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Vegas Golden Knights

Hill Allows Soft Goals, Golden Knights Lose to Tampa; Wild Get Closer



Vegas Golden Knights Game, Adin Hill

The Vegas Golden Knights were again tied or leading after two periods, but the season of inconsistency continued. Tied 2-2 with the Tampa Bay Lightning after the second period, the Golden Knight dominated the beginning of the third period, outshooting their opponent 7-1 in the first 10 minutes of the period.

However, the defending Stanley Cup champs suffered a few gaffes, affording Tampa Bay a few goals.

In the first part of the third period, Tampa’s only shot was a goal by Brayden Point. Tampa also scored on their fifth shot of the period when Point negated icing by winning the race to the Golden Knights zone and chipped an easy shot to the far post past Golden Knights goalie Adin Hill. Nikita Kucherov also scored the empty netter, his fourth point of the game, and Tampa Bay beat the VGK 5-3 at T-Mobile Arena.

The Golden Knights hit a couple of posts in the third period, which could have changed the game, but close only counts on the roulette corners.

“Overall, I thought we did a good job of getting back in the game, especially in the second period. I thought we did a good job — they did, too — of checking and eliminating opportunities,” Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez said. “We had a few lapses that we can’t afford to have, and they capitalized.”

Otherwise, the game looked like a titan battle between teams that have won three of the last four Stanley Cups. Even as Tampa Bay scored four, the Golden Knights held them to only 19 shots until Kucherov put an end to the competitive part of the contest.

Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy challenged Kucherov’s empty netter for a missed stoppage; Kucherov may have high-sticked the puck to settle it, but no conclusive view existed.

Hill stopped only 16 of 21 shots. He was shaky all night. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy got some help from the iron and made 24 saves on 27 shots.

The Golden Knights had the benefit of an early lead. Just 1:14 into the game, Jonathan Marchessault (38) converted a beautiful three-on-one with Shea Theodore and Jack Eichel.

However, the Golden Knight

“This is how it should look. Let’s clean up a few areas, but when we review this game, there’s going to be a lot of positives,” Bruce Cassidy said. “We played a pretty good game from start to finish. We just didn’t win.”

The Golden Knights squandered an opportunity to add to their lead seven minutes into the game when they allowed Anthony Cirelli’s shorthanded goal.

The teams traded goals in the tight contest. Tampa Bay forechecks well and neither team afforded the other much space. A few minutes after Cirelli’s shortie, newly acquired Anthony Duclair netted the go-ahead goal.

The Golden Knights needed most of the second period to find the tying goal. Despite heavy pressure, the Golden Knights tied the game when Brett Howden took advantage of careless pinches by Tampa Bay defensemen and kept the puck on the resulting two-on-one. Howden (6) snapped a low wrister past Vasilevskiy.

Point scored a pair of third period goals (37, 38) to give Tampa Bay a pair of leads. Kucherov (41) added the empty netter.

“It’s a tough this time of year,” Hutton said. “We’ve just got to keep grinding. Bounce back.”

Ben Hutton (2) picked a good time for his second goal of the season. As the Golden Knight pushed to tie the game a three, Hutton filled the slot during a wild scramble near the net and zipped a wrister through traffic and into the net.

The Vegas Golden Knights’ regulation loss was compounded by the Minnesota Wild’s 4-0 shutout win over the Anaheim Ducks. Minnesota and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s late-season charge has put them just three points behind the Golden Knights with one more game played.

The LA Kings lept ahead of the Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Division.

The Golden Knights have little time to lick their wounds; they host the Seattle Kraken Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena, and they’ve got the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.