A little over 48 hours ago, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 400th career win in a tough interconference matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Wednesday night, however, Fleury was pulled in favor of Maxime Lagace less than halfway through the Golden Knights’ contest against the New Jersey Devils after allowing four goals on just 11 shots. Not great!
When it was all said and done, the Devils walked out of T-Mobile Arena with two points after completely annihilating the Golden Knights 8-3 (eight to three, in case you thought you read that wrong), handing Vegas a loss in its opening contest of a four-game homestand.
A lot of things went wrong for Vegas against New Jersey, but a pair of bad gaffes made by the Golden Knights in the first period pretty much set the game’s tone from the get-go.
It all started with a shorthanded goal by Blake Coleman just 42 seconds into Vegas’ first power play opportunity of the night. Nate Schmidt had a hard time corralling a puck at the blueline, which led to New Jersey’s rush with a man down.
Just a couple minutes later, Nico Hischier was awarded a goal after an attempted cross-ice pass ricocheted off Tomas Tatar’s stick past Fleury and into the net, giving the Devils the early two-goal lead.
It was a bit of a fluky start, but that would change in the middle third. And not in a good way.
Just 115 seconds into the second period, Travis Zajac scored his 11th goal of the season to pad the Devils’ lead.
Less than a minute later, Stefan Noesen broke loose and beat Fleury five-hole to give New Jersey the four-goal lead.
As a result of the Noesen goal, for the first time during his tenure with the Golden Knights, Fleury was pulled and replaced in goal by Lagace. And it woke the Knights up for a second there!
After what looked to surely be a demoralizing rout (it was), Vegas made it interesting following the game’s halfway point. And it all started with a power play goal that deflected off Erik Haula’s skate.
With just over a minute remaining in the middle period, Vegas cut the New Jersey lead to just two goals after Colin Miller fired a wrist shot from the point that somehow elevated past Keith Kinkaid. The comeback was officially on!
Or so we thought.
Early in the final period, Coleman potted his second goal of the night to give New Jersey the 5-2 advantage.
Not long after, Michael Grabner scored his first goal as a Devil to reclaim the four-goal lead.
But why stop there? Just after the final third’s midway point, Kyle Palmieri scored his 19th of the year to make it 7-2.
And let’s not forget about our old friend Taylor Hall! There’s no way he was going to get through this offensive explosion without scoring a goal of his own!
From there, both teams basically meandered around the ice pretending to play hockey, but were really just killing time so they could go home, eat pizza rolls and watch late night talk shows.
Haula did end up scoring another goal with under a minute remaining, but I didn’t care enough to get a GIF of it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So yeah! That was pretty bad!
It almost looked like the Golden Knights legitimately forgot that there was a hockey game to play, which, honestly, might be narrowly possible. After all, Fleury just earned his 400th win. Maybe he and the team celebrated like any grown adult would by going to Chuck E. Cheese’s and wreaking havoc amongst the animatronic band of forest critters.
Or maybe they didn’t! Nobody knows!
Regardless, Vegas was simply not ready for New Jersey. It was a tragedy to watch and, obviously, I’d hate to have to take part in their next practice at City National Arena!
The Golden Knights will return to action Friday night against the Minnesota Wild, who, in case you forgot, also destroyed Vegas not too long ago! Fun stuff, folks!