Two teams on two very different paths entered a division rematch on Thursday, but the team lower in the standings ended up coming away with two points as the Vancouver Canucks took home a 5-4 overtime victory against the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks are still without a regulation victory against Vegas, however.
The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Golden Knights as well as a three-game skid for Vancouver.
It was a rough start for Vegas as the Canucks scored on their second and fourth shots of the night, taking an early 2-0 lead. However, Vegas got a rebound goal from Jonathan Marchessault to make it a 2-1 game with just over six minutes left in the first period.
All three members of the first line made a great play on this goal, as Reilly Smith intercepts the pass before passing it up the ice to William Karlsson, who was in ahead of Vancouver’s defense. Marchessault follows up the shot attempt and pounces on the rebound to get Vegas on the board.
However, Elias Pettersson put another goal past Marc-Andre Fleury to regain Vancouver’s two-goal lead through 20 minutes.
The Knights were able to draw even at three by the end of the second, however, thanks to another goal from the first line (this time from Smith).
Again, a great job from all three members of the first line, as Karlsson gets behind the net, finds an open Marchessault, who finds an open Smith for the score.
Vegas also got a goal from Nick Holden in the second, his fourth of the season, which ties him for the lead among Knights defensemen. That goal could be considered controversial, however, as Holden made a check on Josh Leivo that ended up knocking Leivo out of the game before Holden’s goal.
Pettersson scored again to make it a 4-3 game in favor of Vancouver. However, Mark Stone scored late in the third period to knot it up and force overtime.
Stone’s goal boils down to three players — Shea Theodore, Max Pacioretty and Stone. Theodore grabs a pass from Tyler Myers and takes it the other way, finding a way into the offensive zone before getting the puck on net. Pacioretty grabs the rebound and tosses it back to Theodore, who keeps it in the zone and then finds Pacioretty open on the other side of the zone. Pacioretty then finds Stone, who chips the puck over Jacob Markstrom’s shoulder.
Unfortunately for Vegas, Chris Tanev was able to convert on a high-danger chance in overtime, which sealed the win for the Canucks.
It was another undisciplined game for the Golden Knights. They took 14 of the game’s 20 penalty minutes and did not receive a power play until the final three minutes of regulation. The penalty kill did perform admirably, or as well as possible with five penalties to kill, allowing only six shots and two high-danger chances against in 10 minutes of shorthanded time.
The Golden Knights also committed too many turnovers, with five giveaways, including three from defensemen (Nate Schmidt’s leading directly to a goal). Plus, Vancouver was credited with seven takeaways.
Vegas was dominant in terms of possession at even strength until overtime. In regulation, the Golden Knights had a 64.29 percent Corsi, a 60.32 shot share and a 60.97 percent expected goal share, all excellent numbers.
Unfortunately for Vegas, Markstrom did just enough to support the Canucks’ offense and keep Vancouver in the game, making 38 saves on 42 shots for a .905 save percentage.
Fleury wasn’t great, either, making just 29 saves on 34 shots, allowing 2.03 goals above expected (the Golden Knights’ defense allowed just 2.97 expected goals against), for an .853 save percentage. Vegas is now 2-9-2 in games where Fleury has had a save percentage below .900 this season.
Ultimately, however, it feels like the blame lies on the Knights’ discipline and inability to stop taking penalties, turning a 1-0 lead early on into a 2-0 lead in the first period. If the Knights could have given themselves fewer shorthanded minutes and more time at even strength, where they were dominant, maybe they would have gotten a better result.
Even so, the Knights are now tied with Arizona with 44 points in the standings; Vegas is in second place because the Coyotes have a game in hand, but the point helps Vegas maintain its ground in a tight Pacific Division race.
The Golden Knights will face another Pacific Division opponent as they are set to take on the Sharks in San Jose on Sunday.