The Vegas Golden Knights travelled to British Columbia to take on the Vancouver Canucks without several of their top players Tuesday night. Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Marchessault, David Perron and Erik Haula were all given the night off, which allowed a familiar, and a not-so-familiar face, to enter the lineup.
Not only did William Carrier make his return to the lineup, but Brandon Pirri, who was called up from the Chicago Wolves on Monday, made his debut in a Golden Knights uniform.
And he did not disappoint.
Pirri, 26, scored two goals for the Golden Knights to help lift Vegas over the Canucks 5-4 in a shootout. Of course, the former Ranger and Panther (a common theme amongst Golden Knights players) is no stranger to scoring goals. In the 2014-15 season, Pirri scored 22 goals in just 49 games for Florida. The Following season, Pirri scored 14 goals and racked up 29 points in just 61 games between the Panthers and Ducks. Clearly the Toronto native knows how to generate offense.
It was Pirri who opened the scoring just 4:28 in on his first shot as a Golden Knight. Not a bad way to start a debut.
With just 20 seconds remaining in the first period, though, Nikolay Goldobin scored his seventh goal of the year to tie the game back up.
The Golden Knights were unwavered by Vancouver’s late first period goal, though, and wasted no time reclaiming their lead in the middle third. Just 3:27 into the second period, Pirri scored his second goal of the night to give Vegas the 2-1 lead.
Just a few minutes later, Tomas Tatar scored his 20th goal of the season to extend Vegas’ lead.
With a little over seven minutes to play in the middle period, it appeared the Canucks had cut the Vegas lead in half, but the Golden Knights challenged the goal for being offside.
After review, it was determined that a Canucks player entered the zone ahead of the puck and the goal was disallowed.
With the 3-1 lead still intact, the Golden Knights entered the third period hungry to further extend their lead. Thanks to none other than William Karlsson, they did just that while on a 5-on-3 power play.
Unfortunately for Vegas, the Canucks got their offense going in the third period as well.
Early in the final period, Bo Horvat got Vancouver within two.
Not long after Horvat’s goal, Brandon Sutter scored a beauty to bring the Canucks within one.
Suddenly the game was tied up at four goals apiece thanks to another score from Goldobin.
After neither team could get on the board by the end of regulation, Vegas and Vancouver battled it out in overtime. But even in overtime, neither team could find twine. That’s not to say there weren’t any good chances, though.
65 minutes wasn’t enough time to settle this one, so it went to the shootout. Good news for Vegas, considering Malcolm Subban has never allowed a single shootout goal in his NHL career.
After Subban stopped all four of Vancouver’s attempts (shocker), Shea Theodore was given the green light and made the most of it by scoring a beauty to secure the two points for Vegas.
Despite getting the win, this was far from a squeaky clean performance for Vegas. Allowing three unanswered goals to give up a 4-1 deficit in the third period is embarrassing, but credit to the Knights for managing to hold off the surging Canucks when it mattered most.
With this win, the Golden Knights now have 109 points on the season and continue to build momentum as they prepare for the postseason as Pacific Division Champions!
Vegas has just two regular season games remaining on the schedule. Thursday, the Golden Knights travel to Edmonton to take on the Oilers, followed by their season finale in the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.