The Vegas Golden Knights were up 3-1 in the third period of Saturday night’s game against the Jets, but Winnipeg stormed back with three straight goals, including Kyle Connor’s game-winning goal in overtime, to take this one 4-3.
The Knights were looking for some redemption after a stunning 5-4 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, but it turned out to be Vegas’ second straight heartbreaking loss.
But that wasn’t the only loss of the night.
The Knights also lost Alex Tuch, who exited the game in the second period after taking a hit to the head by Jets forward Adam Lowry, who coincidentally was returning from a two-game suspension. Tuch did not return.
The Knights also were without Marc-Andre Fleury, who was out with an illness; that meant a familiar face could make his return to the ice: Malcolm Subban.
Subban stopped 35 of 39 shots in his first full game of the season but was unable to come away with two points.
Mathieu Perreault got things started just over two minutes into the game, but in true Vegas fashion, the Golden Knights answered quickly. In the span of three minutes and 39 seconds, Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty and Nate Schmidt each scored to put Vegas up 3-1.
Marchessault knotted things up on the power play with a snipe that beat Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit.
Schmidt recorded a point for the second straight game with his first goal of the year, and William Karlsson extended his point streak with two assists.
Golden Knights force a turnover in the neutral zone that springs Smith, puck lands to Karlsson and delivers a great pass to Schmidt coming in the frame.— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) November 3, 2019
Second assist of the night for Karlsson, 10th on the year for Smith on Schmidt's first goal.#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/wHvO0F477q
The second period didn’t see much in the way of scoring action. To say there wasn’t excitement, however, would be a lie. It all started with the hard shoulder-to-head hit by Lowry on Tuch, who was playing in just his second game of the season after missing 13 games with an injury. Tuch went straight to the locker room.
Despite deliberation from the officials, no penalty was assessed and play continued with a faceoff between Lowry and Ryan Reaves. Reaves decided that since the referees weren’t going to issue a penalty, he would dish out one of his own. He and Lowry threw punches, but Lowry used Reaves’ sweater to end the fight rather quickly.
The Knights maintained their 3-1 lead until halfway through the third frame, when Perreault scored his second of the night to make it 3-2.
Mark Scheifele then tied things up at 3-3 just over three minutes later after a controversial non-call. It appeared to be a straightforward icing until the call was waived off at the last second; Winnipeg capitalized as Scheifele was left all alone in front and redirected Connor’s feed into the net.
The Knights headed to overtime for the second game in a row.
Try as they might in overtime, the Knights just couldn’t get the puck. The Jets dominated until Conner netted the game-winner to complete the comeback.
Patrik Laine’s speed entering the zone caught Cody Eakin off balance, giving Connor a lane to the net; he took full advantage, beating Subban five-hole 3:22 into extra time.
The game featured a little of everything, but it was a see-saw night for Vegas, much like the last couple of games have been.
Winnipeg actually bested Vegas in the Corsi battle in every period. However, things took a significant downturn in the third period, where the Knights were outshot 16-10, and then fell off a cliff in overtime.
It was another tough result for the Knights, who have been consistently inconsistent for most of the season.
The Knights are 4-3-2 on home ice, which is certainly a change of pace for the team that has thrived at T-Mobile Arena over the last two-plus seasons.
The last two losses were very similar in that the Knights surrendered a two-goal lead in both, only to lose in overtime; plus, both opponents were in the second half of a back-to-back. Vegas will need to be much sharper and put together a full 60-minute effort moving forward as they look to right the ship.
Whether or not they’ll have Tuch to help them do that is unclear. Gerard Gallant did not have an update on Tuch following the game, but that would be a serious blow for Vegas, particularly since he just returned from an injury sustained in preseason.
Tonight’s loss concludes a rocky four-game homestand in which the Knights went 1-1-2, so perhaps getting on the road will help break the cycle. The Knights will take on Columbus, Toronto, Washington and Detroit over the next week, starting with the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.