The Vegas Golden Knights salvaged a decent road trip by defeating the Dallas Stars 2-1 in overtime Wednesday night in Dallas.
The game within the game: Much has been made about the Golden Knights having careless puck management during the road trip. Could the Golden Knights simplify their game enough to create better puck management?
First period: The pace was slow early on and neither team was generating a lot of chances. Jamie Benn had the best chance of the period for the Stars off a turnover by Alex Pietrangelo. Adin Hill made a nice glove save to keep the game scoreless. Michael Amadio scored a powerplay goal off a beautiful backhand pass from Nic Roy.
The first period did not feature a lot of physical play until under two minutes remaining. Mason Marchment and Nic Hague came together to chase the puck. Prior to arriving at the puck, Marchment appeared to hit Hague in the head with his shoulder. No penalty was called on the play. Hague was displeased with Marchment and cross-checked him in the back, which sent the Golden Knights to the penalty kill.
The Golden Knights killed the first 40 seconds of the Stars’ power play and the second period will start with 1:20 remaining on the powerplay.
Second period: The second period has been interesting on the road trip. Although this second period featured only one goal, there could have easily been four or more goals. Alex Pietrangelo had a prime chance at a nearly empty net that was broken up. Zach Whitecloud made a great play to break up a Stars’ scoring chance in the last five minutes of the period. The Golden Knights had multiple odd-man rushes.
The Stars scored the period’s only goal off a bad line change by the Golden Knights and blown coverage by Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore. The Stars started a breakout as Mark Stone and Jonathan Marchessault left the ice for a line change. McNabb and Theodore did not pick up the line change and Roope Hintz found a soft spot in the ice. Hintz beat Adin Hill low to tie the game.
Third period: Similar to the second period, both teams had a number of high-danger chances. Jake Oettinger and Hill came up big to earn each team a point.
Overtime: Jason Robertson had the first two chances of the overtime and Hill made a big glove save on a point blank shot from Robertson. Jack Eichel had the first possession for the Golden Knights in overtime and ended the game. Eichel carried the puck and fanned on a shot. Oettinger was froze and Eichel went backhand-forehand to give the Golden Knights the extra point.
Turning point: The game really opened up after the Stars tied the game at the end of the first period. It is hard to say a three-goal game was a track meet, but it had that vibe. Both teams were taking chances and which led to defensive breakdowns and odd-man rushes.
Key storyline: The Golden Knights had one defensive breakdown and the Stars made them pay. Outside of the Hintz goal, the Golden Knights played a very clean game. As mentioned above, puck management has been a concern during the road trip. Wednesday’s game against the Stars was probably the cleanest game of the road trip for the Golden Knights.
Quotable: “You know, the old 500 on the road. We expect to be a lot more than 500 on the road. We’re a good hockey club. But for this trip, that’s how it ends.” Coach Bruce Cassidy on ending the road trip with five points.
“Great players make big plays and big times. Jack has been unreal for us.” Hill on Eichel’s game winning goal.
“I fanned twice on it, but I’ll take it.” Eichel on his game winning goal.
Next up: The Golden Knights travel home for a Saturday matchup against the Arizona Coyotes.