In Pete DeBoer’s return to Vegas, the Stars were absolutely dominant, delivering a stifling team-wide defensive effort. Vegas barely challenged Stars netminder Jake Oettinger, who recorded his third shutout of the season with 27 easy saves.
Welcome back to Las Vegas, Pete DeBoer. pic.twitter.com/pRiW9Z5jkl— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) January 16, 2023
There was a lack of energy, effort and execution by the Golden Knights, who were forced to chase yet another game after giving up a goal less than six minutes into the first period.
It also was the third consecutive game in which a Golden Knights player sustained an injury and did not return. This time, it was defenseman Alec Martinez, who played just 5:38.
He follows Mark Stone (Jan. 12 against Florida) and William Carrier (Jan. 14 against Edmonton) as the injuries continue to pile up for the Golden Knights.
Dallas’ shot suppression and defense prevented Vegas from generating momentum all afternoon. The Stars won races and puck battles, controlled play and perpetuated Vegas’ struggles exiting the zone.
Much like Saturday’s game against Edmonton, the first period featured a flurry of turnovers, one of which led to the opening goal of the game, a snipe from the slot by Stars captain Jamie Benn at 5:45.
It marked the fifth time in six games in 2023 and the eighth time in the last nine games that Vegas surrendered the first goal, and it proved to be the game-winner less than six minutes into the contest.
The Stars proceeded to score two more goals, both of which deflected off Alex Pietrangelo before finding the back of the net.
The first was a point shot by Joel Kiviranta at 12:28 of the second period.
Joel Kiviranta from a distance finds the back of the net pic.twitter.com/bqVZWcSPCq— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 17, 2023
The second was Ryan Suter’s first goal of the season, which made it a 3-0 game just under eight minutes into the third period.
Bruce Cassidy pulled Logan Thompson with more than five minutes to go, but the extra man didn’t make much of a difference.
Tyler Seguin scored on the empty net with 44 seconds left to seal an already-decided game.
The Stars held a 61-37 edge in Corsi at 5-on-5, which left Vegas with a 37.76 percent Corsi share. Somehow, Vegas was credited with nine high-danger chances at 5-on-5, but it was one of the Golden Knights’ worst offensive efforts in recent memory.
This loss was not on Thompson, who stopped 32 of 35 shots for a .914 save percentage. Two of the three goals allowed were deflected, and the third came right off a turnover in the defensive zone.
Thompson made saves to keep Vegas in the game, but the Golden Knights never generated pressure with any consistency.
Memorable chances were few and far between, and aside from the final minute of the first and second periods, Vegas had nothing.
The only line that finished with a Corsi share above 50 percent was the fourth line of Keegan Kolesar, Paul Cotter and Jonas Rondbjerg, which led 4-3 but played just 4:01.
Once again, Jack Eichel was noticeably invisible; he finished the game with a minus-two rating and a 34.38 percent Corsi share (21-11). He wasn’t alone, however, as the other veterans failed to step up and make valuable contributions.
That’s something Cassidy expressed displeasure about following the game, though he also seemed frustrated that other players didn’t seize the opportunity to get more ice time.
It was still a close game on the scoreboard for most of the contest, but there weren’t many positive takeaways for a Golden Knights club that has lost three out of its last four games. The penalty kill came up with two convincing kills in the second period when it was still 1-0; otherwise, it was all Dallas.
The Golden Knights are trending in the wrong direction at a critical time in the season, but perhaps the most concerning aspect of the 4-0 loss was an obvious lack of energy on the bench. Following the game, Cassidy didn’t mince words about the team’s performance.
“Not an NHL effort tonight, not from our group,” he said.
Head Coach Bruce Cassidy after Monday's loss to Dallas pic.twitter.com/K4NSadvvzQ— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 17, 2023
Another concern is the team’s injury situation, which continues to worsen. Cassidy did not have an update on Martinez, though he hopes to have more information on Wednesday.
The Golden Knights have two days off before hosting the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. They will close out this seven-game homestand against Washington on Saturday.