The Vegas Golden Knights tried mightily to complete a comeback on Monday, but were unable to find another goal to tie things up and force overtime. In the simplest terms, even though there were some sloppy moments they’d like do overs on, the Golden Knights got “goalied” by the Buffalo Sabres resulting in a 3-2 loss.
The first 20 minutes of play was pretty low event, the Golden Knights out shot Buffalo 10 to 6, and as a result there were no goals scored. Things picked up during the next 20 minutes, with Jeff Skinner scoring just 1:53 into the period on a feed from former friend Alex Tuch. Later on in the period Tage Thompson took advantage of the team’s inability to clear the puck, and he danced his way to his 26th goal of the season. The final goal of the period, scored by Lawrence Pilut, was right off a faceoff, and just like that the team was in a 3-0 hole after 40 minutes of play.
In the final frame Chandler Stephenson started the comeback with his 8th tally of the season at 3:54 with Mike Amadio and Alex Martinez earning assists to get on the scoresheet for the first time in a long while. Later on in the period Jonathan Marchessault had a chance to make it 3-2 when he was awarded a penalty shot after being taken down by Kyle Okposo. However, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played it perfect to force Marchessault wide, and he failed to get off a good shot attempt.
Vegas scored their 2nd and final goal of the game at 17:38 while Adin Hill was pulled, and Reilly Smith stayed hot with his 17th goal of the season. Alex Pietrangelo and William Karlsson picked up the assists, and for the remainder of regulation the Golden Knights pressed with a 6-on-5 advantage. There were a few chances in which Vegas was on the verge of doing something, but they ran out of time.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was fantastic all night long, and he made 41 saves, including 21 in the 3rd period. Per MoneyPuck, the Golden Knights won the all situation expected goals battle 4.99 to 1.58, and 2.98 to 0.92 at 5v5. Goaltending was the difference in this game, and Luukkonen came up big on the penalty kill for Buffalo when Vegas was pressing.
Vegas out shot Buffalo 10 to 6 in the 1st, 10 to 7 in the 2nd, and 23 to 5 in the 3rd. In totality, Vegas out shot Buffalo 33 to 12 over the final 40 minutes, a staggering margin that suggest they deserved a better fate. Adin Hill wasn’t all that tested, and he finished the game with 15 saves on 18 shots, and with the 3 goals against coming on 7 shots in the 2nd period.
The loss drops Vegas to 21-11-1, and 8-9-0 on home ice. They’ve lost 2 in a row, 6 of their last 7 at T-Mobile Arena. The team is off Tuesday, and will be in action again at home on Wednesday vs. the Arizona Coyotes.