That streak came to an end Saturday night. After allowing two goals to the Minnesota Wild in the third period, the Vegas Golden Knights dropped their third straight game.
“We were right there with a chance to win the game,” Golden Knights captain Mark Stone said. “We gave up two goals [in the period]. We need to find a way to score more goals.”
Tomas Nosek netted the only goal for the VGK in the contest, coming early in the first period. Nosek recorded his ninth point in eight games (3 goals, 6 assists). The goal came off a busted play where the puck went off the skate of Nic Roy, past two defenders, and onto Nosek’s stick. Nosek made no mistake putting the puck past Cam Talbot.
“I guess we got lucky there,” Roy said to Stormy Buonantony during intermission. “I thought [that play] was offside.”
Shea Theodore and Keegan Kolesar had prime scoring chances in the first period, but were unable to extend Vegas’ lead. The Golden Knights carried their 1-0 lead into the third period. The Wild generated a few quality chances, but Marc-Andre Fleury kept them off the board.
Up until tonight, the Golden Knights had not lost a game in regulation when leading after the first period. In the third period tonight, Minnesota lit the lamp twice in 65 seconds with goals from Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek to take a 2-1 lead. The Golden Knights desperately looked for an answer, but were unable to generate any significant pressure. With 4:22 left in regulation, Nosek took a slashing penalty. This penalty effectively killed any momentum the Golden Knights had built. They managed to kill off the penalty and pulled Fleury shortly after. With the net empty, the Golden Knights failed to get any quality attempts on net.
Despite the loss, Marc-Andre Fleury played a fantastic game. Through the first two periods, he made stellar save after stellar save and kept the Golden Knights in the lead. The Golden Knights did a good job of clearing the front of the net and not allowing chances in tight through the first 40. In the final frame, they failed to do this. Kaprizov’s goal came from just off the side of the goal, and Eriksson Ek’s goal came from in tight as well. This has been an issue for the VGK against the Wild, and tonight it came back to haunt them.
“That's part of their identity,” DeBoer said. “They have some grinders there. They put pucks and bodies to the net, and it makes it tough on you.”
This was the last major homestand the Vegas Golden Knights had on the season. In the four games they played, they have lost three of them (two in regulation). Not an ideal statline for a team that boasts one of the best home records in the National Hockey League. The loss allowed Colorado to take a four-point lead at the top of the division, and Minnesota moved to within two points of the Golden Knights.
The Golden Knights’ next game is on April 5 against the St. Louis Blues. This will also be the first time Alex Pietrangelo will face off against his former team in St. Louis.