To borrow a phrase, come at a red-hot team you best not miss. That’s exactly what the Vegas Golden Knights did on Monday against the Dallas Stars (15-8-2), however, losing 4-2 at American Airlines Center. The loss is the Golden Knights’ second in a row, and the Golden Knights (11-11-4) are now 3-6-3 this month.
To be fair, Dallas is one of the hottest teams in the NHL at 11-0-1 in their last 12 games now. Still, Vegas’s three-game streak of losing results is concerning, to say the least.
The Golden Knights had four power play opportunities in the second period and couldn’t bury a shot. After Malcolm Subban allowed two goals in the first period, the defense didn’t help him out much, but neither did the offense. This was not a great game for the Golden Knights as a team.
Alexander Radulov scored the first and fourth goals for Dallas, collecting three points. Shea Theodore scored five seconds after the fourth power play in the second period, his second-straight game with a goal, and Paul Stastny added another goal to his total in the third.
The game started off rough, as the Stars were given a power play just 25 seconds into the game. While the Stars would not convert on their first opportunity, it set a rough tone for the game that would continue throughout the 60-minute session.
Before the first 10 minutes were up, the Golden Knights would take another penalty and this time the Stars did capitalize, as Radulov deflected a John Klingberg shot into the net. Less than two minutes later, the Stars would be up 2-0 as Esa Lindell scored his second goal of the season.
In the second period, after 13 minutes of dominant play which included two overlapping power plays and four altogether, Theodore got the Golden Knights on the board, as Ben Bishop couldn’t hug the post tight enough and Theodore just slipped the puck by him.
As the Stars did both times the Golden Knights scored in this game, Dallas redeemed themselves by scoring the next goal. That didn’t allow Vegas the opportunity to build momentum and that led to the Stars, having built a two-goal lead early, building off that en route to victory.
Stastny scored to open up the third period, getting assists from his reunited linemates in Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, but Bishop would hold tight for the rest of the game.
Bishop would be the difference maker in this game as after the Golden Knights had a rough first period (out-played in every statistical category and out shot 10-5 at even strength) they would play the better game the rest of the way, ending with 28 shots to Dallas’s 20 in the last 40 minutes, including 11 high-danger chances to eight.
The power play was a major problem for Vegas in this game, as despite seven minutes and 54 seconds on at least one-man advantage, they could only generate two high-danger chances (for reference, the penalty kill had just one less) and four shots on the power play. That’s not nearly good enough, and Vegas has been better at that aspect of the game through most of the season. Play better there in the second period and the game might be more winnable.
This was a game where the focus went back on Subban as soon as he was announced as the starter, as he only has one game above a .900 save percentage so far this season. He didn’t break that, getting just a .857 in this game. Subban is now 0-4-2 this season.
The Golden Knights need something to change and soon, as they continue to fall away from the playoff race. They’re currently two points outside of the third spot in the Pacific and the San Jose Sharks could pass them for fourth.
The Golden Knights next play Wednesday against the Nashville Predators.