson to make some big saves. For the most part, his play was phenomenal and the crowd was on his side, cheering after every save the young goaltender made.
Alex Carrier (no relation to William) threw a big hit on Mattias Janmark which knocked his helmet off. A scrum ensued and as a result of the play, Keegan Kolesar and Tanner Jeannot dropped the gloves. It was a pretty spirited affair and both sat for five minutes.
— Bally Sports: Preds (@PredsOnBally) January 5, 2022
The Golden Knights continued to play a weak defensive game in the second period and the Predators finally broke free. After a turnover from a bad pass out of the Golden Knights defensive zone, the Predators first line got to work.
Mikael Granlund teed up Filip Forsberg who ripped a nice shot past Thompson for his sixteenth goal of the season. Not long after, Yakov Trenin deflected in Philipe Myers’ shot from the point, and just like that the Golden Knights were down 2-0.
As a result of his team’s struggling play, Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer tried to spark his team and put Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo together as a defensive pairing. The two also played together when the two teams played 4-on-4 hockey after Nick Cousins went to the box for a trip and Evgenii Dadonov for embellishment.
The Predators extended their lead in the third period. Forsberg put on a show and danced around Pietrangelo of all players and made it a 3-0 game.
Golden Knights fans will tell you that officiating in this game was a bit spotty. Frequent questionable icing calls could have potentially made the game a different story for the Golden Knights. Combine this with two calls on Dadonov and Marchessault which made the game a four-on-four contest, and fans at T-Mobile Arena had plenty to be unhappy with Tuesday night.
The Golden Knights had a brief five-on-three opportunity as DeBoer pulled Thompson halfway through the third and the Preds had two men in the box. Despite scoring six goals with the extra-attacker this season the Golden Knights failed to score on the opportunity.
The Golden Knights ended Saros’s shutout streak with just under eight minutes to go as Brayden McNabb’s shot hit Karlsson’s skate and slipped on through. Things got interesting as when it seemed like all hope was lost, Theodore scored on a one-timer from Pietrangelo to make it a one-goal game.
Alas, the team ran out of time and Saros made 41 saves on 43 shots on the night. The Golden Knights lost 3-2.
The Golden Knights will be back in action Thursday night at home for a 7:00 pm meeting with Gerard Gallant, Ryan Reaves, and the New York Rangers. Be sure to stay tuned to Vegas Hockey Now for postgame takeaways as well as practice updates for tomorrow. Follow @OKrepps85 on Twitter.