The first period didn’t start out too hot for the Golden Knights, unfortunately. Though they outshot L.A. 14 to eight, none of their shots made it past Jonathan Quick. L.A. was able to squeak a short-handed goal and a power play goal past Malcolm Subban, leading to a 2-0 result at the end of the first period.
Things were really thrilling in the second period, especially for the Golden Knights. It all started with Max Pacioretty. A pass set up by Reilly Smith and William Karlsson was headed toward the net, and bounced off of Pacioretty’s skate. After an official review to see if there was any kicking, the call was good, and the L.A. Kings’ lead was officially cut in half.
L.A.’s Nikolai Prokhorkin answered that goal with one of his own. The score was once again at a two-goal difference.
Maybe it was the change in lines, maybe it was Pacioretty’s goal, but something sparked a change in the Golden Knights for the second period. They skated faster, more aggressively, and their puck-handling was more on par. So much so that Jonathan Marchessault was able to net a goal to bring Vegas up 2-3.
It didn’t stop there. Pacioretty and Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore tried to shoot off Quick, but Quick was there to block. Karlsson was near the net for the rebound, and he took full advantage to tie the game, 3-3.
For a bulk of the third period, neither team scored. There were plenty of great scoring opportunities for the Golden Knights, but Quick was just too, well, quick on the puck. That was not to last, however, as Jeff Carter tipped one in for L.A. Try as they might, the Vegas Golden Knights could not answer. They fell to the L.A. Kings with a final score of 4-3.
Okay. The bad news is that it’s Vegas’ fifth straight loss. That is cause for some concern considering they were doing so well in the very beginning of the season.
The good news? The Golden Knights are starting to look better than they have in the last few games. They’re skating faster, they’re pacing themselves, and their puck domination is getting much better. Compare the game flow charts below from the Washington Capitals game to the game against the Kings.
That’s not to say there aren’t still...issues, particularly in the defense. It’s been said before, and Alex Tuch said it during an intermission interview. They keep leaving Subban out to dry.
There was even an instance when an L.A. player was able to walk right into Vegas’ zone without any pushback from Vegas’ defense at all. Something has to change with the defense. Maybe bringing up one of the AHL players like Zach Whitecloud and switching up the defensive pairs again could assist?
The Golden Knights will try for a victory on Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile when they face the Calgary Flames.