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VGK Postgame: Golden Knights Overlooked Coyotes, 3rd Period Collapse Brings Anger



Vegas Golden Knights game, Logan Thompson

The Vegas Golden Knights led 4-1 at the beginning of the third period against the lowly Arizona Coyotes. It should have been game over, and the Golden Knights thought the game was already over. They overlooked Arizona, who shocked them with six unanswered goals for a 7-4 Arizona win at the tiny Mullet Arena.

The defensively oriented Golden Knights allowed six goals in a third period to a team like Arizona, and it did not sit well with coach Bruce Cassidy.

“You can’t expect to play maybe 30 minutes in this league and expect to beat anybody, but we did. And that’s what happened,” Cassidy said.

The loss likely ends the Golden Knights’ pursuit of the Edmonton Oilers for second place and home-ice advantage in Round One. Friday night, the Oilers dispatched the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 and are now five points ahead of the Golden Knights.

Instead, the Golden Knights need to look behind them. The LA Kings are just one point behind third place. Falling to the wild-card position would mean the Golden Knights begin their championship defense against one of the division winners, Colorado or the Vancouver Canucks.

After a scoreless first period, the Golden Knights exploded for four goals in the second.

Just 1:12 after Arizona took a 1 -0 lead, the VGK cycled the puck across the high zone, leading to Brayden McNabb’s wrist shot. Jack Eichel (27) buried the rebound at 7:39 of the second.

Less than four minutes later, William Karlsson also scored his 27th goal of the season, assisted by Brendan Brisson and Shea Theodore. Karlsson then earned the primary assist on Anthony Mantha’s goal (23) at 14:37. Manthan has nine points and three goals in 14 games with the Golden Knights.

Chandler Stephenson closed the second-period onslaught with the fourth—and final—goal of the Golden Knights’ evening. Stephenson (16) stole the puck at center ice and blew past defenders for a breakaway goal.

However, the Golden Knights forgot about the third period and allowed five goals in a span of 7:29. Ouch.

Josh Doan scored his third career goal at 8:19. Nick Bjusgstad followed with a goal 57 seconds later. Cassidy called a timeout, but it was of no help. Michael Carcone (20) tied the game just 10 seconds later.

That’s three goals in 1:07.

“We’ve got to find a way not to collapse like we have because it’s only going to be more intense in the playoffs … Once we get there,” Karlsson admitted.

The Golden Knights had already mentally packed the bus. Five minutes later, Carcone (21) scored the game-winner, followed by Josh Brown’s slapshot just over a minute later. It was 6-4, seemingly in the blink of an eye. Logan Cooley (18) closed the scoring for the seventh and final tally.

Cassidy wasn’t a happy camper following the game.

“We’re not in the playoffs. This isn’t a game we can say, ‘Oh, well, it’s out the window. We’re looking forward to our (playoff) opponent.'”

Logan Thompson remained in the net for the Golden Knights. Thompson stopped 25 of 31 shots. Karel Vejmelka faced only 24 Golden Knights shots and stopped 20.

The Golden Knights visit the Vancouver Canucks Monday night in a potential playoff preview.