While a victory for each of the 82 regular season games would be great, it just isn’t feasible, especially when facing off against the Stanley Cup runner-ups. That was the case tonight for the Vegas Golden Knights as they fell to the Boston Bruins in a 4-3 loss.
The first period started off strong. Both teams have elite skaters, and between blocked shots and hits, they appeared to be pretty even. The Golden Knights caught a break at 14:45 when the Bruins’ Brett Ritchie received a minor for goalie interference.
The Knights were looking to take advantage of the 5-on-4, and it was the Knights’ second unit that drew first blood. Mark Stone squeaked a wrist shot past Tuukka Rask with a little help from linemates Max Pacioretty and Cody Glass, who both assisted on Stone’s second of the season.
GOAL. Mark Stone scores on the power play to give Vegas the early lead. pic.twitter.com/YuajSG3Zml— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 9, 2019
The goal would be the first of two first-period goals for Vegas. Less than two minutes later, Jonathan Marchessault found Reilly Smith in front, and Smith doubled Vegas’ lead as he scored against his former team.
GOAL. Reilly Smith scores against his former team to make it 2-0. pic.twitter.com/Mk2PF0N8zh— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 9, 2019
But Boston fought back, knotting things up at 2-2 after the first period. A slow start to the middle frame gave Boston a surprising 4-2 lead just 2:27 into the second period.
Marc-Andre Fleury kept the Knights in the game in the third, stopping all 11 of the Bruins’ shots. He even stiffed Marchand of a potential hat trick on a breakaway.
Brad Marchand gets a breakaway, but Fleury makes a huge stop. pic.twitter.com/NmHQzaip4S— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 9, 2019
Pacioretty scored on a power play with just over five minutes to go, rejuvenating both the crowd and the team. All the fans leaped to their feet as Pacioretty closed the gap and made the game that much more interesting.
GOAL. We have ourselves a game, folks. Pacioretty scores on the power play to make it 4-3. pic.twitter.com/VbvojCC6G9— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 9, 2019
Despite the late push, Vegas was unable to get the job done. There were several close calls toward the end, but the buzzer sounded off as Vegas was handed its first loss of the season.
So...what happened to the team that crushed the San Jose Sharks?
First off, the Bruins are a more challenging team. There is a reason they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last year (though they were defeated by the St. Louis Blues). They have speed, Rask is a force to be reckoned with, and they are masters at puck handling.
There weren’t but maybe two points in the whole game were Vegas slightly had the upper hand in puck domination, once in the first period and once toward the end of the second, when Vegas finally started getting their momentum back.
Another reason for the loss is maybe the Golden Knights weren’t exactly playing at their best. The first line and second lines both scored, and they were constantly looking for shot opportunities. There were some issues, however, with the third and fourth lines.
That third line still is not meshing well it seems, the Brandon Pirri - Paul Stastny - Valentin Zykov line. At one point, Stastny was even seen in a rotation with the second line. The third and fourth lines ,maybe saw 20 minutes of ice time between them.
With Cody Eakin starting to practice more, and a silver lining of Nate Schmidt not being in a brace or a cast dawning, it will be interesting to see where certain players will fit in. Some changes may be coming, and the sooner they come and things start melding more, the better.
Vegas is now 2-1-0. But one thing that can give Vegas fans some solace is the fact that Sharks lost to the Predators, bringing their record to 0-4-0.
The Knights will look to get back in the win column on Thursday when they face the Arizona Coyotes.