It was bound to happen sometime, that is, the Vegas Golden Knights losing a game. After a nine-game winning streak, the Golden Knights (13-3-0, 26 points) lost 3-2 Saturday night to the St. Louis Blues (5-8-0, 10 points). The record of ten-straight games in April of 2021 still stands as the VGK record.
It was an overall back-and-forth game, with the VGK getting away from some of the systems that make them so successful in the past nine games. They played a pretty spotty defensive game against the NHL’s lowest-scoring team.
Paul Cotter remained in the lineup for the Golden Knights in favor of Michael Amadio. Adin Hill got the start and stopped 25 of 28 shots.
The Blues opened up the scoring with Brandon Saad scoring with a snipe in the slot. Hill was in position, and defenseman Shea Theodore was on him; it was simply a great shot from the Pittsburgh native.
The Golden Knights had their own slew of offensive chances in the first. Jack Eichel and company continued to be confident with the puck and generate shots, and so did the Misfits.
But the VGK’s first goal of the game came a man down. Brett Howden was in the box for a crosscheck. Chandler Stephenson used his speed to earn a breakaway that was stopped by Jordan Binnington. But Stephenson collected his own rebound and found Reilly Smith all alone, who scored.
This is Smith’s third shorthanded goal of the season. There is only one team in the NHL with more shorthanded goals than smith, the Chicago Blackhawks. He now has eight goals on the season, and only one of them has come at five-on-five.
With goals in back-to-back games, Phil Kessel scored in the second period. William Karlsson found him cutting through the neutral zone, and he scored off his patented wrist shot. Paul Cotter collected an assist on the play and now has three points in two games back in the lineup.
At the other end of the ice, Hill was having an impressive second period until he wasn’t. He made a big side-to-side save on Nikita Alexandrov and was big in the team’s second penalty kill of the night.
But he started to implode in the second half of the period with a brutal turnover behind his net that led to an Ivan Barbashev goal. A few shifts later, Ryan O’Reilly beat him in the slot to make things 3-2.
Both teams’ defensive games got away from them late in the second as firewagon hockey started up. The Golden Knights were outshot in the second period, 19-9, and arguably played one of their worst periods of the season.
They started the third period off on bad ground too, having to kill two back-to-back penalties to Stephenson and Zach Whitecloud. But the VGK killed both and had a myriad of chances that simply wouldn’t go in. Brayden McNabb and Jonathan Marchessault both had grade-A chances stopped.
Hill was pulled with less than two minutes left but the VGK ran out of time and lost the game 3-2.
VHN’s Player of the Game: Paul Cotter
For what it’s worth, I thought Paul Cotter had another strong game with the VGK in their losing effort.
Up Next: Now looking to get back in the win column, the Golden Knights will continue their current three-game homestand Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks at 7 p.m.