Mark it down as another game the Vegas Golden Knights should have won.
You can’t ask for a better situation, taking a 2-1 lead into the third period against a team that’s had your number for the better part of two seasons; the same team, mind you, that you blew a 2-0 first-period lead on earlier this season.
Alas, the Boston Bruins, no matter their struggles or how bad they’ve been for the last month-and-a-half, are still a talented team that can win a game at the drop of a hat.
The Golden Knights allowed two goals in the third period, losing 3-2 to the Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday. It’s the fifth straight loss to the Bruins for Vegas, which has not defeated Boston since the fourth game in franchise history in 2017.
Yeah, it’s been that long.
The Golden Knights didn’t play a perfect game for two periods, but they got enough out of Marc-Andre Fleury (34 saves) and played well enough in front of him that would’ve warranted such a win. Mark Stone scored 1:24 into the first period to get Vegas a 1-0 lead, but not without Boston spending so much time in the Vegas zone.
The Golden Knights somehow went into the first intermission tied 1-1; despite a goal from Jeremy Lauzon and Vegas not shooting itself in the foot with two penalties and getting outshot 14-8. Add three more penalties in the second period, and somehow killing all of them, and good fortune was pointing the Golden Knights’ way.
And then this happened.
Put it in the damn Smithsonian. Nic Hague scored the first goal of his NHL career. After many posts, after some double posts, the rookie defenseman is finally a goal scorer in the NHL. This goal was also crucial in giving the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead in the second period.
Alas, such good tidings would not last long. After being stopped twice in close by Fleury, Jake DeBrusk snapped one over Fleury to tie it 2-2 at 4:26, and David Krejci scored the game-winning goal at 12:18.
Big picture: This was a game the Golden Knights should’ve won, but didn’t. That’s been a theme this season. Whether it’s a theme Vegas can fix in these final 30 games, time will tell.
The unfortunate reality for the Golden Knights is that there is no choice; they need to win these kinds of games. No matter the opponent, no matter if they’re a top team in the league, the Golden Knights need to come out of the All-Star break with some wins. It won’t be easy; Vegas plays a back-to-back at Carolina and Nasvhille, then travel to face the Lightning and Panthers.
Putting that on Peter DeBoer after 10 days off is going to be a tough challenge. If the Golden Knights don’t return to T-Mobile Arena with some points in the bank, it might become nervous time.
Vegas (25-20-7) will head into the All-Star break with 57 points, part of a four-way tie for second place in the Pacific Division. The Vancouver Canucks, with 58 points, are the leaders in the clubhouse.
Brace yourselves for what could be one hell of a final 30 games.