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Avalanche Spoil Jack Eichel’s Golden Knights Debut

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Jack Eichel Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Missin Curfew via Twitter)

The Vegas Golden Knights (28-18-3- 59 points) have been shut out in back-to-back games. They have not scored a goal since last Tuesday or in 139 minutes and 46 seconds. The Colorado Avalanche (35-9-4- 74 points) spoiled the debut of Jack Eichel Wednesday night as they defeated the Golden Knights 2-0.

The main storyline of this game was that of Eichel making his Golden Knights debut. While he looked promising in brief spurts he was held scoreless in his first game back from injury. He played 17:32 minutes, had one shot on goal, and four penalty minutes.

In terms of lineup changes Mark Stone, of course, was not available for the Golden Knights as he has been placed on long-term injured reserve. Laurent Brossoit got the start in goal with Robin Lehner absent as well. There were also a handful of shakeups in terms of offensive line combinations. The Misfit Line was broken up and for the first time all season, Keegan Kolesar was a healthy scratch.

Brayden McNabb is now the only player on the Vegas Golden Knight’s roster that has played every game this season.

Overall the pace of Wednesday night’s game was that of a playoff game. Both teams were skating fast, creating chances, and the stars players for both teams were on display.

However, the Avalanche’s top star player did something a little out of character early in the first period. Mackinnon caught Nolan Patrick up high with a dirty elbow to the face. Patrick, who has had a long history with concussions in his young NHL career, did not return to the game.

The Golden Knights received a powerplay thanks to Mackinnon’s foolishness but did not score.

Both teams got powerplay chances in the first period with Eichel going to the box for the first time on the night having interfered with Tyson Jost. On the penalty kill, now third-line center Chandler Stephenson got a shorthanded breakaway but missed the net.

Despite no goals through two periods, it was a highly entertaining contest Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena. Gabriel Landeskog thought he had the first goal of the game on Brossoit but it turns out that the puck barely rode the goal line and never went in.

Landeskog was able to redeem himself though. Just 41 seconds into the third period the Avalanche broke the scoreless tie with their captain scoring his 23rd goal of the season. Cale Makar set up the play nicely walking the blue line and feeding Landeskog who scored on a one-timer.

The Avalanche then extended their lead in the third period with a powerplay goal from Mikko Rantanen. This came after Alex Pietrangelo took a penalty because he lost the puck at the blue line and then tripped Landeskog.

Down 2-0 in the third, the Golden Knights started to take risks to try and get back into the game. Defenseman such as Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore were constantly jumping up on the play. Head coach Peter DeBoer also the Misfit Line of William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault back together. Brossoit was pulled at around 2:30 but the Golden Knights failed to mount a comeback.

The Colorado Avalanche showed the Golden Knights what a good team in the NHL looks like Wednesday night. The VGK are continuing to struggle and with the Calgary Flames winning yet again tonight they are now three points out of first place and only four points removed from the struggling Edmonton Oilers.

Next up the Golden Knights will play their fourth and hopefully final makeup game of the season Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings. It’s a 7:00 pm home game.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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