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Slump Worsens; Golden Knights Wilt in 3rd as Penguins Pull Away 5-2

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Laurent Brossoit Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

The Vegas Golden Knights (32-23-4, 68 points) have lost yet another game this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins (35-15-9, 79 points) Friday night at PPG Paints Arena. They have lost eight of their last twelve.

Eight members of their lineup are out due to injury. Most recently, Robin Lehner and Reilly Smith traveled back to Las Vegas. Key cogs in the lineup such as Mark Stone, and Brayden McNabb are also out.

Thanks to an early powerplay the Penguins controlled most of the first period. Zach-Aston Reese was stopped right on the doorstep with a pad save from Laurent Brossoit. Brossoit made his second-straight start for the Golden Knights on the back-to-back.

The Penguins continued to pressure with another powerplay after Max Pacioretty got angry with Kris Letang. Similar to Jonathan Marchessault’s penalty against the Sabres, Pacioretty took a retaliatory penalty as he sucker-punched Letang after a scrum in the corner.

Brossoit had to stand on his head as the Penguins outshot the Golden Knights 16-5. But he couldn’t stop Mike Matheson as the defenseman scored off the rush for the Penguins. It was a simple play as Matheson used his skating to jump in on the rush and snipe one top corner on Brossoit.

Jeff Carter then extended the Penguins lead in the second period. Brock McGinn got a breakaway chance as the Golden Knights made a bad change. Carter trailed McGinn on the play and collected the loose change to score. He now has eight goals and four assists in 12 career games against the VGK.

The Golden Knights finally found their offense in the second period. Poetically, both of their goals mirrored the first two Penguins’ goals of the game, but in reverse order.

On another net mouth scramble, this time in front of Tristan Jarry, Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Marchessault dug for the puck before Jack Eichel found it and roofed one to score.

Eichel now has six goals, three assists, and nine points against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Just four minutes later the Golden Knights tied the game with Alex Pietrangelo scoring his first goal in 13 games. Similar to the Matheson goal, Pietrangelo simply joined the rush and was left unattended. He then scored on a well-placed shot past Tristan Jarry.

The Golden Knights found their offense in the second period with Marchessault having two assists as well as a breakaway chance where he missed the net. After trailing in the shot department 16-5 after the first period, the Golden Knights led 27-23 after two.

To start the third period, Max Pacioretty was not on the bench for the Vegas Golden Knights. Stay tuned with Vegas Hockey Now for updates as we do the same song and dance with Pacioretty and his health.

Despite it being biologically impossible, the Penguins came out flying in the third. Crosby had a break and almost scored had it not been for the pad of Brossoit. But just a few shifts later the Penguins took the lead 3-2. Another defenseman joined the rush and scored. This time it was Mark Friedman.

But the Golden Knights had the perfect opportunity to even up the game with back-to-back powerplays in the later stages of the third. Neither powerplay unit got any good looks as the Golden Knights PP once again came up short. The Penguins then got a powerplay of their own and Bryan Rust showed the VGK how it is done, scoring a goal himself.

The Golden Knights took a step in the right direction with two goals Friday night. But that is not nearly enough to win in the NHL nowadays. The Penguins took the game 5-2 after Evan Rodrigues added an empty netter. Another loss is on the board for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Sunday the VGK will travel to Columbus to play the Blue Jackets as they search for the first win of their current road trip. It will once again be a 4:00 pm start, this time from Nationwide Arena.

VHN’s Player of the Game: Laurent Brossoit

LB was good for what it’s worth. It’s not his fault the team continues to struggle offensively.

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