The Vegas Golden Knights swept their four-game road trip with a 4-3 shootout win against the New York Islanders Sunday afternoon at UBS Arena.
It was the Knights’ second straight shootout win and fifth straight victory.
Robin Lehner got the nod as he faced his former team on Long Island for the first time since his one-year stint with the club in 2018-19. He had a strong game despite a shaky third period and ultimately stopped both of the Islanders’ attempts in the shootout as Shea Theodore and Nicolas Roy scored for Vegas.
Vegas got the all-important first goal, as Jonathan Marchessault opened the scoring just under seven minutes into the game with his 14th of the season.
14th of the year pic.twitter.com/kPoBSnAki5— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 19, 2021
That lead would stand for just over four minutes, however.
The Golden Knights gave up a power-play goal for the third game in a row when Brock Nelson’s shot deflected off the skate of Brayden McNabb and into the net at 11:08 of the first.
Brock Nelson and a li'l bit of luck gets the #Isles tied up on the power play pic.twitter.com/Th1CDcgjtM— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 19, 2021
It was a bad bounce for the Knights, but the Islanders entered the game with six power-play goals in their previous eight games.
In a scoreless second period, both teams had strong sequences with multiple chances, with Vegas’ second line along with Alex Pietrangelo putting a lot of pressure on Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin. However, Sorokin and Lehner stood firm, keeping it 1-1 through two.
But not before Max Pacioretty dropped the gloves in the final two minutes of the frame, answering the call from Kieffer Bellows after Pacioretty crushed Andy Greene along the boards.
The Golden Knights didn’t get their first power play until the third period, but Vegas made the most of its only opportunity of the game. Theodore scored 5:46 into the third to give Vegas its second lead of the game.
Shea what you need to Shea pic.twitter.com/XIm4RnFqj9— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 19, 2021
It was Theodore’s second goal in three games and first power-play goal of the season. Chandler Stephenson and Pacioretty assisted on the play, giving the top line its first points since Tuesday’s game against Boston.
The goal marked Vegas’ 83rd point from a defenseman, good for third overall in the NHL.
Vegas took a penalty a few minutes later, but Lehner came up with a huge stop on a point-blank chance in front, preserving Vegas’ lead as the Knights killed off the penalty.
The Knights went right back to the box less than a minute later after getting caught with too many men. However, the penalty kill came through with another strong kill, giving up just one shot on each Islanders power play in the third.
Even so, the Islanders evened things up a few minutes later when Bellows beat Lehner five-hole on a low shot from the blue line.
Kieffer Bellows ties the game at 2-2 after a nice dish from Zach Parise.#Isles pic.twitter.com/xD7teQGGwe— Eyes on Isles (@eyesonislesFS) December 19, 2021
It was a very soft goal Lehner should have stopped, and it seemed to turn the tide in the third period.
Just a few minutes later, the Islanders took a 3-2 lead on a goal by Cal Clutterbuck. Fortunately for Vegas, the goal was called back after a successful challenge for offside.
However, the Islanders came right back and took a 3-2 lead on a goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau; this one would count. New York grabbed its first lead of the game with just 2:20 remaining in the third period.
Wahlstrom with the setup and JGP with the finish pic.twitter.com/TDdX33UlUh— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 19, 2021
But with just 48 seconds left in regulation (and Lehner on the bench), Theodore netted his second of the game to even things up at 3-3 and force overtime.
Shea Theodore - AGAIN! His 2nd of the game sends the Knights and Islanders into OT...Let's Gooooooo!!!!! pic.twitter.com/rDTNYjZi6V— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) December 19, 2021
Unlike Friday’s game against the Rangers, this overtime was completely one-sided, as the Islanders outshot Vegas 7-1. Lehner came up with several big stops to keep Vegas in the game, and the Knights ultimately headed to the shootout for the second straight game.
Theodore was first up for Vegas and beat Sorokin as his dominant performance continued. Marchessault was stopped in the second round, but Roy got the game-winner in the third round after the Islanders failed to score on two attempts.
GOODNESS, NICOLAS ROY (@NicRoy55). pic.twitter.com/geshDRH2Jf— NHL (@NHL) December 19, 2021
The Knights walked away with a 4-3 win as Lehner improved to 3-0 in his last three shootouts.
He finished the contest with 29 saves on 32 shots for a .906 save percentage. Aside from the Wahlstrom goal, he had one of his better performances of late.
It wasn’t a perfect effort from the Knights, who were without Mark Stone (upper-body injury). However, the Misfit Line was the best on the ice, holding a 16-6 edge in Corsi, a 4-2 edge in high-danger Corsi, a 12-4 advantage in shots and a 74.46 percent expected goal share in 14:58 of 5-on-5 ice time.
Pietrangelo had a very strong game as well, playing nearly 30 minutes (a game-high 29:50) and leading both teams in individual Corsi (8) at 5-on-5. Mattias Janmark didn’t find the scoresheet but was more involved and more noticeable than he has been in quite some time.
The Knights did give up another power-play goal but came up with critical back-to-back kills in the third period, which easily could have cost them the game; the power play went 1-for-1.
The Knights head back home to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena prior to the break.
The NHL announced that all games between US-based and Canadian teams will be postponed through Dec. 23, though that will not affect Vegas. The Knights are set to face Los Angeles twice as well as Colorado and Anaheim to close out the 2021 portion of the season.