The Vegas Golden Knights thudded the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in a rematch of one of the best games of the season thus far. It turns out that while the Edmonton Oilers might be the Knights' kryptonite, Vegas might be the Lightning’s.
Goals came from James Neal, Nate Schmidt, David Perron and William Karlsson. Schmidt's, his third on the season, was the game-winner. But the real star of the game was Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 28 of Tampa’s 29 shots. This is the second contest in a row that Fleury allowed only one goal.
In addition, Deryk Engelland had two primary assists, Shea Theodore got his fifth point against the Lightning this season, and Erik Haula added an assist, so every member of the second line (and second pairing) scored.
This win gives the Golden Knights a much-needed bounce back after two rough games to enter the second half of the season. Beating the Lightning, who sit atop the league standings, shows Vegas is no joke.
Limiting Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov to one point each doesn't hurt, either.
Unfortunately, the power play couldn't bounce back and is now 1-for-29 since Dec. 19. The penalty kill also found it's streak broken after 25 straight kills. Turns out Tomas Nosek is the penalty kill god, and his injury might hamper the Golden Knights' penalty kill moving forward.
Still, this was a great win for the Golden Knights.
The scoring opened with this goal from Real Deal:
Deryk Engelland (!) with the shot. pic.twitter.com/krOiXQ3pxP— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 19, 2018
Engelland beats Stamkos with his shot, and even though Neal is blanketed by Dan Girardi, he gets his stick on the puck and deflects it in. That's the type of greasy goal that Vegas needs to be scoring as they near the playoffs. It's just another reason not to trade Neal.
It's also Engelland's 100th career point, so that’s cool.
Schmidt would follow it up with his slapper:
Schmidt scores on a wonderful slap shot with a little help from Perron, who gets to the front of the net and acts as a screen. Andrei Vasilevskiy can't stop the puck if he can't see the puck, right?
After Karlsson took a tripping penalty, the Lightning power play did this:
Palat scores to cut the lead in half. Tic-tac-toe. pic.twitter.com/9b4vPdGwSH— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 19, 2018
Cross-ice pass to cross-ice pass to the side of the net and in. Exactly what you don't want to let happen on the penalty kill. Without Nosek, the kill looks a lot different. This wasn't the only chance the Lightning power play got, but Fleury was kind enough to stop the other ones.
Afterwards, Perron took the game away once and for all.
Just look at how FREAKIN zesty this is pic.twitter.com/fE7IhrZ440— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 19, 2018
Perron completely breaks Anton Stralman’s soul with some stick-handling and scores on a sick wrister. Perron is a dirty, dirty man.
After Karlsson's goal off a faceoff won by Jonathan Marchessault, the scoring was done. In terms of controversy, this was an extremely quiet game.
It just proves that a series between Vegas and Tampa would be a great thing to watch. Especially if that series was closer to seven games than two.
The Knights take on the Florida Panthers tomorrow, Jan. 19. Just two points behind the Lightning in the league standings and a game in hand, a win in Florida could get Vegas into a tie for the Presidents’ Trophy.