The Vegas Golden Knights seemed to be in control of the game with a 4-2 lead in the third period, but like Freddy Krueger rising from the dead yet again, the Montreal Canadiens came back to haunt the Golden Knights’ nightmares, winning 5-4 in overtime Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Ultimately, Vegas surrendered a one-goal lead with just under two minutes left in the third period as Brendan Gallagher tied things up at 4-4, sending the game to overtime. It then took the Canadiens just 26 seconds to complete the comeback as Max Domi squeezed one past Marc-Andre Fleury for the win.
Entering the game, attention centered on Nate Schmidt and Alex Tuch, both returning from injuries for their first (full) game this season. Both made an impact in terms of possession and improving the Golden Knights’ overall roster, but they also combined on Tuch’s goal, Vegas’ second in the first period.
Unfortunately, all three goals at even strength came against the pairing of Schmidt and Brayden McNabb, as the two couldn’t seem to mesh defensively in their first full game together. Schmidt and McNabb both had positive Corsi rates of 54.35 and 50 percent, respectively, but they also finished the night with negative shot shares and high-danger shares. The pairing of Jon Merrill and Shea Theodore, on the other hand, dominated.
Phillip Danault opened the scoring for the Canadiens less than three minutes into the game. Twelve minutes later, however, William Karlsson scored for Vegas, sniping off a long-range missile from Jonathan Marchessault as he extended his three-game goal scoring streak. Tuch would follow up with his first of the season shortly after that.
Max Pacioretty finally got his first point against his former team, as he assisted Mark Stone’s goal in a two-goal third period for the Golden Knights. Stone also regained the team lead in goals with his eighth of the season.
Cody Glass also scored in the third period, and Cody Eakin recorded his second point of the game (and season) with an assist on the tally. It turns out that all the third line needed was Alex Tuch. The line also had a positive shot share (55.56 percent) and a 65.88 percent expected goal share. Tuch was good in this game, and it helped his line tremendously.
To say this was a good game all the way around for Vegas wouldn’t be a lie, either. The team had control at 5-on-5 until the third period, with significant leads in all possession categories through the first 40 minutes. The last period wasn’t as good, however, and that’s what allowed Montreal to get back in the contest.
Unfortunately, it was also a two-goal third period for the Canadiens, who got a power-play goal from former Knight Tomas Tatar before Gallagher tied the game up late as a shot bounced off both Gallagher and McNabb on its way into the net.
While some of the goals were not his fault, as the puck took various deflections and odd bounces off Golden Knights defensemen, Fleury didn’t have as great a night as usual. His five goals against are higher than his 3.79 expected goals against, a rarity for Flower this season, and Fleury had just a .692 high-danger save percentage.
This is a tough loss to swallow for Vegas, the team’s first loss in overtime this season, especially since the Knights hadn’t played since Sunday. The Canadiens were in the second game of a back-to-back following their victory against the Arizona Coyotes Wednesday night.
The Knights will next face the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday for a Dia de Muertos match.