A hot goaltender, bad defense, horrible powerplay chances. Shaky goaltending from Lehner, bad officiating, or too many turnovers. Call it what you want, but the Vegas Golden Knights have only two wins in their last eight games. They lost 5-2 Thursday night to the Boston Bruins.
Jack Eichel has only ever defeated one team with the Vegas Golden Knights and he has been playing for about a month now.
“We are trying to get some mojo. But at some point, there are no excuses for our group. Enough is enough. We can blame it as much as we want on every little thing like injuries whatever. It doesn’t matter, the guys in the lineup, we all have to step up. Good teams find a way to win. We are not doing that,” said Jonathan Marchessault.
“It seems like we are one and done in the O-zone. We can’t create momentum shift after shift. It is like we have a shift and they get the puck out and then we are playing in our zone,” said Jack Eichel.
Five Takeaways from the Golden Knights 5-2 Loss
1- More Scoring Slumps
Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer kept bringing up his depth players in Thursday night’s postgame presser. He didn’t mention anyone in particular by name to single anyone out. But we can assume who he was referring to with some basic common sense.
“We have got some guys in some extended slumps here. When you’ve got Pacioretty and Stone out of the lineup you can’t have multiple guys going through double-digit games without chipping in a goal,” said Peter DeBoer.
Nicolas Roy, Evgenii Dadonov, and Nicolas Roy all fit this bill of players who have not scored in 10+ games. Dadonov is a player in particular who seems to be squeezing the stick on the first line with Eichel and Stephenson. Injuries are the only thing keeping him on that first line.
2- The Costly Powerplay
Another thing that was brought up frequently in the Golden Knights postgame press conference was their recent struggles on the powerplay. Not having Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty available and integrating a new player in Jack Eichel on the top unit will certainly bring about changes. But there comes a point where enough is enough for a powerplay drought.
“We’ve got to step up. Our powerplay has hurt us recently and we are not scoring on that. Instead of us scoring and tying the game they get it so our urgency and compete it all has to get better,” said Eichel.
The Golden Knights had two grade-A opportunities to change the tide of the game with their powerplay. Instead of the VGK carrying momentum from the Eichel goal in the second period to the third, the powerplay killed all of the team’s momentum and arguably cost them the game.
“There is no hiding from the fact that we have got to get a powerplay goal,” said DeBoer.
3- Not the Best Game from Robin Lehner
There are plenty of reasons why the Golden Knights lost Thursday night’s game. A lot of these are out of the control of Robin Lehner. They struggled to score both on the powerplay, and overall at five-on-five, something Lehner cannot help with because his name is not Lukas Dostal.
But Thursday night was not Lehner’s best game as a Golden Knight either. On the Bruins’ first goal. the Golden Knights were scrambling after Lehner almost turned the puck over behind his net. He recovered, but only in time for Craig Smith to score his first goal of the game.
On Smith’s third goal of the night, Lehner was caught looking in the opposite direction of the puck. Not sure if he lost an edge or something, but he was completely out of position as Smith’s shot caught him by surprise. Hopefully, he can rebound quickly for the Golden Knights.
4- McNabb Can’t Stop Playing
On the second goal by the Boston Bruins Thursday night, Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb thought there should have been a penalty. Watching it on the replay, the eventual goal scorer in Craig Smith lodged his stick under the skate of McNabb and as a result, he crashed behind Lehner.
There was no call on the play and Smith went on to score his second goal of the night. As much as this should have been a penalty, McNabb can not stop playing in this scenario to bark at the refs.
“The second one is a tough one. I thought it should have been a penalty on McNabb and they score to go up,” said DeBoer.
5- The Silver Lining: Reilly Smith
Reilly Smith was my player of the game for the Golden Knights tonight. It’s not much of an honor considering I have made it a rule to give out this award after each and every game. But I really did think Smith had a solid game as outside of Eichel, he was the Golden Knight’s best offensive player.