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Golden Knights Battle Against Defending Stanley Cup Champs, But Lose 3-2



Mark Stone Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights Twitter)
Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights Twitter)

The Vegas Golden Knights (4-2-0, eight points) suffered their first home loss of the season Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche (3-2-1, seven points) by a score of 3-2.

They battled hard against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, especially in the third period, but were unable to match their skill and puck possession attributes.

Outside of starting Logan Thompson, the Golden Knights made no lineup changes.

The fourth line of William Carrier, Nicolas Roy, and Keegan Kolesar started once again for the Golden Knights. Carrier had the Golden Knight’s first chance of the game with a solid break to the net as he used his speed and size for another one of his patented drives before Alexander Georgiev stopped the puck.

Then, for the majority of the first period, the Avalanche took control of the game with their puck possession. Star players Nathan Mackinnon and Cale Makar led the Avs’ offensive charge. This would be the theme all night, as the Avs were simply the better team, despite playing three games in four nights.

Their lethal powerplay got an early chance, with Shea Theodore going to the box for a trip. Mackinnon and the Avalanche made no mistake on the PP and made things 1-0.

For the remainder of the period, the VGK struggled to take the puck from the Avalanche and get out of their own zone. The Golden Knight’s second and third shots on goal came roughly 16 minutes apart.

But the game changed pace, with the Golden Knights getting a powerplay of their own late in the first. Mikko Rantanen went off for a slash, and Jonathan Marchessault scored after Mark Stone used his takeaway skills to set Marchessault for Stone’s 300th career assist.

The Golden Knights were unable to build any momentum off of their late first-period powerplay goal. In fact, the next goal of the game would come off the Avalanche’s powerplay with Evan Rodrigues scoring.

The Avalanche then went back to their puck-possession dominance ways and controlled most of the second period. They had 25 shots on goal when the night was done. The Golden Knights were forced to make 27 blocked shots, just six off from their team record.

They boxed out well and forced the Avalanche to work for their goals. And work they did.

Valeri Nichuskin scored a tremendous goal in the third period to make things 3-1. He went end-to-end and danced around the Golden Knight’s defense before scoring top-shelf on Thompson.

To give his team a spark, Golden Knights head Cassidy shuffled up his lines by reforming the Misfit Line and moving Jack Eichel to play with Stone and Stephenson.

Just as it looked like all things were done for the Golden Knights, the makeshift line of Eichel, Stephenson, and Stone got the team within one. Eichel found Stephenson in the slot for the goal.

That late-comeback same song and dance were played by Cassidy. Timeout, empty net, best players on the ice, etc. But time ran out for the Golden Knights, who lost the game 3-2.

They have now lost to only the Avalanche and Calgary Flames this season, two top-caliber Western Conference NHL teams who they will likely have to face in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

VHN’s Player of the Game: Mark Stone

He played hard all night and looked like one of the few Golden Knights players who battled at 100% every shift. A 300th career assist also gets him here.

Up Next: The Golden Knights will finish up their three-game homestand with a Monday night game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 pm.