Those Vegas Golden Knights sure have been on a tear as of late, eh? They’ve won three straight games (all of which via overtime or shootout, mind you) and continue to rack up points in pursuit of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings.
Saturday night, however, would be a tough test for the Golden Knights. The Dallas Stars, who have won seven of their last 10 games, sport a 10-3-0 record in their own building and are just five games removed from a 3-0 shutout victory over Vegas. Goaltender Maxime Lagace, who kept the bench warm for Vegas in that last game against Dallas, would draw the start on Saturday night.
This time, though, Lagace helped turn the tables on the Stars.
Alex Tuch opened up the scoring just over 12 minutes into the contest thanks to a gorgeous pass by Brendan Leipsic from behind the net. This now gives Tuch seven goals in 24 games. The kid’s doing alright, folks!
Lagace, on the other hand, didn’t get off to a phenomenal start.
Later in the period, Lagace turned the puck over to Radek Faksa (you might be familiar with him!) after a miserable attempt to play the puck from behind the net. The turnover caused a mad scramble in front of the net before Tyler Pitlick swooped in to clean up the mess and record his sixth goal of the season.
Probably not Lagace’s proudest moment there.
Granted, he does deserve some credit for making a couple impressive saves in the opening period.
In the middle third, the floodgates opened in Vegas’ favor. David Perron, Reilly Smith and Brayden McNabb (!) all scored goals to give Vegas a comfortable lead headed into the third period.
First it was Perron to get on the board, scoring his first goal since being activated from the injured reserve list.
(Note: One does not simply knock David Perron off the puck)
Just 33 seconds later, Jason Spezza beat Lagace on a one-timer to tie the game back up.
Less than a minute after Spezza’s goal, Smith used his silky mitts to backhand one past Ben Bishop and reclaim the Vegas lead.
Finally, noted offensive powerhouse Brayden McNabb sniped one past Bishop to give the Golden Knights a two-goal lead.
Lagace made a highlight of his own later on as he denied John Klingberg from up close.
With Dallas desperate for goals, Lagace would need to hold the fort to keep Vegas ahead in the third period.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get off to a very good start.
Early in the period, Lagace got lucky as a puck bounced over Esa Lindell’s stick with a wide open net in front of him.
He wouldn’t be so lucky later on, though, as Jamie Benn, streaking through the neutral zone, beat Lagace clean with a wicked wrister from above the left faceoff circle.
Yeah, that was bad.
Despite some shaky moments, however, Lagace stood on his head for the majority of the final third to guarantee Vegas two points.
With Bishop on the bench, Erik Haula potted an empty net goal to give Vegas the 5-3 lead and seal the victory!
That’s now four straight victories for the Golden Knights, who continue to look like they belong in the discussion as one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The season is still young, of course, but they’ve yet to give anyone a reason to doubt them.
As for Lagace, it was good to see him get the win against an extremely talented Stars team. With Marc-Andre Fleury likely to make a return soon, Lagace’s time with the Knights may be coming to an end. And if it is, he certainly made a massive impact for the Golden Knights during his two-month stay.
The Golden Knights’ next game is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at the T-Mobile Arena. After that, of course, is the highly anticipated matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Something tells me Fleury will be in the lineup for that contest...