The Vegas Golden Knights put an end to their goalless drought but were unable to return to the win column after suffering a 4-3 overtime defeat against the Los Angeles Kings Friday night at T-Mobile Arena.
It was the team’s third straight loss, extending a slide that began with getting shut out in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history.
The Knights never trailed but were unable to come away with the extra point against a Kings team that is chasing Vegas in the Pacific Division standings.
The Knights got off to a strong start, ultimately ending their goalless drought at 147:57 when Max Pacioretty struck on the power play 8:11 into the first period.
The Knights were the beneficiaries of several fortuitous bounces, but they took full advantage of the puck luck as Pacioretty beat Jonathan Quick to open the scoring.
️ATCHES ️OWER ️LAY GOALLLLLL! pic.twitter.com/qyXu439BMv— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 19, 2022
It was the team’s first goal in 10 days going back to the 4-0 win against Edmonton on Feb. 8, and it was Pacioretty’s first goal since his two-goal game against Boston back on Dec. 14. Jonathan Marchessault was credited with the lone assist on the play.
The Knights doubled their lead when the Misfit Line capitalized on a Los Angeles turnover and scored on the ensuing odd-man rush.
William Karlsson forced the turnover and fed the puck to Marchessault, who set up Reilly Smith for the one-timer.
However, Andreas Athanasiou took some wind out of the sails with a breakaway goal just 28 seconds later.
He forced Nicolas Hague to take a holding penalty but blew past him anyway before using a backhand-forehand deke to slip the puck past Laurent Brossoit and cut the deficit to one.
It was a big goal for the Kings, who found themselves in a two-goal hole despite controlling possession through the first 15 minutes of the frame.
A scuffle at the end of the first resulted in a power play for the Kings to start the second, and Los Angeles made quick use of it.
In fact, it took Adrian Kempe just 30 seconds to beat Brossoit and even things up at 2-2.
Vegas grabbed the lead once again when Pacioretty netted his second of the game 6:33 into the second period, giving Vegas a 3-2 lead.
With the primary assist on the goal, Jack Eichel picked up his first point as a Golden Knight.
It was another case of puck luck, as the puck bounced multiple times before hitting Quick’s back and trickling over the goal line. Pacioretty now has five two-goal games this season.
But the Kings continued to push and ultimately evened things up once again.
Phillip Danault got a step behind the Vegas defense and went top-shelf to launch the puck over Brossoit’s shoulder and into the net at 17:17 of the second.
The tally gave the Kings a 2-1 edge in goals in the middle frame to make it 3-3 through two.
First period— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) February 19, 2022
Shot attempts: 32-16 Kings
High-danger: 10-3 Kings
Scoring chances: 18-7 Kings
Shots: 10-7 Kings
Shot attempts: 19-14 Knights
Scoring chances: 9-8 Knights
Shots: 11-7 Knights
Better. But it's 3-3 where it counts #VegasBorn
After play leveled out in the second period, the Kings once again were the better team in the third, leading in shots (11-5), shot attempts (24-13) and scoring chances (14-4) at all strengths.
Los Angeles had a few good looks late in the frame, though Shea Theodore made a game-saving defensive stick play to break up a cross-ice feed on a dangerous 2-on-1. Brossoit came up with a few key stops near the end of the period, but neither team was able to pull ahead in regulation.
Chandler Stephenson had a chance in overtime, but Kempe got the only one that mattered, scoring the game-winner 2:18 into extra time to seal the 4-3 win.
It was a crisp tic-tac-toe play that started deep in the Kings’ zone after Theodore turned the puck over in the slot; Kempe, Sean Durzi and Anze Kopitar executed the play to perfection, leaving no chance for Brossoit on the backdoor tap-in.
Though the result was the same, there were some positive takeaways for the Knights.
For one thing, Vegas was able to secure a point, which is not insignificant as the Pacific Division race grows tighter by the day.
For another, the Knights broke through their slump and scored three times, including once on the power play.
Also, Eichel had a better game, recording his first point in his second game as a Golden Knight, Pacioretty got his first goals since mid-December and Brossoit gave Vegas a chance to win once again.
That being said, the Kings controlled play for most of the night and were the more aggressive team. The Knights were unable to finish several prime scoring chances, went 1-for-3 on the power play and took some undisciplined penalties of their own.
Stephenson sat in the box twice, and Hague was forced to take multiple penalties, one of which easily could have been a penalty shot. He also held Athanasiou but was unable to stop him from chipping the puck ahead and scoring on the breakaway.
It wasn’t a strong night for the Golden Knights’ top four, and the only forward line that finished with a positive Corsi share was the top line (58.85 percent in 10:25).
In the end, the Kings held a 62-41 edge in Corsi at 5-on-5 (74-50 at all strengths) and 36-19 advantage in scoring chances (43-22 at all strengths) while more than doubling Vegas in high-danger Corsi (14-6 at 5-on-5, 18-7 at all strengths).
The Kings are now just three points behind Vegas in the Pacific Division and have a game in hand. Edmonton is three points back of the Knights with two games in hand, while Calgary is ahead by two points and has three games in hand.
If the Knights aren’t careful, they’ll soon be on the outside looking in. They’ll have a chance to right the ship Sunday against San Jose.