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Devils Play Spoiler, Defeat Golden Knights 3-2, Tarnish Playoff Hopes.

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Jack Eichel Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Missin Curfew via Twitter)

The Vegas Golden Knights (41-31-5, 87 points) allowed the New Jersey Devils (27-42-7, 61 points) to play spoiler Monday night as the Devils defeated the Golden Knights 3-2.

This has put a major dent in the VGK’s playoff hopes.

As always, we will have the updated playoff odds after all games wrap up. The Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks were also in action Monday night. Mathematically speaking, the Golden Knights have not been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs (yet).

The Golden Knights entered the game four points back of a Wild Card spot and three points back of the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division.

Robin Lehner got the start in net after missing one game due to personal reasons. Logan Thompson, who started the last two games, served as backup. Peter DeBoer also shuffled up his line combinations substantially Monday night.

Defense was optional throughout the majority of the game with both teams getting oodles of chances. Shea Theodore led the charge for the Golden Knights in the first. He also sent Nicolas Roy on a breakaway but Roy missed the net.

Brayden McNabb would turn over a puck to Michael McLeod in the first. His shot would bounce off of Lehner and the rebound was cleaned up by Nathan Bastian.

For the fourth straight game, the Golden Knights allowed the first goal.

The chances were there for the VGK, but for the second straight game, they made an average goaltender look like a Vezina candidate. On Saturday it was 40-year-old Mike Smith and on Monday it was Andrew Hammond.

A powerplay chance presented itself for the Golden Knights with Ty Smith in the box but once again they failed to score. They are now 0/27 since March 25th.

The Devils on the other hand were using their speed to outskate the Golden Knights. They were cycling, winning puck battles, and made the Golden Knights look like a team that is not desperate to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The offensive woes continued up until the end of the second period. But on a break that the VGK gladly took, the game was tied.

Keegan Kolesar threw a puck towards the net, initially intending it to go to a pinching Jake Leschyshyn. Instead, it hit the skate of PK Subban and went in.

This ended a 99:18 scoreless drought for the Golden Knights.

But this momentum was not carried over into the third period and the Devils took control of the game. Andreas Johnsson scored after Kevin Bahl’s shot was falsely gloved down by Lehner. The rebound lay in the crease and Johnsson found it.

Then Jesper Boqvist made it 3-1 as he walked around Alex Pietrangelo and fired a shot that Lehner failed to move on. He was visibly upset with himself after letting in what could be considered two or three weak goals.

Whether it was whiffing on passes, missing the net, or having their own teammates block their shot attempts, the Golden Knights could not score in the third.

An effort was there from the Golden Knights to get back into things.  They had their chances, and there were some mad scrambles in front of Hammond. Chandler Stephenson eventually cashed in to make it 3-2. But time ran out for the Golden Knights and the Devils won 3-2.

VHN’s Player of the Game: Keegan Kolesar

With the playoff picture looking grimmer as each and every day passes, the Golden Knights will play the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at 7:00 pm. It will be their second-to-last home game, potentially for the entire season.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. 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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