The Vegas Golden Knights blew a multi-goal lead Monday night. A pretty substantial one, too. The Golden Knights allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to score five unanswered goals for a 5-3 comeback win after the Golden Knights led 3-0 after the first period.
The Golden Knights had a great start. It was almost perfection. Three goals after a six-day break was exactly the start the team needed against the tough Penguins team, which has now won 13 of their last 15. Chandler Stephenson, Evgenii Dadonov, and Nicolas Roy scored for the Golden Knights.
Dadonov had a goal and an assist, Alex Pietrangelo had two assists, and the Golden Knights scored three goals on six shots on Tristan Jarry in the first period.
So what happened? The Golden Knights captain attributed the team’s collapse to penalty trouble and a rough defensive game in the latter two periods.
“When you take two penalties early in a period, you kind of take a lot of guys out of the game. There are six or seven guys sitting on the bench waiting to go, so we couldn’t really get a flow in the second period,” said Stone.
With the penalty-killing units on the ice, scorers like Dadonov, Stone, and Jonathan Marchessault played reduced minutes because they do not play on the penalty-killing units.
The Penguins went one-for-three on the powerplay. The first and only powerplay goal came from Jason Zucker, who played in his first game since Dec. 19 after suffering a lower-body injury. Zucker scored two goals. However, Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner believed the first goal was ill-gotten gains.
“I don’t think it was a goal,” Lehner said regarding Zucker’s first goal. “I was on the crease line, and I ended up in the net. That was not my doing. I know I couldn’t cover the puck because they were slapping away at it. But they shouldn’t be able to push me into the net. I thought it was goalie interference, “said Lehner.
First game back since December 19 and Jason Zucker is already scoring power-play goals 👏 pic.twitter.com/eHkZwikqHv
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 18, 2022
Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer stated that they looked at the goal on the bench and thought about challenging the play. However, given that the Golden Knights had already taken two penalties to start the period, the bench decided not to risk the coach’s challenge.
The Penguins goal propelled them to mount a comeback. Zucker, Blueger, and Jake Guentzel scored to tie the game. Sidney Crosby added an insurance empty-net goal at the end. He is only eight goals away from 500 career goals.
This loss marks another home loss for the Golden Knights, whose home record is currently at 12-9-2, a far cry from some of the dominant regular-season home performances of years past.
“You never want to get waxed in your own building like that… We pride ourselves on being a good home team. It has been a tough stretch for us. We have played some good teams. But you have to find a way to get points in those games,” said Stone.
The Vegas Golden Knights have yet another home game Thursday night as they will take on the Montreal Canadiens at 7:00 pm. The team will have a two-day break until then and could potentially welcome back Alec Martinez, Nicolas Hague, and Laurent Brossoit in the time off.