The Colorado Avalanche took the season series against the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday night winning game three 3-2 which gave them two out of three wins against the VGK this season. The Stanley Cup Playoffs will likely be the next stage in which these two teams will do battle. But for the Golden Knights, a lot needs to change if they want to find success.
The Golden Knights have now lost five of their last six games. Both the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames have passed them in the standings. The Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks are on pace to pass them as well.
There was a lot to like from the Golden Knights Saturday night. But unfortunately, they were unable to get even one point in the standings out of their efforts.
“We are in the points business. So it is disappointing. But boy did we leave it out there. We played exactly how we want to play going into the third with a lead. I think we gave them three shots in the third and they scored on two… We did a lot of really good things, except win” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer.
Takeaways From the Golden Knights 3-2 Loss
1. Have to Learn to Close Out These Tight Games
Like me sleeping in my new mattress, the Golden Knights are not comfortable when it comes to playing in close one-goal games. Entering the third period, they had a one-goal lead against the best team in the league. But there were unable to score an insurance goal and put things away in the third period.
Situations like this are what many playoff games will eventually come down to. A team protecting a one-goal lead and looking for an insurance goal to close things out. For the Golden Knights, they need to get more comfortable with playing in these tight games as come Spring, these games will be night in and night out.
2. Brayden McNabb Had a Stong Game
Outside of Jonathan Marchessault, who scored his 21st goal of the season in his return to the lineup, I was impressed greatly by Brayden McNabb the most Saturday night. McNabb, like always played a solid hard-nosed, and rugged game. I was particularly impressed by his shutdown on Nathan Mackinnon, who had no shots on goal through the first two periods of play.
This happened just the night before for Mackinnon against the Winnipeg Jets where he also had no shots on goal through the first two periods but then went on to score two goals on 14 shots on net. Similarly, Mackinnon’s first shot on net Saturday night was the game-winning goal.
“It’s frustrating. But you gotta put your work boots on and make sure that your compete level is there and things will fall in a place,“ said McNabb
3. All it Takes is One For Makar, Mackinnon, and co.
The last two takeaways are not to say the Golden Knights didn’t do a great job defending in the third period. They did a fantastic job actually. They limited the Avalanche to only three shots on net in the period. But that is all it took for the Avs’ high-flying offense to score. The Avalanche’s last two shots on goal were both goals from JT Compher and Nathan Mackinnon.
“That’s kind of how it has been going for us we fall asleep for a couple of minutes every game and then we will lose the game there,” said Marchessault.
All it takes is one chance against these top-notch superstar players for them to catch you out of position and score. Again, this is where not having an insurance goal comes back to bite you.
4. An Insane Statistic Remains
As mentioned on the At&t Sportsnet broadcast, no team in the NHL has ever lost to the league’s worst team in the standings on one night and then won against the league’s best team on the next night since the 1964 Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Golden Knights had the opportunity to do this given their loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. But they, of course, lost to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. It could have been a 58-year record-breaking event, but instead, this has still never happened in the NHL’s post-expansion era.
5. At Least the Upcoming Schedule is Promising
With five of their last six games being losses and only one win since Jack Eichel joined the team, the Golden Knights need a turnaround here and fast. We are in the stretch run of the 2021-22 NHL Season and every point matters, as the Golden Knights continue to slip in the standings.
Looking ahead at the upcoming schedule there is potentially a light at the end of the tunnel as the Golden Knights will play 18 of their final 29 games against teams that are currently out of the playoffs. They start this trek against a team that they have had success against in the San Jose Sharks Tuesday, at home, at 7:00 pm.
“It’s adversity that we’re facing and we better get out of it,” said Marchessault