Jack-Pot Eichel scored with five seconds left in Sunday’s game against the Ottawa Senators and won the game for the Vegas Golden Knights.
“That’s what you miss. Making a difference and helping the team win,” said Eichel.
Here’s that goal again…
Let’s jump right into tonight’s Vegas Hockey Now’s takeaways.
Six Takeaways From the Golden Knights Buzzer-Beater Victory
1- Eichel’s First Big-Time Goal With the VGK
Jack Eichel has three goals since joining the Vegas Golden Knights. He scored a complimentary goal in the Golden Knights rout of the Sharks and a nifty goal against the Bruins in a loss. But Sunday night’s goal against the Senators was Eichel’s true first big goal with the Golden Knights.
“There’s a handful of guys that can corral a puck, get it off that quickly and stick it in the back of the net in that spot in the world and he’s one of them. That’s exactly why you go get him,” said Peter DeBoer.
2- Eichel’s Goal Doesn’t Erase Things
The Eichel goal was a late-game, get out of your seat-type of goal that propelled the Golden Knights to victory. But this goal should not overshadow the Golden Knight’s weak effort in the third period. The Senators were outshooting the VGK 13-2 halfway through the third period and led in scoring chances 10-0. Robin Lehner, who we will get to later had to stand on his head to ensure victory for his team.
The Golden Knights, like Nathan Drake’s lighter in the new Uncharted movie, could not find a spark. They struggled offensively, yes, but even worse had no momentum against the struggling Senators. In games like this, you look for a big spark. Maybe someone (like Keegan Kolesar or Ben Hutton) drops the gloves or someone who is going through a goal drought (like Evgenii Dadonov or Shea Theodore) scores.
For the Golden Knights, they didn’t find this spark until there were five seconds remaining in the game. They will take it, but for the majority of the third period, they were playing with fire.
3- Lehner With A Remarkable Game
The Golden Knights don’t win Sunday without Robin Lehner and it is as simple as that. In what turned out to be a high-shotting game, Lehner stopped 39 of 40 shots for his 21st win of the season.
When the Golden Knights were struggling in the third period, Lehner made huge stops on Zach Sanford and Colin White to keep the game tied.
“You always try to think positive and to just keep trying your best and keep your team in the game. They had a lot of shots and chances there in the third and I think that we were a little bit more patient than some other nights,” said Lehner.
4- The Unsung Hero, Michael Amadio
Michael Amadio had a goal and two assists against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. But his performance against the Senators Sunday may have been better depending on who you ask.
Amadio drew two penalties for the Golden Knights, which went on to be the Senators’ only two penalties of the game. The one which cost the Sens was the tripping call on Thomas Chabot which Eichel and co. then scored on to win the game. Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer recognized Amadio’s effort.
“It really was one of those games where we had to stick with it for as long as it took. It was a great play by Ammo (Amadio) to draw the penalty moving his feet to dive the defenseman wide,” said DeBoer.
Ottawa Senators head coach DJ Smith had a different opinion.
“I don’t know if that is a penalty or not I haven’t looked at it but that is a tough way to lose after a good game both ways,” said Smith.
5- Career Numbers Against the Senators
Lastly, let’s look at some numbers against the Ottawa Senators that are even more inflated with the Golden Knight’s victory Sunday. Robin Lehner is now 10-0-3 against his former team which is the most wins he has against a single franchise in the NHL.
Jonathan Marchessault, who had seven shots on net Sunday, now has nine goals in his last 15 games against the Sens. Eichel, who played against the Senators frequently in Buffalo has 26 points against them, which is the most he has against a single NHL franchise.
The last time the Golden Knights lost to the Senators was when Mark Stone was on their team.