The Vegas Golden Knights played host to the Winnipeg Jets for the first time in over a year and a half Sunday afternoon, losing 5-4 in overtime.
Laurent Brossoit started in net for Vegas to face his former team and goaltending partner Connor Hellebuyck, while Robin Lehner missed another game due to injury.
Scoring chances came early and often for the Golden Knights as well as the Jets, with plenty of wide open and fast hockey between both teams.
Hellebuyck came up big on scoring opportunities, as well as Brossoit who both put on dazzling displays in the crease.
Midway through the first period, all attention turned to the Knight Tron above center ice for Nate Schmidt and Paul Stastny’s tribute video. Both players stood to greet the crowd who roared to the sight of them on the screen.
Play continued with both teams trading scoring chances until Michael Amadio broke through for Vegas.
Evegenii Dadonov added on to Vegas’ lead after banking a shot off of Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey’s stick and past Hellebuyck to bring the score to 2-0.
An explosive start to the second period for the Jets gave way to Jansen Harkins cutting Vegas’ lead in half, leading to Kristian Reichel scoring his first career NHL goal to tie the game 20 seconds later at 2.
The Golden Knights started to have their scoring chances dry up as their passes stopped connecting and their play began to slip.
“I don’t think we could have played any better in the first [period],” Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer said. “You knew [Winnipeg] was going to push back in the second. We did not handle that well.”
The aforementioned Stastny scored the go-ahead goal in his old home three minutes into the third period after redirecting a shot from Morrissey past Brossoit to give the Jets a 3-2 lead.
Brett Howden got sent to the penalty box for hooking shortly after the Jets go ahead goal, setting up a critical penalty kill for Vegas.
Andrew Copp took advantage and scored Winnipeg’s fourth unanswered goal on the man advantage to extend their lead two minutes later for a score of 4-2.
Winnipeg continued to apply pressure, however Mattias Janmark would take it upon himself to out-skate Dylan DeMelo and lift the puck over Hellebuyck’s glove to bring Vegas within one with six minutes left in the period.
Vegas would use the new-found life to start playing with more jump in order to tie the game, however Winnipeg’s Hellebuyck stoned every chance.
That was until the final ten seconds of the third period.
Janmark parked himself to the side of Hellebuyck, and redirected an already deflected Shea Theodore shot from the point past the Jets netminder to tie the game at 4 with eight seconds to go.
The two teams would head to overtime, with both clubs getting chances to end the game and getting stonewalled by both goaltenders.
Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor would end the game in spectacular fashion, cutting to the outside of Jonathan Marchessault to gain the offensive zone, and rifling the puck under Brossoit’s arm and into the back of the net.
“I think we did a lot of good things in the game,” Amadio said. “Obviously it would have been nice to hold on and get the win, but it showed a lot of character for us to come back.”
The Golden Knights lost their first overtime game of the season Sunday afternoon, leaving Vegas with one point instead of two to take into the next game.
The Golden Knights remain at home for their next matchup Jan 4. for the third game of a six game homestand.
Their next opponent is the Nashville Predators, who are led by top goal scorer Filip Forsberg with 15.
Vegas beat the Predators in their last matchup in Nashville, where five different Golden Knights scored en route to a 5-2 win.
The game can be found on AT&T Sportsnet with puck drop coming at 7 p.m.