Max Pacioretty made his return to the lineup on Thursday, but the Florida Panthers played spoiler by coming from behind and scoring four unanswered goals to secure a 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Zach Whitecloud got the Golden Knights on the board to start the game almost halfway through the first period, and it was a start the team needed vs. a Panthers team that’s been nearly perfect on home ice.
Vegas was in position to end the first period with a perfect road period, but a shorthanded goal by Aleksander Barkov at 19:31 resulted in both sides ending the period with a goal apiece.
To make matters worse for Vegas, Sam Bennett tallied his 19th goal of the season 1:18 into the second period. There would be no goals scored the rest of the period, or for 19:05 in the third period until Mason Marchment tallied an empty netter at 19:06. Bennett would then tally his second goal of the game and 20th of the season at 19:31 while Vegas’ net was empty.
Overall Robin Lehner stopped 26 of 27 shots at even strength, 1 shot on the penalty kill, and 1 of 2 shots while the Golden Knights were on a power play. Spencer Knight took care of business stopping 24 of 25, and in some respects it was a big bounce back game for the rookie netminder.
The Golden Knights tallied 11 shots in the first period, 9 in second, and just 5 shots in the third. Overall they were out shot 32-25, and it was a game in which the Panthers were able to take care of business.
Once again the Golden Knights didn’t take advantage of their opportunities on the power play, and it was a missed opportunity that could have helped get them back in the game. Vegas is off on Friday, and returns to action on Saturday evening vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final game of the road trip.