Comments / New

Predators avoid season sweep, beat Golden Knights 1-0

The Vegas Golden Knights are now on a two-game losing skid to enter the second half of the season. This time, the Golden Knights fell to the Nashville Predators, 1-0. Marc-Andre Fleury was a miracle man, making 26 saves on 27 shots, but he couldn’t beat the Predators alone.

There’s a lot of important events from this game, ranging from the William Carrier hit on Ryan Johansen that took Johansen out of the game to Juuse Saros‘s performance. Kevin Fiala just managed to score off a rebound, which should have been covered by a defenseman.

Speaking of miracle men, that’s what Saros was. He stopped all 43 shots he faced, handing the Golden Knights only their third regulation loss since Nov. 28.

Tomas Nosek going down early didn’t help matters, but the penalty kill managed to remain magnificent, making it 23 penalties killed in a row. The power play still needs a lot of help, though.

Shea Theodore should have been on the ice in the waning seconds but wasn’t on the ice at all in the final minute. He may have gotten hurt. Still, the Golden Knights couldn’t get on the scoreboard, and that’s the biggest takeaway from this game.

Here’s the lone goal:

David Perron isn’t close enough to Fiala to bump him off the puck, and Nate Schmidt goes to the ice and doesn’t block the puck. There might be an element of goaltender interference from Calle Jarnkrok, but Fleury gets stuck on the side of the net, and can’t stop it.

With just one goal, most of the events were off the scoreboard. The Carrier hit on Johansen is controversial:

Carrier catches a hunched-over Johansen in the chin. If Johansen is standing straight up, that’s a clean hit. Carrier doesn’t hit him from behind, he doesn’t shove Johansen into the boards, and Carrier keeps his elbow tucked in, only using it to shove Johansen off after the hit.

Still, Carrier does hit him in the chin, and Johansen left the game. There’s a case to be made that while Carrier doesn’t make contact with his elbow to Johansen’s face, that he does make contact with the elbow. It’s a hard call to make, and it remains to be seen what the consequences, if there are any, are.

Then there’s this heartbreaking save, not from Saros, but from Austin Watson.

If Watson isn’t there, that’s a goal. The shot had already beaten Saros. Watson has his foot there and kicks it clean just before the puck fully crosses the line.

Here’s the game flow from this game:

The Golden Knights dominated the puck for much of the game, especially at the end of the third period. Vegas did most things right. If they just got two different bounces, this is a changed game. It’s a much better contest than Jan. 13 versus the Edmonton Oilers, and that’s good news for the remainder of the road trip.

Vegas next takes on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.