The Vegas Golden Knights (42-31-8, 92 points) have officially been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention as they lost in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks (27-42-11, 65 points) 4-3.
The Dallas Stars also forced overtime against the Arizona Coyotes which allowed them to clinch the last Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights have just one game remaining against the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
An 0-17 scoreless drought in the shootout cost the Golden Knights the game as they went to the shootout for their third-straight game. Tyler Johnson scored the only goal in the shootout.
This was the first meeting between these two teams in Chicago since October of 2019, a 992-day span.
Head coach Peter DeBoer shuffled up his line combinations a tad putting William Karlsson at wing and promoting William Carrier to the third line. But no new players entered the lineup as the Golden Knights went with eleven forwards and seven defensemen for the second-straight game.
Overall the Golden Knights played like a team that lacked playoff urgency. They struggled defensively and let the basement-dwelling Blackhawks skate with them for most of the game. On offense, the VGK could not bury on their chances and frequently missed the net or shot it right into Kevin Lankinen.
The Blackhawks got the first goal of the game from former Erie Otter Taylor Raddysh after a lousy turnover from Shea Theodore. Raddysh banked a shot in from behind the goal line on Logan Thompson for his 10th goal of the season.
Theodore, Jack Eichel, and Max Pacioretty led the offense the other way for the Golden Knights. Eichel had a couple of chances where he drove to the net and got a decent chance in on Lankinen.
The Golden Knights tied the game with Michael Amadio scoring on a sharp-angle one-timer. Amadio gained the zone and dropped the puck to Theodore who then went back to Amadio to score.
But another defensive nightmare allowed the Blackhawks to walk away with a lead after the first period. It was Raddysh again who scored after three wacks at the crease on Thompson. No Golden Knights seemed interested in defending him and he scored his second goal of the period with one second left in the first.
It was a game of catch-up that the Golden Knights played all night as they trailed three different times but came back to tie it on all three occasions. In the second a simple faceoff win from Chandler Stephenson was shot in by Alec Martinez.
Another turnover cost the Golden Knights the tie as Eichel shot the puck right through the Golden Knight’s defensive zone and Caleb Jones picked it up. He walked in on Thompson and scored to give the Blackhawks the lead… again.
But once more the Golden Knights fought back with pressure from guys like Eichel, Theodore, Stephenson, and Pacioretty. Another simple play found the back of the net in the second with Pacioretty simply tipping home Brayden McNabb’s shot to tie the game yet again.
Late in the game, the Golden Knights dodged a bullet as Amadio took a penalty and the Blackhawks got a plethora of chances. To overtime, and eventually the shootout these two teams went.
There was a brief glimmer of hope as the Golden Knights were in the middle of their shootout as the Coyotes tied their game against the Stars. However, both parties failed to accomplish what would have been beneficial to the Golden Knights as the Stars forced overtime and the Golden Knights lost.
This marks the first time in franchise history the Golden Knights have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Stay tuned with Vegas Hockey Now as we break it all down tomorrow all all throughout the summer.
The Golden Knights play their final game of the season Friday against the St. Louis Blues.
VHN’s Player of the Game: Chandler Stephenson
With Jonathan Marchessault’s game missing, Chandler Stephenson has been the team’s most consistent scorer and had _three assists against the Blackhawks. He tied Marchessault for the team lead in scoring as well Wednesday night.