The Vegas Golden Knights trailed the Philadephia Flyers until eight minutes remaining in the third period and got a late goal from Shea Theodore to win the game with 32 seconds remaining.
The game within the game: Goals were not easy to come by for the Golden Knights. What was the strategic change that led to scoring chances? “We talked about our defense creating shooting lanes.” Coach Bruce Cassidy said post-game. “Shooting for sticks on the first layer. Sometimes it’s easier to block shots when it’s two feet in the air. You got shin pads, et cetera.”
First period: Ivan Barbashev got the Golden Knights on the board on a rebound from a Jack Eichel shot 6:54 into the period. Joel Farabee converted a two-on-one created due to Brayden McNabb pinching the blue line to tie the game 13:07 into the period. Cam Atkinson threw a harmless backhand shot on the net from the left circle. Logan Thompson misplayed the shot off the blocker and the Flyers carried a 2-1 lead into intermission.
The Golden Knights were able to create speed through and stretch passes through the neutral zone for the first half of the period. The Flyers found their legs as the period progressed and were able to slow things down.
Second period: The second period featured a lot of nothing. Which is exactly what the Flyers wanted. Just over halfway through the game, the Flyers outshot the Golden Knights 17-7.
The Golden Knights found their game with about eight minutes remaining. An aggressive forecheck was creating chances and the Golden Knights started to find speed through the neutral zone.
Turning point: About halfway through the game Flyers were outshooting the Golden Knights 17-7. By midway through the third period, the Golden Knights had the advantage in shots on goal. “We started the second period with our defense being more creative with their shooting lane. Sometimes you have to shoot it right away and sometimes you have to wait.” Cassidy on creating more shots.
Third period: Paul Cotter ignited the home crowd with an amazing individual effort. Cotter received a pass from the blue line and dangled the puck between his legs to get by the Flyers defenseman and between Hart over the blocker. “It’s a move that I’m comfortable with.” Cotter on the winning goal. “It’s something that I’ve done so many times. I know how to do it. Right time, right spot. I figured I’d pull it off”
Shea Theodore scored with 32 seconds remaining on a low wrist shot to give the Golden Knights the victory. “It’s good to get that one through and finish them off.” Theodore on the game-winning goal.
Key storyline: The Golden Knights have been great on the rush all season. The Flyers are good at slowing down teams through the neutral zone. There were large pockets of the game in which VGK could not generate rush chances off a breakout.
Concern: Nic Roy went down the tunnel in the third period and did not return. Cassidy did not have an update for his future status.
Next up: The Chicago Blackhawks come to Vegas Friday afternoon looking seeking revenge from last weekend’s loss.