Most of the tape needed to be burned after the Vegas Golden Knights fell 6-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Here is a look at the pluses and minuses of the game. Spoiler alert; there are many more minuses than pluses.
– Second Period
The Hurricanes drove a bus right through the heart of the Golden Knights during the second period. The Golden Knights were passengers on many of the goals as they were caught flatfooted and blew coverages. The wheels came completely off.
– Logan Thompson Allowed Six Goals
Thompson was not particularly bad on the night, but it is hard to spin a positive after a goalie allows six goals and gets pulled early. Thankfully, Thompson did not leave Tuesday’s game due to injury after being in obvious discomfort during Sunday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
+ Hard Work by William Carrier
Carrier was rewarded for hard work on the first Golden Knights goal of the game. After winning a puck battle in the corner, Carrier made a pass to Brett Howden who found Brayden McNabb in the top of the slot, McNabb shot, and Carrier got a loose puck behind Pyotr Kochetkov. Carrier added a late garbage goal as the game was nearing completion.
– Sloppy Start to the Third Period
Golden Knights fans expected a better start from the team at the top of the Pacific Division entering the third period. Not a Nic Roy penalty just four seconds in and a powerplay goal allowed 10 seconds in. When it rains it pours.
– Top Line Combines for Four Shots
Ivan Barbashev, Jack Eichel, and Mark Stone combined for four shots in Tuesday’s game. Eichel had all four of the shots including a goal.
+ Jiri Patera Got Work
Not for the reasons one would have hoped, but it was nice to see Patera get some game action and keep the Hurricanes off the board. It remains to be seen if he will get a start in place of Thompson during the road trip.
– Managing of Goaltenders
It is fair to question if Adin Hill came back too soon. Coach Cassidy said, “We will never know” if Hill came back too early after Sunday’s victory against the Senators. The concern is the fatigue level of Thompson and the fact that he looked to be battling a potential injury Sunday. A fair argument could be made that Patera should have started Tuesday’s game instead of Thompson.
– Line Shuffling
Keegan Kolesar was unavailable for Tuesday’s game. Coach Bruce Cassidy had two options; replace Kolesar with Jonas Rondbjerg and leave the other three lines intact. The other option was to shuffle the bottom-three forward lines. Nic Roy moved to the wing with William Karlsson. Pavel Dorofeyev played on the second line with Chandler Stephenson and Jonathan Marchessault. Mike Amadio and Brett Howden moved down to the fourth line.
Alec Martinez played on the right side with Brayden McNabb Sunday against the Ottawa Senators. Martinez was moved back to his common place on the left side with Alex Pietrangelo on Tuesday against the Hurricanes. The 36-year-old was a plus-1 against the Senators and a minus-1 against the Hurricanes.
Perhaps coach Cassidy over-thought things a bit. The old adage of “Don’t mess with a winning lineup,” has relevance here.
+ There is Another Game Soon
The best part about hockey is the long, 82 game season. While it was hard watching the Golden Knights struggle, it is going to happen to every team multiple times throughout the season. “Games like that happen.” Jonathan Marchessault after Tuesday’s loss. “It’s not about X’s and O’s tonight. It’s all about how we respond next game.”