The Vegas Golden Knights were in desperate need of a win. Of a point. Of anything.
They got nothing.
Instead, the Knights lost their fifth consecutive game with a 7-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night at Canada Life Centre.
It marked the first time in franchise history that the Knights went five consecutive games without a point; they have two previous five-game losing streaks but never lost all five in regulation.
The Knights gave up a season-high seven goals in a four-point game against one of the teams trailing them in the wildcard race. With the win, the Jets moved within two points of the Knights for the second wildcard slot; Winnipeg has one game in hand.
It was an especially rough night for Laurent Brossoit, who got pulled after giving up four goals on 13 shots in his return to Winnipeg.
Defenseman Brayden Pachal made his NHL debut in the loss, becoming the eighth Golden Knight to do so this season. He got just 10:31 of ice time and finished the game with a minus-one rating, one giveaway and one takeaway.
Things started out fairly well for the Knights, who recorded the first seven shots of the game.
But Keegan Kolesar and Logan Stanley dropped the gloves at 10:45 of the first, and the fight contributed to a major shift in momentum early.
After holding Winnipeg without a shot through the first 12:25 of the period, the Golden Knights surrendered the next nine, two of which found the back of the net.
The first was a great play made by Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who went around Alex Pietrangelo and quickly roofed the puck past Brossoit.
Blake Wheeler's 9th goal of the season is certainly worth another look or two. #NHLJets— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) March 16, 2022
Exploding into the OZ before making a slick move on Pietrangelo and wiring his shot past Brossoit is as vintage as it gets for Wheeler.pic.twitter.com/Tlrv6XXiHZ
The second came off the stick of Kyle Connor. Vegas gave Winnipeg’s leading scorer too much time, and Connor scored his 10th goal in 10 games against Vegas to give Winnipeg a 2-0 lead in the first.
The two goals came just 33 seconds apart.
Nicolas Roy got Vegas on the board 6:49 into the second period, scoring his 11th of the year.
Nicolas Roy has 27 points (11g, 16a) in 58 GP this season with this goal pic.twitter.com/YxidHTUyeA— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) March 16, 2022
But Winnipeg scored three unanswered goals in the final 13:11 of the frame.
The first came off a Vegas turnover as Nikolaj Ehlers beat Brossoit short-side.
Stanley proceeded to complete the Gordie Howe Hat Trick when he made it 4-1 at 11:09 of the second.
The two goals, both unassisted, came 2:05 apart.
That put an end to Brossoit’s game. The former Jets netminder got a warm reception during his tribute video, but his night ended on a sour note after 31 minutes of action.
Logan Thompson took over the crease but gave up a goal before the end of the frame as Mark Scheifele gave the Jets a comfortable 5-1 edge, scoring Winnipeg’s third straight goal of the period and giving the Jets a four-goal lead heading into the third.
Vegas cut that down to two.
The Knights made it 5-2 when Pietrangelo scored from downtown 4:34 into the third period. William Karlsson set the screen, and Nolan Patrick and Dylan Coghlan were credited with the helpers.
Alex Pietrangelo gets his 9th goal of the season pic.twitter.com/l3JxGWe7JU— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) March 16, 2022
Then, Michael Amadio made things really interesting when he made it 5-3 just under 10 minutes into the third.
Michael Amadio scores his 6th goal of the season pic.twitter.com/7BB5GycGBH— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) March 16, 2022
Amadio scored on the one-timer off a behind-the-net feed from Jake Leschyshyn.
The Golden Knights had all the momentum, but it didn’t last.
For the second time on this road trip, a Jonathan Marchessault penalty put an end to Vegas’ third-period push. Marchessault got called for slashing (in the offensive zone) and was handed a misconduct on top of it. It took the Jets just four seconds to make Vegas pay.
Josh Morrissey beat Thompson short-side with the back-breaker to reestablish Winnipeg’s three-goal lead.
The Jets added a short-handed marker for good measure, as Adam Lowry deked around Thompson to make it 7-3 13:34 into the third.
Former Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt assisted on the play.
The Golden Knights closed out their five-game road trip with another insufficient effort.
The goaltending was awful.
The Vegas goalies gave up seven goals on Winnipeg’s first 21 shots; Brossoit and Thompson finished the game with save percentages of .692 and .700, respectively.
But the Knights took themselves out of the game multiple times, once again failing to capitalize on chances to put a stamp on a disastrous road trip.
Instead of collecting a chunk of meaningful points in a five-game stretch, Vegas came away with zero. The Knights lost to the Flyers, Sabres, Penguins, Blue Jackets and Jets; four of those teams are not in the playoffs.
The injuries continue to mount, but the Knights haven’t played like a desperate hockey club. The Knights started to come back, but only after putting themselves in a four-goal hole. It was another loss in a “must-win” scenario, and it leaves Vegas on very shaky ground in the standings.
The Knights return home to take on the potent Florida Panthers Thursday night. If the goaltending isn’t better, Vegas is looking at six straight defeats at the most critical time of the season.