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Cole Sillinger Scores Hat-Trick as Blue Jackets Defeat Golden Knights 6-4

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The Vegas Golden Knights (32-25-4, 68 points) finally found their offensive game and scored four goals Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Blue Jackets (30-27-3, 63 points). Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, it was not enough to top the CBJ as the Golden Knights lost the game 6-4.

This is the ninth game the team has lost in the past twelve games. Saturday night the Edmonton Oilers knocked the Golden Knights out of a Pacific Division playoff spot and now the Vancouver Canucks are knocking on the door, just three points behind the VGK.

Logan Thompson got his third career NHL start and made 33 saves on 38 shots. Max Pacioretty and Ben Hutton were absent from the Golden Knights lineup. Pacioretty left Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period and did not return. Hutton is in COVID-19 protocols.

With the team’s offense struggling, head coach Peter DeBoer dramatically shuffled up his lines, putting William Karlsson at wing and using Nolan Patrick as the team’s third-line center.

Patrick returned to the lineup after he missed seven games with a head injury. If you recall, Patrick took a high hit from Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan Mackinnon in mid-February.

He didn’t exactly return on a good note, taking a tripping penalty in the opening period. Patrick had to watch from the box as fellow Patrick (Laine) scored on the ensuing powerplay.

Happy early St. Patrick’s Day everyone.

The VGK answered with a goal from Jonathan Marchessault just a few shifts later. Sean Kuraly made a horrible turnover in the Blue Jackets’ own end and Marchessault scored unassisted. 

The pressure from the Golden Knights mounted after Marchessault’s goal and they continued to crash the net and gain offensive chances. William Carrier gave the VGK a 2-1 lead as he tipped Nicolas Roy’s shot behind Elvis Merzlikins. Carrier then got another grade-A chance with a shot in the slot.

For the first time in what feels like forever the Golden Knights offense was starting to get rewarded for their chances. But their defensive game was a different story.

On a successful dump and chase, Olivier Bjorkstrand fed Cole Sillinger who scored. Then on the following shift Bjorkstrand scored a goal of his own with a well-placed slap shot past Thompson.

Max Domi then got into it with both Nicolas Hague and Alex Pietrangelo. It wasn’t listed as an official fight, instead, all three went off for roughing which gave the Blue Jackets a powerplay. 

The second period is where the Golden Knights started to fall apart. The Blue Jackets had several net mouth scrambles where Thompson and the Golden Knights were barely able to recover in time.

Cole Sillinger went to complete his first career NHL hat trick with two goals in the second. The first of which came as a deflection on another Bjorkstrand shot. The second came on__

To make matters worse, Daniil Miromanov took a puck to the face and did not return.

Keegan Kolesar and Evgenii Dadonov cut the Blue Jackets lead with a goal on a two-on-one. The Golden Knights took advantage of a bad Blue Jackets change and Dadonov scored.

The Golden Knights made the Blue Jackets fight for the win with a late third-period comeback. On the powerplay, Jack Eichel scored to make it a one-goal game. Eichel and Chandler Stephenson gained the zone in a slick fashion and Eichel collected the loose change on Elvis Merzlikins.

Another powerplay chance presented itself for the Golden Knights but they were unable to score on it. Nicolas Hague then got a grade-A chance in alone on Merzlikins but he couldn’t elevate the puck past his left pad. Desperation then set in for the Golden Knights. Thompson went to the bench and a timeout was called by Peter DeBoer but the VGK failed to score.

Eric Robinson finished things off with an empty netter.

“I’m sick of it. Everybody is sick of it. Everybody needs to dig deeper, grab their nuts, and work,” Chandler Stephenson told reporters after the game.

On Tuesday the Golden Knights will finish out their five-game road trip as they play the Winnipeg Jets at 5:00 pm PST. They are still looking for the first win of the trip.

“We’re 4 games into this trip and I could argue we could’ve won every one of them. But we’re finding ways to lose and that’s troubling,” said Peter DeBoer.

VHN’s Player of the Game: Evgenii Dadonov

Another goal for him. Good to see he is taking the right step in terms of scoring consistently.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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