The Vegas Golden Knights nearly came back from 1-3 vs the MVP candidate Auston Matthews to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs, yet couldn't quite get the job done.
The game started out in Toronto’s favor when Center William Nylander scored at the first minute and a half of the game assisted by his teammates Morgan Rielly and Alexander Kerfoot to give the Maple Leafs the early lead.
To top it off the Knights in the first period were outshot by the Maple Leafs 8-5 but kept the game tied 1-1 at the end of the period with a powerplay goal scored by Keegan Kolesar who was assisted by his teammates Chandler Stephenson and Evgenii Dadonov.
The second period didn’t go in the Knights favor either as even though they outshot the Maple Leafs 14 to 6 Toronto scored 2 goals while Vegas got shut out.
Matthews showed why he was an MVP candidate and struck first in the second period at the 11:43 mark assisted by his teammates Ondrej Kase and Michael Bunting. Then the second goal came by the hands of Ilya Mikheyev who was assisted by teammates Justin Holl and Wayne Simmonds.
The Third period for the knights turned out to be the most beneficial to their cause when they started out at the 1:34 mark with a William Karlsson goal from assists by Rielly Smith and Mattias Janmark.
Vegas ended up outshooting Toronto 32-17 at the end of the third period and scored off of another powerplay goal this time with Alex Pietrangelo scoring the tying goal being assisted by Johnathan Marchessault and Mark Stone.
Overtime only saw three total shots then it was onto the shootout first up was Dadonov for the knights and Jason Spezza for the Maple Leafs who both missed, then came Stephenson for the Knights and Matthews for the Maple Leafs, they too missed.
It came down to the third shootout, Marchessault for the Knights and Nylander for Toronto.
Marchessault drove down and almost scored but ultimately missed while Nylander didn’t waste his opportunity and scored to stop the Knights comeback short.
The Knights, although suffering the loss, still got a crucial point for their season.
"It sucks,” goaltender Robin Lehner said. “You always want two points, but I'm very happy with how we battled back. It was a huge point for us.”
Vegas also had a few starters out this game from covid protocols, losing Nicolas Roy, Nolan Patrick, and Shea Theodore while having to replace them with Jake Leschyshyn, Jonas Rondbjerg and Daniil Miromanov for filling of roster spots.
"I think as a group we did a good job of bringing these guys in and helping them,” said Pietrangelo. “When you have guys that can fill in throughout injuries it’s really important.”
Vegas did well against Toronto with a battle to get at least a point from this game and the Knights played especially well down the stretch.
"It took us 20 minutes to get up to speed and realize you can't turn the puck over against this team,” said head coach Pete Deboer. “I thought the last 40+ minutes, I loved our game.”
The Vegas Golden Knights look to bounce back against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Martin Luther King Jr. day Monday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena.