The Vegas Golden Knights saw their winning streak come to an end at five games when they suffered a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night at United Center.
It was the club’s first loss since returning from the All-Star break, and while it was a close finish, it was the worst performance the team has delivered in the last six contests.
Vegas gave up 39 shots, 37 of which were stopped by Laurent Brossoit, who made his season debut in place of the injured Adin Hill. Brossoit bailed out the Golden Knights but was unable to come away with the extra point.
Tyler Johnson tied the game at 2-2 in the final minute of regulation before scoring the game-winner in the third round of the shootout. It appeared as though Patrick Kane scored a buzzer-beater at the end of overtime, but it was determined that the puck crossed the goal line after the clock had expired.
Vegas jumped out to a 1-0 lead 3:26 into the game courtesy of Keegan Kolesar’s sixth of the season. Nicolas Roy forced a turnover in Chicago’s end, went to the net and found Kolesar for the far-side tap-in.
Kole world pic.twitter.com/X69GgCFwca— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 22, 2023
Chicago evened things up when Cole Guttman scored on a breakaway at 12:29.
Cole Guttman with his second career NHL goal to even the game. pic.twitter.com/YuacULg5yE— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 22, 2023
The Golden Knights did not play well in the second period but gained their second lead of the night when Jack Eichel scored midway through the frame. It was a great individual effort by Eichel, who elected to shoot on a 3-on-1, beating Petr Mrazek low-blocker.
Eichel gives Vegas the lead on his 18th goal of the season. pic.twitter.com/7q6GBLfEUp— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 22, 2023
Shea Theodore recorded the lone assist on the play, extending his point streak to four games (two goals, seven points).
The Golden Knights had Corsi shares of 60 percent and 55.26 percent at 5-on-5 in the first and second periods, respectively. However, Chicago had the better of the play in the third, leading Vegas 23-10 in shot attempts, 13-5 in shots and 12-7 in scoring chances at all strengths.
A late delay-of-game penalty on Vegas gave Chicago a power play with 1:55 remaining. Vegas was 55 seconds away from collecting its sixth consecutive win, but Johnson scored on a one-timed blast that beat Brossoit top-shelf through a screen.
TYLER JOHNSON TIES IT UP WITH LESS THAN A MINUTE REMAINING. pic.twitter.com/xL8hnQUow3— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 22, 2023
The post-and-in equalizer forced overtime, where Chicago led 5-2 in shots. In the waning seconds of extra time, Kane skated in alone and fired a slapshot that beat Brossoit. However, a review determined that the clock had expired prior to the puck entering the net, giving Vegas another crack at the extra point via a shootout.
SO CLOSE.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 22, 2023
Patrick Kane's OT winner was called off after video review ruled that time was expired prior to the shot going in. pic.twitter.com/4PWT0ChLvy
However, none of the Golden Knights shooters — Eichel, Paul Cotter and Jonathan Marchessault — were able to light the lamp. Brossoit stopped Chicago’s first two attempts but was unable to shut down Johnson’s five-hole bid, which proved to be the game-winner.
Tyler Johnson speeds in tight and jams one through Brossoit to win it for the Blackhawks in the shootout!#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/ViIntPKOIJ— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 22, 2023
Chicago entered the game tied for 32nd in the NHL standings, but the Golden Knights did not play well and failed to capitalize on the advantageous matchup. Vegas was fortunate to come away with a point thanks to the play of Brossoit.
After the game, Bruce Cassidy was complimentary of Brossoit’s game, as the netminder stopped 37 shots in his first NHL start in nearly a year (March 15, 2022).
“He was very good,” Cassidy said. “He gave us a chance to win. The goals that beat him were good shots. He made some good saves when we broke down in front of him.”
The two goals Brossoit surrendered came on a breakaway and on a screened shot on the power play.
But Cassidy was frustrated by the team’s execution. “Guys were getting behind us. We didn’t play a very respectful game at all,” he said.
In the end, the Golden Knights failed to come away with two points in a very winnable game. The schedule only gets harder from here; in fact, Vegas will face Calgary, Dallas and Colorado to close out the month before squaring off against Carolina, New Jersey, Montreal, Florida, Tampa Bay and Carolina in the first two weeks of March.
Minnesota’s 2-1 win over Los Angeles helped Vegas maintain control of the top seed in the Pacific Division (with a game in hand), but Vegas took a step back after executing at a high level.
The Golden Knights will look to bounce back when they return home for a two-game homestand against the Flames and Stars on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.