What a difference a couple of months makes. The Vegas Golden Knights took the ice against the Nashville Predators without the services of Jack Eichel, Shea Theodore, William Karlsson, William Carrier, and Adin Hill. The next few weeks will be a grind and this afternoon’s game was a prime example.
The Golden Knights went nearly 15 minutes before logging their first shot of the game. Mark Stone scored on the Golden Knights’ fourth shot of the game. The top line had a moment of sustained pressure. Pavel Dorofeyev took a low shot from the left circle that rebounded to Stone. Stone got the rebound past Juuse Saros.
The Predators had a fair amount of high-danger chances and Logan Thompson was able to turn all of the shots away.
It was not a pretty period, and there are going to be many periods like this as long as multiple players are out. But the Golden Knights got out of the period with a lead. That is all you can ask for right now.
The second period was the opposite of the first period. The Golden Knights found speed through the neutral zone and scored off the rush.
Stone found himself all alone cutting to the net. Chandler Stephenson hit Stone in stride and Stone got his second goal of the game. The Predators made it a one-goal game with Luke Evangelista scoring from the point on a shot that Thompson never saw.
Stone gave the fans what they wanted to see. Stephenson found Stone on the top of the right circle and Stone logged his first hat trick since game five of the Stanley Cup Final.
The 3-1 lead was very encouraging. What was more encouraging is the Golden Knights found their game during the second period. Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames did not have much pace to it. It was nice to see pace return to the Golden Knights’s game.
The Golden Knights played the necessary defensive game to secure a much-needed two points. Thompson did not allow a third-period goal and Jonathan Marchessault scored an empty net goal with 19 seconds remaining.
The theme of the post-game interviews was the team becoming the best version of themselves with many star players out.
“You got to have that no-excuses mentality. Everybody has to play a little bit better version of their game.” Stone on winning without the stars. “Everybody has to chip in and play as better versions of themselves.”
Brendan Brisson made his NHL debut. “It was a great feeling to go out there for that little lap and get that first shift out of the way. Brisson on the debut. “The whole environment and experience was great and it’s nice to get the first one out of the way.
You need to be good for longer stretches than we are now. At the start of the year, we got away with playing 30, 35 minutes, maybe 40 minutes at best.” Coach Bruce Cassidy on the effort needed to win games now versus early in the season.
Stone from Dorofeyev and Hague, 15:25
Stone from Stephenson and Dorofeyev, 1:11
Evangelista from Carrier and Josi
Stone from Stephenson
Marchessault from Pietrangelo and Roy, 19:41