In the most amazingly bizarre way possible, the Vegas Golden Knights gave the Calgary Flames their first regulation loss since Dec. 29. This comes after what looked like a sure win for Calgary, until the Flames allowed three goals in 53 seconds with time dying down in the third period.
Erik Haula scored off a bad pass by Michael Frolik, which tied the game up. From there, Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron added tallies to secure the win.
That's one way to start off a long six-game road trip!
Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves, stopping all seven shots from the Flames' power play opportunities. Mike Smith wasn't bad either, saving 31-of-34 on the night.
The Golden Knights only needed that second goal to come back to life. All three of their goals in the third period came with under two minutes left in the contest. The tying and game-winning goals were within 10 seconds of each other. Sometimes 10 seconds is all this team needs!
The scoring started with this deflection from Reilly Smith, ending a six-game scoreless streak for the first liner:
Reilly Smith redirects this one past Smith. pic.twitter.com/JyrQCdk8SN— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 31, 2018
Smith provides a second screen in addition to Alex Tuch, and his work to get the puck into the net pays off. Hopefully this launches an influx of scoring for Smith, who has proven to be somewhat streaky throughout the season.
After a neutral zone turnover by the third line led to a Sam Bennett goal (reminder: turnovers of any kind are bad), the Flames took the lead off this Matthew Tkachuk tally:
Matthew Tkachuk is extremely good. pic.twitter.com/7Tke9IzX4Q— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 31, 2018
He just completely pulls Fleury out of the net. That's a really bad look for the Vegas superstar, but it showcases the talent of Tkachuk, now that he's past his rookie pest phase. Luckily, that was the last goal the Flames scored on the Knights.
With under two minutes remaining in the third period, Haula capitalized on Frolik's error:
Haula's game-tying goal. Beautiful! pic.twitter.com/xrYkZ2uMCL— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 31, 2018
An excellent goal by Haula and an atrocious mistake by Frolik. Smith immediately gave the defensive forward the gaze of death after the tally. Frolik knows what he did.
Then Marchessault did this:
The Golden Knights needed this goal. Karlsson posts up near the boards and delivers a behind-the-back feed to Marchessault, who wheels, snipes and celebrates like a champ.
Just seconds after Marchessault’s goal, Perron cemented the game with an empty-netter.
A few extra things to take note of:
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare added the primary assist to Perron's goal (his third helper of the season). Shea Theodore added the other assist on that goal.
Theodore may have been the best defensive defenseman in the game for the Knights. His pairing with Deryk Engelland was the only one not scored on (one goal against in six games). Theodore also played almost a minute of shorthanded time and made some excellent plays in his own zone to break up some scoring chances.
The Knights took the Flames' 50-0-3 streak when leading after two periods during the past two seasons and put a dent in it. Calgary is now 50-1-3 when leading after two, and Vegas is the only team to beat them in regulation.
Vegas also tied the NHL all-time lead for wins by an expansion team at 33. And remember, the Knights are just 49 games into the season. They will capture the sole lead at some point in the near future.
The Knights also made Tkachuk do this:
Ladies and gentlemen, the Calgary Flames. pic.twitter.com/dLjhk6tbU2— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 31, 2018
It was a good day.
The Golden Knights next face the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 1. They'll surely be looking to turn this miraculous win into a winning streak.