The streak had to end sometime. Sunday was sometime. The Vegas Golden Knights fell 4-2 in Anaheim to the Ducks Sunday night to have their 12-game points streak snapped.
Alec Martinez missed Sunday’s game due to soreness after blocking a shot against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night. If Martinez is missing a game due to soreness from a blocked shot, it must hurt badly. Martinez may be the toughest defenseman in the league, at least when it comes to shot-blocking.
The game within the game: Anaheim entered Sunday’s game on a five-game winning streak. The Ducks trailed entering the third period in four of those games and found a way to win. The Golden Knights had a two-goal lead entering the third period and were playing their third game in four nights. It was possible that fatigue would play a factor for the Golden Knights the deeper the game got. It was likely the Ducks would find their legs the deeper the game got.
It was almost like you knew what was going to happen before the third period started.
First period: The Golden Knights have been a great rush team all season. Ivan Barbashev created a turnover in the defensive zone and passed the puck to Jack Eichel who fought off a defender. Eichel hit Barbashev with a great pass in the slot to open the game’s scoring.
The Golden Knights played a solid first period very similar to the game against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. The Ducks did not have a lot of high-danger chances the Golden Knights dictated the pace.
Second period: Second periods have been up and down for the Golden Knights all season. Eichel won a defensive zone faceoff with the teams playing four-on-four hockey. Eichel received a pass from the defensive blue line and was allowed to skate the puck to the right faceoff circle. The puck was behind John Gibson before he had time to react to Eichel’s shot.
The Golden Knights took a 2-0 lead to the third period and it seemed like everything was falling into place for the Golden Knights to win their fifth straight game.
Turning point: Eichel had a shorthanded breakaway to begin the third period and was unable to beat Gibson around his left pad. A three-goal deficit would have been a tall hill for the Ducks to climb
Third period: The Ducks converted on the power play less than one minute after Eichel’s missed breakaway attempt. Adam Henrique found the puck in the slot after Brett Howden blocked a shot and was able to beat Logan Thompson low. Eichel turned over the puck on a passing attempt and Sam Carrick found himself all alone in front of Thompson. Mason McTavish gave the Ducks the lead for good with just under four minutes remaining. Frank Vatrano sent a pass to the slot and McTavish was able to stuff it by Thompson. Carrick added an empty net goal with just over one minute remaining to ice this one.
Key storyline: On top of it being the Golden Knights fourth game in six nights, they had to attempt to beat a solid Ducks team without Martinez, Zach Whitecloud, Nicolas Hague, and Nicolas Roy. This was great effort by the Golden Knights who came up a bit short.
Quotable: “It’s our fourth in six days, they played their asses off.” Coach Bruce Cassidy after Sunday’s loss. “I think we gave up three chances (in the third period) and they ended up in the back of the net. That’s going to happen some nights.”
Next up: The Golden Knights take on the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday night.