The Vegas Golden Knights entered tonight’s game on an eight-game winning streak with a chance to set a franchise record for consecutive wins. The Los Angeles Kings put an end to that possibility, handing Vegas a 4-1 loss Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas fell behind 2-0 early on and was unable to overcome a 42-save effort by Kings netminder Cal Petersen.
For the second game in a row, the Knights gave up a goal on the first shot of the night.
Anze Kopitar gave the Kings an early 1-0 lead just 2:01 into the contest. He was left all alone in front with time and space, and he made no mistake as he roofed a short-side shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s shoulder.
Kopitar scored his second of the night on the power play to put the Kings up by two less than eight minutes into the first period. Vegas failed to clear the zone, and Kopitar capitalized as he picked up a rebound and sent a backhand shot off the post and in.
It was Los Angeles’ second goal on just four shots, and it was an ugly start from which the Knights ultimately were unable to recover.
Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead just over 10 minutes into the second period off the stick of noted goal-scorer Trevor Lewis, who netted his fifth of the season off a spin move that deflected off Nick Holden.
Shea Theodore scored on the power play to make it 3-1 a few minutes later. The Kings unintentionally fed him the puck following an absolute laser from Max Pacioretty that he drilled off the post (it basically broke the sound barrier).
However, the Kings re-established their three-goal lead in the final minute of the period as they scored their second power-play goal of the game.
It was all Vegas in the third, as the Knights outshot the Kings 19-1 and held a 14-0 edge in Corsi, but Petersen stopped every shot (with some more help from the post). The Knights pulled the goalie with nearly four minutes left in the period but were unable to mount a comeback.
The loss snapped Vegas’ eight-game winning streak and seven-game winning streak on home ice.
It was an interesting game, as the Kings managed just 17 total shots and only one in the third period. However, they made the most of the time and space they were given, which explains the heat map from tonight’s game.
Vegas got much better as the game wore on, and the Knights were in complete control in the third period, but the results were not there, in large part due to Petersen’s play.
Petersen channeled his inner Jack Campbell, finishing the night with a .977 save percentage and stopping all 36 even-strength shots.
Holden had an especially poor game and was on the ice for all four of Los Angeles’ goals; this highlight pretty much sums up his night.
Alex Iafallo makes it 4-1. pic.twitter.com/jzT4lr7mLW— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) March 2, 2020
In a very different way, it also was a rough night for William Karlsson. However, Karlsson was doing everything right and had many glorious chances but got stonewalled by Petersen, who prevented Karlsson from scoring the 100th goal of his career.
Nicolas Roy also had a solid night and was rewarded for his strong effort by being promoted to the second line for the third period. The move seemingly paid off immediately, but Roy’s attempt hit iron.
The Knights went 1-for-4 on the power play and 0-for-2 on the penalty kill, which is not a recipe for success.
Fleury stopped 13 of 17 shots for a .765 save percentage. Thirteen saves is never a good look, but it was the sluggish start that really cost Vegas in the end. Petersen didn’t help matters, especially since the Knights really turned up the heat for the second half of the game.
The Knights remain in first place in the Pacific Division with 80 points. However, they hold just a four-point lead, and both Edmonton and Vancouver have two games in hand.
The Knights will look to start a new winning streak as they take on the Devils Tuesday night in one of Vegas’ five remaining home games of the season.