Yes, you read that right. Pacioretty, who entered Sunday with two goals, now has four in three games and had his first multi-goal game with the Golden Knights, giving him six on the year. The win helped Vegas finish 2-1 on the road trip, improving the Knights’ record to 10-12-1 on the season.
Tomas Nosek scored his second goal of the season for Vegas. Derek Stepan scored both goals for the Coyotes. After what seemed like doom and gloom 48 hours ago, the Golden Knights now have something positive to build on.
Let’s take a look at what the hell happened.
First Period - The Puck dropped and then nothing happened... until it did
It’ll sound strange to anyone who didn’t watch the game, what with the combined 22 shots on goal in the first period, but the teams appeared to be trading end-to-end rushes resulting in relatively easy saves for the goaltenders.
Marc-Andre Fleury with a series of big stops toward the end of the Arizona power play. pic.twitter.com/E0470xBFgV— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Christian Fischer nearly opens the scoring. pic.twitter.com/DzHzNtBgPs— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
It just seemed like a lot of nothing early in the first. Granted, that may have been just how it appeared because of the goaltenders’ ability to make difficult shots look like easy saves.
But with 52 seconds left in the period, Stepan got a stick on a Jakob Chychrun point shot to get one by Marc-Andre Fleury, thus opening the scoring.
GOAL. Derek Stepan redirects Jakob Chychrun's point shot past Fleury to make it 1-0. pic.twitter.com/DatMInSUOH— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Second Period - Golden Knights hockey at breakneck speed, as advertised
It’s funny how much perception drives the eye test.
The first period, which had 22 total shots, felt like a slow period. The second period began, in my eyes, as the antithesis to the first. Transitioning offenses, scoring chances, both teams using their speed up and down the ice to create mayhem.
The period felt fast, as though the Golden Knights were all over the ice creating their trademark havoc as the teams traded chances.
In reality, the shots were 6-3 for Vegas.
Just 5:50 into the frame, the Golden Knights tied it up. Nosek, potentially with some help from a defender’s stick, put one behind Darcy Kuemper to put Vegas on the board.
GOAL. Tomas Nosek scores his second of the season to tie the game up. pic.twitter.com/oQxqhPqQEe— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Fleury’s best friend kept things that way when Clayton Keller streaked in on the goaltender and put one by him, only to be thwarted by the post.
Fleury thanks his lucky stars for the iron. pic.twitter.com/Kstgkxz2rm— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Vegas found the back of the net once again at 15:51 with a beautiful goal from the second line. Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin assisted on Pacioretty’s first of the game.
Absolutely gorgeous puck movement. The second line is firing on all cylinders. pic.twitter.com/stxGPcO0E4— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
If one were to criticize the Golden Knights in the second period, one might mention the two power plays the Knights received in the middle frame, which they were unable to capitalize on.
Still, that is but a tiny complaint amidst what was a fantastic second period for Vegas, especially defensively.
Eakin looked to make this a two-goal game four minutes into the third when Tuch won a race to the puck and fed it to Eakin, who then sniped it by Kuemper.
Unfortunately, (this time) slow-mo replay is a thing that exists. It revealed that Tuch was offside.
False alarm. Goal waived off. Tuch was offside on the rush. pic.twitter.com/xXCZChf6wm— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Thus, the goal was overturned, which was a tough break for the Golden Knights.
The Knights allowed the first five shots of the frame and weren’t able to record one of their own for over half a period. A hooking call on Colin Miller 12:33 into the third allowed Arizona to tie the game on Stepan’s second of the night.
Vegas challenged for goaltender interference, but it's deemed that Fleury was not interfered with. It did look like Panik had forced Engelland into Flower's grill. pic.twitter.com/8AQpNzlRxV— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Brayden McNabb was then called for tripping late in the third period (even though it sort of looked as though the Coyotes player lost an edge and fell on his own accord), sending Arizona back on the man advantage with under two minutes to play in regulation.
Vegas was able to kill it off. To OT we go.
After the Knights killed off the remaining seconds of Arizona’s 4-on-3 power play, a rare 4-on-4 overtime configuration commenced. It led to some grade-A chances for the Knights and a potential candidate for save of the year by Kuemper.
What a save by Kuemper on Eakin. Holy smokes. pic.twitter.com/ZOO29zRADC— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Jonathan Marchessault nearly ended it on a wrap-around, but it was Pacioretty who sealed the win for the Golden Knights with his fourth goal in three games! Shea Theodore carried the puck into the zone and took a shot, which bounced off Kuemper’s pads; Pacioretty was there to clean it up, giving Vegas an exciting and important 3-2 victory.
GOAL. Shea Theodore enters the zone and forces a rebound that Max Pacioretty gets past Kuemper. His second goal of the night was a big one. pic.twitter.com/tFnSxMQULQ— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 22, 2018
Fleury made 19 saves in the effort. The win moves Vegas into the sixth spot in the Pacific Division. Despite the back-and-forth nature of Vegas’ season thus far, we have to enjoy the little victories and hope that such results will lead to a more consistent effort.
The Golden Knights are next in action Friday night against the Flames, where they will have a chance to avenge their recent embarrassing 7-2 loss. That game starts at 3 p.m.