The Vegas Golden Knights lost 6-3 to the New York Islanders for just their second franchise loss and their first on the road. That’s a rough way to start a six-game road trip. So is losing Oscar Dansk to an injury, for who knows how long. But believe it or not, there are some positive takeaways from this game.
The special teams units performed well. William Karlsson started the scoring tonight for the Golden Knights on a shorthanded goal. It came after Karlsson had gotten in deep on the penalty kill preceding that goal. In both this game and against the Chicago Blackhawks, the shorthanded unit had some good chances.
The power play also scored two goals, both involving Colin Miller and Brad Hunt, who have firmly locked down their place on the first unit power play. Alex Tuch, who also added two points, is incredibly gifted at getting to the net and screening the goaltender. It’s what led to his goal tonight, and he seems to have found his primary role.
What isn’t great is how the team played in front of Maxime Lagace versus what was happening in front of Dansk. Dansk made some incredible saves early, but was injured late in the second period and was pulled shortly after allowing the tying goal on the power play. We’ll update you on that situation as we get more information.
Oscar Dansk just robbed John Tavares. pic.twitter.com/rlnrjxeMrI— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) October 31, 2017
You’ll note that Nate Schmidt makes a second stop on that play, something nobody on defense was willing or able to do with Lagace in net, as the defense then lost its collective mojo.
They allowed too many one-on-one chances with Lagace in net and took too many penalties regardless of who was in the cage. And it hurt the team tonight, as Deryk Engelland actually tipped one puck into his own net.
That’s not to excuse the poor play of Lagace, because, boy, was that some poor play. After entering the game, he posted a .636 save percentage. But the defense got super sloppy, allowing three goals on fast breaks and breakaways where the opposing forward should have been covered.
The Golden Knights will certainly look to do better against the New York Rangers tomorrow, but who knows what will happen in net if Oscar Dansk is hurt long-term.