The Golden Knights scored three times in the last 20 minutes, to give them a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Monday.
The Knights struggled offensively, and were still sloppy with the puck through the first half of the game. Their lack of puck control led to a shorthanded Arizona goal, giving the Coyotes the lead during a Vegas power play. Tyler Pitlick managed to move down the ice and snap a shot past goaltender Robin Lehner with eight minutes left in the first. Despite a rocky start, Lehner saved 30 shots total.
After a second period Coyotes goal, the Golden Knights finally started to come alive late in the second period, when Max Pacioretty scored his third goal of the season, cutting the deficit to 2-1. He managed to take his own rebound from behind the goal line to shoot off the Coyotes’ goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Reilly Smith earned the Star of the Knight title after scoring twice; an early goal in the third period to tie the game, and an empty netter to seal it at the end with 12 seconds left.
Chandler Stephenson scored the go-ahead goal, after deflecting a shot from Defenseman Zach Whitecloud off of his back.
“That’s one of the qualities that this team has,” Stephenson said. “This team always seems to bounce back and obviously, ideally, it would be nice to be able to do that for a full 60 minutes but it’s still early and still working some kinks out to hopefully get there.”
The Knights have not allowed a goal in the third period all season. They scored three times in the third for their win over Anaheim in the opener, and continued to score late in the second game for an overtime win.
Despite the late game successes, Head Coach Pete DeBoer knows there are still several areas that the team needs to work early in this season, from being able to maintain control over the puck to keeping strong offensive plays during power plays.
“I’m sure part of it is preparation and part of it is that we got a veteran team that has a lot of confidence in their ability to win games,” Coach DeBoer stated. “This is a hard league to win in and you’re not going to be at your best every night and I thought that was the case tonight. We were playing just well enough to hang around, but not well enough to win.”
The second game of the series against Arizona will be Wednesday, January 20th at the T-Mobile Arena. The game begins at 7 pm with no fans allowed to attend.