With Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk all out with injuries, the Vegas Golden Knights are now turning to 24-year-old undrafted goaltender Maxime Lagace to help end the team’s longest losing streak in franchise history (a whopping two games!). Of course, there’s only so much the Golden Knights can ask of the Quebec native. He was already tasked with making his first NHL start against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night and, naturally, the Chicago Wolves call-up had a night he’d like to forget, allowing five goals on 37 shots. Would things be any different against the Boston Bruins?
Very much so. Unfortunately, though, Lagace’s betterment still wasn’t enough to end the losing streak.
Lagace was perfect to start off the contest. Despite Boston applying intense pressure early on in the first period, Lagace still managed to stop every shot sent in his direction.
The downside? Tuukka Rask did as well. Vegas outshot the Bruins 8-5 in the first third, but just couldn’t create any high-danger scoring chances other than a rushed backhand attempt by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare from the slot.
Unfortunately, Lagace wasn’t able to keep everything out of the net in the second period. Riley Nash scored his first goal of the year after a puck deflected off the post and opened up the ice in front of the net. Not a ton Lagace could have done here.
Luckily, the Golden Knights responded minutes later to tie the game at 1. After a terrific effort by Nate Schmidt to create a turnover in the offensive zone, Schmidt then found a wide open Cody Eakin, who shot a rocket past Rask to knot the score.
In the middle period’s final seconds, Lagace made a pair of impressive saves to keep the contest even. With Sean Kuraly in his wheelhouse, Lagace managed to get a pad on two of his shots before Colin Miller swooped in to block his final attempt at a mostly open net. Terrific effort from Lagace and Miller.
Lagace would pick up right where he left off in the third period, making some nice saves to keep the momentum in Vegas’ favor.
Halfway through the third period, though, the Bruins took the lead once again. With a mad scramble in front of Lagace, Kuraly was able to get one into the net for his first goal of the season.
From that point on, Boston controlled the game. Vegas’ chances were few and far between and ultimately led to a final score of 2-1.
The Golden Knights have now lost three straight and are starting to look more like the team many assumed they’d be to start the year. While it was certainly encouraging to see Lagace play better against a solid Bruins team, it was unlikely that he’d outplay one of the best goalies in hockey.
The Golden Knights play again on Saturday at 11 a.m. against the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa is 5-2-3 in their last 10 contests, so this could be a good opportunity for Vegas to get back in the winning column.