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Golden Knights Gameday

Avalanche Return the Favor and Blank Golden Knights 3-0



Just when it seemed like the injury situation was improving, the Vegas Golden Knights dropped the post below 30 minutes before tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

If there is a positive in all of this, it is happening at the mid-point of the season. Time is on the Golden Knights’ side.

A game had to be played at the Golden Knights would be doing so with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen for the first time this season.

The Golden Knights looked like the better of the two teams for large portions of the first period. They were generating chances off the rush and sustaining time in the offensive zone. Jiri Patera stood tall on a number of high danger chances. Zach Whitecloud was called for a tripping penalty with 23 seconds remaining in the period and it took the Avalanche just nine seconds to get a powerplay goal. Nic Roy lost the ensuing faceoff and the Avalanche worked the puck from the perimeter to behind the net. Mikko Rantanen found Valeri Nichushkin in the bumper position who beat Jiri Patera.

How would the Golden Knights respond to start the second period?

The second period was not much different than the first period. The Avalanche had the better of the chances, but the Golden Knights were able to generate some chances. The commonality of the first and second periods were goals by Nichushkin on the power play. Nathan MacKinnon fired a one-timer from the left circle that grazed the outside of the net. Rantanen passed the puck to the front of the net where Nichushkin was waiting for it. Patera could not recover in time to make the save.

“Just the special teams game, we were on the wrong side of it. It kind of has been the theme lately.” Alex Pietrangelo on the loss.

The Golden Knights kept themselves in the game in five vs. five play, but they spotted the Avalanche two powerplay goals through two periods.

The deeper this game got, the more it seemed like the Golden Knights were outmatched. We have heard it before, no one in the locker room will make excuses for poor results, but the circumstances of tonight’s game made it difficult for the Golden Knights to win.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said the Golden Knights could not afford to take any shifts off against the Avalanche. Keegan Kolesar had a bad turnover and Nicolas Hague made a poor deflection that led to a goal by Logan O’Connor that put this game out of reach mid-way through the third period.

The final score was 3-0 in favor of the Avalanche.

There are two ways to look at this game. The Golden Knights did not let the game get out of reach and were a couple bounces away from a different outcome. Or a picture can be painted about a lost special teams battle and not enough scoring chances generated.

In any event, the season continues less than 24 hours later against the Boston Bruins. There are many questions about the Golden Knights lineup heading into Thursday’s game. Who will be in the net? Will there be another call up from the Henderson Silver Knights. Will the Golden Knights have to skate with 11 forwards and seven defensemen?

“We are not on top of our game.” Coach Cassidy on the loss. “It’s on me to fix it, that’s the plan right now.”

Scoring Summary

First Period
Nichushkin (PPG) from Rantanen and Drouin, 19:46

Second Period
Nichushkin (PPG) from Rantanen and MacKinnon, 11:44

Third Period
O’Connor from Jones, 9:20