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Pietrangelo Plays Career High Minutes But Golden Knights Lose 4-3 In Shootout

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NHL Trade, Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights (23-14-2, 48 points) were defeated in the shootout 4-3 by the Toronto Maple Leafs (23-8-3, 49 points). This was the first meeting between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas since 2019 where Marc-Andre Fleury made his famous Superman save.

Alex Pietrangelo finished the game with 32:55 minutes of ice time, a new career-high for him by one second. This is a new record for total time on ice in Vegas Golden Knights history as well. The final shots were 34-18 in favor of the Golden Knights. A frustrating loss, but at least they escape with one point.

The Golden Knights entered the game shorthanded once more as COVID-19 has taken another hit on the team. Just hours before puck drop Nicolas Roy, Shea Theodore, and Nolan Patrick entered COVID-19 protocols.

On the bright side for the Golden Knights, they now have a six-day break before they play their next game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. This allows the team to regroup and rest with injured players like Jack Eichel inching closer to a return.

The start for the Golden Knights in the first period against the Maple Leafs was not good, to say the least. On the Leafs’ first shot of the game, William Nylander beat Robin Lehner after breezing by the Golden Knights defense pair of Brayden McNabb and Dylan Coghlan.

The Maple Leafs followed it up with a strong one-timer shot from David Kampf that Lehner was able to deny. But the Golden Knights gifted the NHL’s best powerplay an opportunity with Brett Howden going to the box. The penalty kill unit for the Golden Knights killed it but Auston Matthews then rang a shot off the post and was just inches away from scoring.

The Golden Knights found themselves lucky to only be down by one midway through the first period. With the Maple Leafs failing to add to their lead, all it took was one goal for the Golden Knights to tie the game up at one. 

On a powerplay attempt for the Golden Knights, Keegan Kolesar scored unguarded in the blue paint. Chandler Stephenson gained the zone and Evgenii Dadonov made a nice pass to get it to Kolesar who scored his third goal of the season.

The Golden Knights continued their solid offensive pressure in the second period but were unable to add to their goal total. They started the period by trapping Maple Leafs’ top defender Morgan Rielly in his own zone for more than two and a half minutes. 

Jake Muzzin also took a penalty for a delay of game but the Golden Knights failed to even put up a shot on the ensuing powerplay.

The window to take the lead for the Golden Knights came and went as the Maple Leafs pushed back in the second period. Matthews was able to score his 23rd goal of the season thanks to a nice pass from Michael Bunting which set up Matthews right on the doorstep.

Ilya Mikheyev then buried home a puck that bounced off the wall and made it 3-1 Maple Leafs.

And with that, the Maple Leafs took a two-goal lead with two goals on their last four shots despite the Golden Knights controlling most of the second period.

The Golden Knights came out of the tunnel in the third period and finally broke free making the game a one-goal contest with William Karlsson scoring. Reilly Smith made a nice play on the forecheck and Karlsson went forehand backhand to score.

Daniil Miromanov, looking like a power forward, had a great chance midway through the final period as he looked for his first career NHL goal. Miromanov then drew a penalty on Kyle Clifford for a Golden Knights powerplay.

Lehner had to make a huge save on Kase after Marchessault fumbled the puck and Kase got a breakaway all alone. The Maple Leafs then got called for a bench minor penalty for too many players on the ice.

Peter DeBoer called his timeout, the Golden Knights set up shop, and Alex Pietrangelo scored the game-tying goal on the five-on-three. With tons of patience in the slot, Petro fired home a well-placed wrist shot behind Jack Campbell.

The Golden Knights held the Maple Leafs to just two shots in the third period. But with the game knotted at three at the end of sixty minutes, the two teams took to overtime. No goals were scored in the bonus frame as well and a shootout was needed. The first five shooters were denied by both Lehner and Campbell and Nylander had the chance to win the game with a goal.

He did just that and the Maple Leafs snagged the extra point against the Golden Knights in the shootout.

The Golden Knights do not play until next Monday as their initially scheduled two-game road trip to Canada has been postponed. They will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on January 17th at 7:00 pm.

Vegas Hockey Now’s Player of the Game: Alex Pietrangelo

One more thing: I usually save news stories for the OK Daily’s but tonight is an exception. If you haven’t already seen what is going on with the Florida Panthers and Kodak Black I highly encourage you to check out Florida Hockey Now who has perhaps the craziest story of the NHL season. (WARNING- sexual content)

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps is the new beat writer covering the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. He has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, Pittsburgh Sports Castle, Pittsburgh Hockey Now, and The Titusville Herald.

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