The Vegas Golden Knights received their 100th point in this overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks, but they sure did not deserve it.
Well, perhaps one Golden Knight did. Malcolm Subban had perhaps his best game as a Golden Knight, as he saved 42 of 44 shots, keeping the affair from being a bloodbath.
It’s as much of a hockey cliche as anything, but a goalie truly is your best penalty killer, and Subban was exactly that, stopping all 13 shots on the PK.
That ‘13’ figure should stick out. It’s one of just three times the Knights have allowed double-digit shots against on the penalty kill. Having said that, it’s the lone time they escaped without allowing a goal. Stick taps, Malcolm, especially for this save:
After a slow first couple minutes to start the game, Vegas got on the board with a Tomas Tatar tally, who has scored in back-to-back games after a seven-game goal drought. Take note of his ability to immediately settle a quick pass, and slide it through Martin Jones’ five-hole:
GOAL! Tomas Tatar opens the scoring less than four minutes in! pic.twitter.com/MlcqpRomBZ— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) March 23, 2018
But let’s look at another angle, one that shows the pinpoint accuracy of Jonathan Marchessault’s pass:
This was one of Tatar’s strongest showings as a Golden Knight. Despite a rather ho-hum 40 CF%, Tatar led the team in high-danger chances for, and even drew a penalty for good measure.
As the first period came to a close, the Sharks began to turn up the pressure, and were aided by a power-play. However, Cody Eakin nearly swung the momentum back in Vegas’ favor with a tremendous short-handed chance, but was unable to convert:
Cody Eakin gets a shorthanded chance! pic.twitter.com/0hIMTHZo9g— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) March 23, 2018
The second period, well, this was one of those “burn the tape”-type games. The frame in question may have been one of their worst all season, as they were outshot, 18-4, and spent a great deal of time hemmed in their own end.
It’s no surprise this was the case, as Vegas was shorthanded for over a quarter of the frame. Colin Miller was on the receiving end of a questionable double-minor penalty call for a high stick against Marc-Edouard Vlasic that did not appear to draw blood.
A goal against seemed inevitable and indeed a Brent Burns wrister from the point found the back of the net at 3:27, several Sharks and Knights combining for a near-impossible screen:
We're tied. Brent Burns beats Subban from the point. pic.twitter.com/mdqJGauhNp— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) March 23, 2018
The third period was hardly any better, as the Knights were out-attempted an absurd 32-11 in all situations, and had to be repeatedly bailed out by extraordinary plays from Subban. His elite efforts forced a fourth frame, and dragged at least a point out of this contest.
The second point would not come though, because while the Golden Knights had a couple scoring chances right off the bat, the Sharks’ Logan Couture potted his 31st goal of the season just 39 seconds into overtime.
This one's over, folks. Logan Couture wins it with a sick backhander in OT. pic.twitter.com/xKGQVnKRpy— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) March 23, 2018
At the end of the day, Golden Knights fans should be delighted with the outcome and disappointed in the process. Getting outshot 44-25 is a rough look, as it marks their second-worst shot disparity of the season (-27 against the St. Louis Blues, which oddly enough was likely Subban’s other best performance of the year).
This is not to suggest that all 18 skaters turned in a lackluster effort. Shea Theodore in particular was electric, breaking up plays in his own end, and notching a secondary assist on the Tatar tally. He led the Golden Knights with a 68.57 CF% and appeared to be on the same page, responsibility-wise, with partner Deryk Engelland, which has not always been the case in the past few weeks.
Vegas will look to turn things around in Colorado as they take on the Avalanche on Saturday, March 24th at 12 p.m. PT.