During the third period of the Vegas Golden Knight's 5-1 home loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, some fan threw a paper airplane on the ice. The referees did not notice it, and play went on at the other end of the ice. Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley saw the paper airplane and put it in his own net so it wouldn't disrupt play.
This was perhaps the most entertaining highlight of the night if you were a Golden Knights fan, as the number of paper airplanes in the Kings' net tied the total of pucks in it. In a crucial Pacific Division matchup, the Golden Knights were outbattled and lost to a neutral zone specialist Kings team.
Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy went as far as to call the game the most disappointing of the season.
"It was probably the most disappointing Game of the Year for us when I look at our competitiveness from top to bottom," said Cassidy.
The Golden Knights had their best chances early on with two hit posts, and a 2-on-0 with Reilly Smith and Jack Eichel. A mixture of puck luck, goaltending, and lack of execution resulted in the VGK going without a goal for the majority of the night.
"Once we got behind, I don't think we had to fight in the stick to get back in the game, the will, the compete, whatever adjective you want to use. You should when you're at home when you got this crowd behind you. It was a one-goal game. We've scored five goals in this building for four or five games in a row, so we know it's in there; it just didn't happen," said Cassidy.
The Kings' neutral zone play frustrated the Golden Knights all night, as they played a 1-3-1, meaning they had one forward pressure, three players clogging up the neutral zone, and another defenseman sitting back toward their goaltender anticipating dump-ins.
"We lost the neutral zone. We played right into their hands. They controlled the neutral zone. It wasn't like we were in our end the whole night, but we turned some pucks over in the neutral zone, and it fed right into their game plan. It's a frustrating, tough loss, but, you know, they outplayed us for sure," said defensemen Brayden McNabb.
The Golden Knights didn't play badly defensively, but their mistakes cost them as the Kings were opportunistic, and the VGK couldn't generate any offense of their own.
"I think we just played a little bit too much into their hands. They are a pretty defensive team, and they clog the neutral zone. We just didn't get much of a forecheck and put pucks and some bad places. I don't think we were on our own end all that much, we just turned the puck over a little bit too much and didn't get any sustained pressure against them, and that was why we put up 21 shots wherever it was," said captain Mark Stone.
Luckily for the Golden Knights, they have a sizy break from game action. Their next game will not be until Thursday when they play the Florida Panthers at home at 7:00 p.m. The VGK can use this time to rest, study, and get back in the swing of things.
"Obviously, this was one of our not-so-great performances of the season. But you're gonna have those rights. You just can't let them repeat themselves. The good team they have one stinker, and they get right back on the saddle and get it rolling," said Stone.
Most importantly, they can try and forget this game ever happened.
"Yeah, you gotta forget this one. We didn't have to do a whole lot offensively, and defensively we weren't great. So you know, we got to watch this. We've got some time here to rest and recover and get our game back in order," said McNabb