The Vegas Golden Knights had a convincing victory over the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night. The Golden Knights never trailed and won the final game of the month 4-1.
The game within the game: “Now we got to put two and two together and get both the offense and defense going together.” Stone after Tuesday’s shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers. The Golden Knights have had decent defense and goaltending for most of the month but the scoring lacked. Could the Golden Knights achieve what Stone was hoping for after Tuesday’s game?
First period: Ivan Barbashev started the scoring for the Golden Knights just under five minutes into the game. Stone, Eichel, and Barbashev had sustained pressure on Thatcher Demko. Barbashev was able to backhand a loose puck to get the Golden Knights on the board. Eichel got the top line’s second goal of the night with just under four minutes remaining off a dime of a pass from Barbashev across the top of the crease.
Turning point: Eichel was all smiles after giving the Golden Knights a two-goal lead. A confident Eichel is a good thing for the top line.
Second period: William Karlsson scored the period’s only goal on the power play. Karlsson took a pass from Eichel to the right faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot that beat Demko.
Third period: Everything was going well for the Golden Knights, however, Logan Thompson came in to relieve Adin Hill for “precautionary reasons” per the Golden Knights broadcast. This will be something to monitor. “The trainers recommended to use precaution.” Coach Bruce Cassidy on the decision to bring Logan Thompson into the game to replace Adin Hill.
The Golden Knights wasted no time getting Thompson a goal. Brett Howden won an offensive zone faceoff and did what you are supposed to do; rushed the net. Alex Pietrangelo fired a puck to the net that deflected off Howden to give the Golden Knights a 4-0 lead just 14 seconds into the period. The Vancouver Canucks got on the board due to poor puck management on the redline. Pietrangelo, Paul Cotter, and Keegan Kolesar collapsed on the puck leading to a two-on-one for the Canucks that Andrei Kuzmenko converted.
Key storyline: Tuesday’s game was a measuring stick game for the Edmonton Oilers. Tonight’s game against the Canucks was a spotlight game per coach Rick Tocchet. The Golden Knights might have been tired of teams using the Golden Knights to see how good they are. The Canucks are a very good team. The Golden Knights reminded the Canucks that they are the better team.
Quotable: “To finish that way is a good feeling for us.” Alex Pietrangelo after the win. “We generated a lot because we defended well.
“I was ready for a little bit of time, that’s kind of how they defend.” Karlsson on what led to his powerplay goal.
“Trying to balance what we accomplished last year versus being in the moment and getting to our game.” Coach Bruce Cassidy on the victory. “We made an effort to get more pucks to the net. We are not shooting just to shoot, we are shooting when people are there.”
Next up: The Golden Knights take on the Washington Capitals in Vegas on Saturday night.