In a huge four-point Pacific Division matchup, the Vegas Golden Knights (27-18-2, 56 points) struggled to score and lost to the Los Angeles Kings (23-14-6, 52 points) 5-1. Both Jonathan Marchessault and Alec Martinez returned from injury in the team's first game of the second half of the season.
Scoring was absent, Logan Thompson was pulled, Kings fans were louder at T-Mobile Arena than Golden Knights fans, and the city of Las Vegas had its second embarrassing sports loss of the day. After one of their best game of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the VGK followed it up with one of their worst performances of the entire season.
Here's how it went down.
- As expected, both Alec Martinez and Jonathan Marchessault returned from injury for the Golden Knights. Logan Thompson started.
- The Golden Knights had several Grade-A chances in the first period, but puck luck limited their scoring.
- Keegan Kolesar set the tempo with a big hit on Adrian Kempe to start the game on the fourth line alongside Nicolas Roy and Will Carrier.
- Reilly Smith forced a big turnover, and went in on a 2-on-0 with Jack Eichel, but was broken up by the King's defense.
- VGK PP- Sean Walker took a tripping penalty to prevent a surefire goal from Jack Eichel and Reilly Smith.
- William Karlsson received a pass, danced to the net, and hit the inside of the post on a shot.
- The first post-whistle scrum of the game came after Chandler Stephenson shoved Alex Edler to the ice.
- LAK PP- Jack Eichel was caught shoving Phillip Danault to the ice, and was called for tripping.
- Quinton Byfield made two separate drives to the net but was stopped by Logan Thompson on both attempts.
- Jonathan Marchessault fired a rocket wrist shot and hit the top right post behind Pheonix Copley.
- Midway through the first period, Michael Amadio and Paul Cotter switched places in the VGK lineup. Cotter was moved alongside Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson, and Michael Amadio was moved to the line with William Karlsson and Phil Kessel.
- 1-0 LAK GOAL- Kevin Fiala threw a puck on the net, and with traffic in front of Logan Thompson, the puck went in.
- It was nitty-gritty hockey to start the second, with both teams being forced to the outside and not a lot of offense happening.
- Paul Cotter collided with Anze Kopitar and went to the locker room for aid. He returned just one shift later.
- VGK PP- Jonathan Marchessault drew a penalty off the rush. Sean Walker took a hooking penalty.
- 2-0 LAK GOAL- Rasmus Kupari won a battle shorthanded and got a shot on Logan Thompson. He kicked out a rebound to Matt Roy, who scored.
- Bruce Cassidy once again swapped Michael Amadio and Paul Cotter, this time going back to the original line combinations.
- It seemed as if the game started to get out of reach for the Golden Knights after the Roy goal; they needed a spark.
- 3-0 LAK GOAL- A spark was not given, as Kevin Fiala scored his second goal of the game, and the VGK dug themselves a deeper hole.
- Unlike the first period, the Golden Knights lacked quality scoring opportunities and were down in shots 19-13 after two and 11-4 Kings in the second.
- Adin Hill replaced Logan Thompson in goal for the Golden Knights.
- Brayden McNabb had one of his patented big hits on Alex Iafallo.
- A paper airplane was flown onto the ice, and Pheonix Copley put it in his own net for safekeeping.
- 4-0 LAK GOAL- Viktor Arvidsson followed up on a rebound from Sean Walker and scored on Adin Hill.
- Brendan Lemieux attempted to throw a big hit on Keegan Kolesar, but injured himself in the process.
- The Golden Knight's third line jammed away at the Kings' net halfway through the third for the first good chance in a long time.
- VGK PP- Chandler Stephenson was drug down on his way to the net, and Alex Edler was called for tripping.
- Adin Hill went to the bench with over three minutes remaining in the third period.
- 4-1 VGK GOAL- Jonathan Marchessault was able to fire a quick shot past Pheonix Copley on the powerplay.
- 5-1 LAK GOAL- The Kings sealed the deal with Kevin Fiala finishing off his hat-trick with an empty-net goal.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS NOTES
- The Golden Knights continue to struggle to have a complete 60-minute game, with their second period easily being their worst. Both head coach Bruce Cassidy and forward Nicolas Roy mentioned a consistent 60-minute game as their focus for the second half of the season. So far, more work is needed.
- Paul Cotter was shuffled all throughout the Golden Knights lineup Saturday night, playing on three different lines as head coach Bruce Cassidy tried to find a spark with his line combinations. He was perhaps the most energetic player on the ice for the VGK.
- The biggest need for the Golden Knights in this game was some sort of spark. A big hit, a goal, a save, or a fight was needed, and there was none.
- In the first period, the Golden Knights had tons of chances and hit two posts. Puck luck was not there, and it seemed as if the team gave up in the second period knowing how hard it would be to score.
VHN's Player of the Game: Paul Cotter
There was a reason Cotter bounced up and down the lineup; he was the Golden Knight who was providing the most energy all night.
Up Next: The Golden Knights will have a nice little break until their next game on Thursday against the Florida Panthers at 7:00 p.m. But before then, the VGK will host Fan Fest tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on Freemont Street.