The Colorado Avalanche (39-10-4) again showed the Vegas Golden Knights (29-20-4) what a true contender looked like on Saturday night as they came from behind and defeated the VGK 3-2.
Overall, there was a lot to like from the Golden Knight’s game Saturday against such a tough opponent. But overall, they couldn’t hold their lead and lost to a better team. The Golden Knights have now lost five of their last six games. They continue to fall in the Pacific Division standings as the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings continue to win.
Both Max Pacioretty and Mattias Janmark were absent Saturday night after they left Friday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Jonathan Marchessault drew back into the lineup after missing a game with the flu, and so did Henderson Silver Knights call-up Jonas Rondbjerg.
Friday night was also Black History Night for the Golden Knights. They wore special jerseys which were, as always, auctioned off during the game.
The Golden Knights came out of the gate strong against the Avalanche and played one of their best periods of the season. They had eight shots on Darcy Kuemper within the first four minutes of play.
Jack Eichel sprung Chandler Stephenson on a breakaway. Stephenson then went five-hole on Kuemper and scored his 14th goal of the season, tying his career-high.
This marked the fourth game in a row where the Golden Knights scored the first goal of the game. However, in this span, the Golden Knights are 1-3.
Keegan Kolesar took a penalty in the first period which drained some momentum from the Golden Knights. Andre Burakovsky scored right after the powerplay expired on a broken play.
However, the Golden Knights were able to rebound and scored one more before the first horn. Working off an Avalanche neutral zone turnover, Jonathan Marchessault scored on a nice feed from Reilly Smith.
Shots were 15-6 after the first period and the Golden Knights continued their pressure in the second. No goals were scored in the middle frame, but the Golden Knights managed to limit Nathan Mackinnon to zero shots on goal through the first forty minutes. Brayden McNabb in particular did a great job at pounding Mackinnon every time he touched the puck.
But the key factor which resulted in the loss for the Golden Knights Saturday night was their inability to put the game home and score an insurance goal. The Golden Knights had a powerplay chance but continued to struggle in that department. They have only scored two goals in their last 30 chances.
Not scoring an insurance goal allowed the Avalanche to slowly creep back into the game. Sure enough, they tied the game with JT Compher tipping in a shot from the point from Jack Johnson.
Then just 28 seconds later Cale Makar and Nathan Mackinnon went to work. Makar showed his unreal skating abilities, gained the zone, and fed Mackinnon a perfect pass on a plater. Mackinnon scored on his first shot of the night and it went on to be the game-winning goal.
Just like that, the game took a turn and the Golden Knights ended up losing their second-straight game. The two shots from Compher and Mackinnon were the final two shots of the period for the Avalanche.
Again, there were some areas to like, but at the end of the day, this is another two points lost for the Stanley-Cup chasing Vegas Golden Knights. If this continues, they will be in danger of missing the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs altogether.
Stay tuned for tonight’s takeaways, I have a lot to say about the current state of this team.
The Golden Knights will play the San Jose Sharks next Tuesday, at home, at 7:00 pm PST.
VHN’s Player of the Game: Jonathan Marchessault
Twenty-one goals for Marchessault this season. He continues to be the most reliable offensive weapon this team has.