It was a strange game, to say the least, but the Vegas Golden Knights found a way to escape Montreal with two points. The Golden Knights defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 in Montreal Thursday night.
The game within the game: Snake bitten. Puck luck. The puck had eyes for the net. However you want to spell it out, nothing went right for the Golden Knights Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. Could the Golden Knights get back on track?
First period: The shots were 16-5 in favor of the Golden Knights. Seven of the shots could have gone in. Unfortunately, the Montreal Canadiens took a two-goal lead into the locker room. William Karlsson was stoned multiple times by goaltender Cayden Primeau.
Alex Newhook and Johnathan Kovacevic were the goal scorers for the Canadiens. Both goals were similar; shots from the right faceoff circle that beat Adin Hill’s blocker.
Second period: The second period was not the type of period that a coach would necessarily like. A total of six goals were scored. High-event hockey at its finest. Brett Howden scored the period’s first goal with the Golden Knights shorthanded, a goal that would open the floodgates for both teams. Jesse Ylonen scored after Jack Eichel lost a faceoff in the offensive zone. Alec Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo pinched the blue line, but both failed to secure the puck and Ylonen converted on the breakaway.
Just when it seemed like this game would be out of reach for the Golden Knights, Brayden McNabb scored his first goal of the year less than 20 seconds after the Ylonen goal for Montreal. Jonathan Marchessault converted a two-on-one opportunity from Ivan Barbashev to tie the game at three.
The scoring would not end there. Ylonen scored from the right circle to beat Hill’s blocker side, which was the same place Montreal scored their first two goals. Shea Theodore tied the game at four during the Golden Knight’s power play.
Third period: From a high-event period to a low-event period. The Golden Knights got back to their game.
The Golden Knights received a four-minute power play after Pavel Dorofeyev took a high stick that left the training staff picking up teeth off the ice. Jack Eichel and Mark Stone converted on the extended powerplay to give the Golden Knights a late 6-4 lead.
Game over, the Golden Knights win!
Not so fast, Justin Barron scored with a minute remaining to make it a 6-5 game. Hill had one more save in him to give the Golden Knights an important two points and confidence heading to Saturday’s game.
Turning point: That second period. What else is there to say? It was nice to see the Golden Knights hang four on the Canadiens in a period the game after being shut out.
Key storyline: A track meet style of play fits right into the Canadiens’ type of game. The Golden Knights were fortunate to beat the Canadiens in the second period which featured six goals.
More importantly, the Golden Knights got back to their game and kept the third period at a slower pace.
Quotable: “It’s good to get two points, kind of a weird game. We played well.” Eichel after the victory. “Good resiliency by our group, we found a way to win. After not getting anything in Washington, it was nice to get some goals.”
“Our offense again. Six was kind of light when you look at our game tonight.” Stone on what he liked about the win. “We have a resilient group. We know what it takes to win. We are going to have to win games in different ways.”
“It wasn’t the prettiest game but we found a way to win.” Jonathan Marchessault on the victory.
“I thought we did a ton of things well today, we also mismanaged some pucks.” Bruce Cassidy on the victory. “There were some crazy bounces. I said that earlier, everything is faster here.”
Next up: The Golden Knights continue the road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.