Las Vegas – The Vegas Golden Knights needed a game exactly like this. A complete 60-minute effort that included key responses and putting away their opponent.
The game within the game: Everybody loves a day off from work. Coach Bruce Cassidy did not give the Golden Knights a day off after their victory in Los Angeles. All signs pointed to a day of rest on Monday. Cassidy made the team practice Monday and Tuesday.
“Bruce is a big believer at getting out there and practicing stuff.” Jonathan Marchessault on the team’s work ethic. We were winning some hockey games but not playing our best.”
First period: The first 10 minutes was a whole lot of nothing. The teams combined for just three shots on goal. William Karlsson got the Golden Knights on the board at 10:45. Ben Hutton started the rush and found Paul Cotter streaking down across the blue line. Cotter hit Karlsson who was all alone in front of Connor Hellebuyck.
All four forward lines had impactful moments and the defense made things easy on Logan Thompson.
Beyond the Golden Knight’s goal, there was not much excitement in the first period. That may have been by design by coach Bruce Cassidy. The Golden Knights kept things simple and played close to a mistake-free period of hockey.
Second period: The Jets had a solid start and had the Golden Knights scrambling. Kyle Connor beat Logan Thompson with a nice backhand.
The Golden Knights have had trouble holding leads but had a great response.
Alec Martinez took a high stick which gave the Golden Knights a four-minute power play. Jonathan Marchessault scored after Thompson made a nice stretch pass to Mark Stone. Ivan Barbashev converted off a rebound from Alex Pietrangelo’s shot. Karlsson got the secondary assist and his second point of the game.
The response after the Jets scored was key.
The Golden Knights led 3-1 after the second period.
Turning point: The Golden Knights have had a hard time putting their opponents away in games. Scoring twice on the double minor was the beginning of the end for the Jets.
Third period: The Jets had a solid start to the second period and matched it in the third with Marchessault in the box. Connor threw a puck toward the net that deflected off Alex Iafallo to make it a 3-2 game. Just like in the second period, the Golden Knights had a quick response. Marchessault found a loose puck and beat Hellebuyck from the slot for his second goal of the game. Marchessault completed the hat trick with the Jets’ net empty for a 5-2 victory.
Key storyline: The Golden Knights had a quick response to the Jets’ first two goals. As mentioned earlier, the Golden Knights had trouble putting opponents away in games. Not tonight.
Quotable: “You’re not going to go the whole season without getting scored on.” Alex Pietrangelo on the team’s response. “We responded really well, we scored quickly on the power play. That’s maturity and experience in your game when things go the wrong way we have the ability to flip the switch.”
Next up: The Golden Knights take on the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.