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One Point Earned But Everybody Else Won, Canucks Beat Golden Knights in OT

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Vegas Golden Knights, Free agents, Alec Martinez

The Vegas Golden Knights (40-29-5, 85 points) started their three-game Canadian road trip off poorly losing to the Vancouver Canucks (36-28-10, 82 points) 5-4. They managed to come back in the third period and force overtime but losing out on the second point greatly damages their playoff odds.

With the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and Los Angeles Kings all winning Tuesday night, this has put the Golden Knight’s playoff chances in grave danger.

Captain Mark Stone returned to the lineup after missing 26 games with a back injury. Altogether, Stone has missed 45 games this season due to injury. This was his first game since early February.

Since Stone was coming off long-term injured reserve, roughly $4.5 million in cap space had to be freed up to activate him. The Golden Knights did this by placing Nolan Patrick, Laurent Brossoit, and William Carrier on LTIR meaning and they joined Nicolas Hague, Brett Howden, and Reilly Smith on that list.

The Golden Knights started the game off in possibly the worst way possible. Alex Pietrangelo took out the legs of Bo Horvat and went to the box for a trip. Off the faceoff, the Canucks scored on a set play with Horvat himself scoring. Then just 23 seconds after Pietrangelo’s penalty, Max Pacioretty took an unsportsmanlike penalty. The Canucks failed to score but it was a horrendous start, to say the least.

This early offensive surge for the Canucks would be the only true chances they would get in the period. The Golden Knights slowly chipped away on offense themselves, looking for their first goal. Jack Eichel and Evgenii Dadonov led the charge as their chemistry continued to grow.

The Canucks took a too-many-men penalty but the Golden Knight’s new powerplay units with Stone back failed to find a groove. However, the VGK would score a goal late in the period in more of a non-traditional way.

Mattias Janmark’s long-range shot from the blue line hit Alec Martinez in the chest and bounced in past Thatcher Demko. It was a stroke of luck and one the Golden Knights gladly took as Martinez scored his first goal of the season. The Golden Knights finished the first period tied 1-1 and leading in shots 13-6.

But what was essentially a re-run of the first period happened to the VGK in the second. Another early powerplay goal was scored by the Canucks, with Vasily Podkolzin scoring. Elias Pettersson set up the play and shot one on Robin Lehner. After two rebound chances, Podkolzin scored his 11th of the season.

Elias Pettersson was all over the ice for the Canucks and was a huge pain in the side of the Knights. On a one-on-one chance with Martinez, Pettersson danced to the net and started a net mouth scramble.

Following a few wacks, and his teammates joining in on the fun, the puck crossed the goal line but was deemed no goal by the referee. After review, the puck crossed the goal line and Pettersson got credit for the goal.

At this point in the game, Lehner had allowed three goals on eleven shots. Canucks fans let him have it chanting “Lehner, Lehner, Lehner.”

The second line for the Golden Knights got them back into the game with a long offensive zone shift where they cycled the puck. William Karlson finished the play shooting one and Michael Amadio tipped it home to make it 3-2.

But Pettersson again came back and led the offense for the Canucks. After reading a pass in the defensive zone Pettersson took off to the races on a two-on-one with Brad Richardson and Ben Hutton back for the VGK.

Pettersson passed it over to Richardson who made no mistake and the Canucks led 4-2. Three goals were allowed by the Golden Knights in the second period alone.

Desperation was the name of the game in the third period as Peter DeBoer shortened his bench and shuffled up his line combinations. Jonathan Marchessault and Nicolas Roy skated with Eichel. Dadonov, Karlsson, and Amadio were a trio, and Stone, Pacioretty, and Chandler Stephen remained together.

These changes created a spark for the VGK as they scored the first goal of the third. With a slick cross-ice pass, Dadonov found Shea Theodore pinching, and the Vancouver native made no mistake, scoring on a wrist shot from the right circle.

Momentum was on the side of the Golden Knights. Alex Pietrangelo just barely missed out on scoring the game-tying goal as he hit the crossbar. Two straight powerplays presented themselves for the Golden Knights as well.

But in what could have been a perfect place for them to come back they failed to score on both of their powerplays and are now 0-for-18 in their last 18.

Pettersson then got a grade-A chance set up in the slot. But Lehner made a huge save to keep his team in the game. At the other end of the ice and with the net empty, Theodore scored again and forced overtime.

But in the OT frame, Conor Garland cut to the net and shot one that squirted out on a big rebound from Lehner. Quinn Hughes found the loose change and scored to keep the Canucks season alive. It was a strange game between two playoff-desperate teams and the Canucks came out on top 5-4 in overtime.

VHN’s Player of the Game: Alec Martinez

The Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars all won Tuesday night which makes things even tougher for the Golden Knights’ playoff push. Stay tuned for the postgame as we review the updated Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoff odds.

With no room for error, the Golden Knights will continue their Canadian road trip in Calgary on Thursday.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights as editor-in-chief for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for The Boulder City Review, RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now. You can follow him on Twitter @OKrepps85

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Scott

I see you skipped over Eichel getting bullied by Quinn Hughes for the OT winner

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