The Vegas Golden Knights beat the New York Islanders (for the first time in franchise history) 3-2 in a very tight contest that ended up being one of Vegas’ lowest-shooting contests this year. Only seven times this season have the Golden Knights had less than 20 5-on-5 shots in a game, yet they had 16 in this one.
The Golden Knights had shot-less streaks including one that lasted almost nine minutes near the end the first and one that lasted more than seven to start the second. For a team that is sixth in the league in even-strength shots, that’s not great.
However, the Golden Knights were able to capitalize on very few on-target chances (including scoring on their one and only power-play shot) and made the Islanders pay for their mistakes, including a giveaway by Nick Leddy that led to a William Karlsson goal and a Ryan Carpenter-forced turnover that resulted in Tomas Nosek’s game-winning goal.
Karlsson’s goal was his sixth in nine games, and it’s fair to say that Wild Bill is working his way back to being Vegas’ best goal scorer.
Because of the low-event production from the Golden Knights in this game, only seven players were above a 50 percent Corsi in this game. Three of them were the first liners, who were a net positive yet again, even besides Karlsson’s goal.
Jonathan Marchessault, Karlsson and Reilly Smith were first, second, and third on the team in possession, each above a 60 percent Corsi and 65 percent shot share. Marchessault and Karlsson allowed just two high-danger chances while Smith allowed four with more defensive zone work. That’s the first line being the dominant presence Knights fans know them to be, and they’ve proven themselves again over the past few games.
In a game where the Golden Knights generated three high-danger chances to the Islanders’ 12, Marc-Andre Fleury stepped up yet again as well, making 23 of 25 saves. He made several excellent stops throughout the game, including this series:
Some slick dance moves here by Fleury. pic.twitter.com/aCKMkZxp3s— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 13, 2018
Flower continues to show off. He’s become the goaltender he was last year, and his level of play has helped elevate the Golden Knights as of late.
The Barclays Center, which has been described as a place not built for hockey, also experienced a blackout that almost doubled the second intermission in this game — basically the only rest Fleury has gotten in several weeks. Give the man some time off.
That distraction couldn’t serve as a boost for the Islanders, as the Golden Knights scored the game-winner three and a half minutes into the third and never gave up the lead again.
A great start to a three-game road trip for the Golden Knights, no matter how few shots they generated. As Tomas Nosek said, this wasn’t their best effort. But a win is a win, especially when it’s the last team the Golden Knights hadn’t beaten.