The Vegas Golden Knights (25-15-2) started off their four-game road trip Monday night with a strong win against the Washington Capitals (23-11-9). Robin Lehner stopped 34 of 34 shots for his 17th career shutout and first shutout of the season. Michael Amadio scored the only goal for the Golden Knights. And the Golden Knights without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Alec Martinez, Reilly, Smith, and Jack Eichel defeated one of the top teams in the east.
In terms of lineup changes, Smith entered COVID-19 protocols Monday morning and Jonas Rondbjerg came into the lineup as a result. Nicolas Hague returned after missing the last eight games with a wrist injury. Laurent Brossoit also returned and backed up Lehner. Brossoit will likely get the start Tuesday against the Hurricanes.
This game also marked the return of Chandler Stephenson to Washington DC for the first time since he was traded to the Golden Knights in December of 2019. As only the seventh regular-season game between the two clubs, the Stephenson finally was able to return to Capital One Arena. The 2018 Stanley Cup Champion received a video tribute during the second TV timeout.
Overall this was a tight game between two solid teams. Both teams were skating well and playing a playoff-like style of game. There was little ice to work with. Both teams’ powerplays struggled with the Capitals going 0/5 and the Golden Knights going 0/4.
Lehner had a tremendous game for the Golden Knights. His first big save of the night came of Nic Dowd after defenseman Alex Pietrangelo blew a tire.
Another player who impressed Monday night was Evgenii Dadonov. Playing on the first line in the absence of both Pacioretty and Stone, Dadonov had a solid game offensively. His forechecking game and offensive instincts were on display against the Capitals though he was unable to make the scoresheet.
In the early stages of the second period, the Capitals had a rush of solid chances. Aliaksei Protas was left alone in the slot but Lehner came up strong. Lars Eller also rang a shot from the right circle off the post.
But it would be the Golden Knights who would strike first after a solid play from the team’s fourth line. Formed last game, the line of Nolan Patrick, Michael Amadio, and Brett Howden has impressed with their cycling and offense.
This line scored the first goal of the game Monday night with Amadio getting the tally on Howden’s rebound. Hague, a defenseman started the play with a solid forecheck.
it's a me, amadiooooo!!!! pic.twitter.com/Byvb9zqSK3
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 25, 2022
The Golden Knights were then tested defensively as Dadonov went off for interference and Brayden McNabb for a delay of game. The Capitals had one minute and 57 seconds to work with on a five-on-three advantage. But big saves from Lehner shut the Capitals down and the Golden Knights killed off the powerplay.
In the third, the Golden Knights stuck with their defensive game first. They did not register a shot in the period until Dadonov got one after twelve minutes transpired.
The Golden Knights closed out the game with a solid defensive effort, led by Lehner as the Capitals pulled goaltender Vitek Vanecek. With this shutout, Alex Ovechkin’s seven-game point streak has been broken.
An overall solid defensive win for the Golden Knights has them on the right footing as they travel to North Carolina tonight. The Golden Knights play the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night at 4:00 pm PST.
Vegas Hockey Now’s Player of the Game: Robin Lehner.
Easy choice here. With the mediocre season that Lehner has been having, this was a huge confidence boost for both Lehner and the Golden Knights. He looked calm and collected, had solid rebound control, and had an added bit of luck, all of which are things both the Golden Knights and Lehner need moving forward.