Where should we start?
The fact the Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t beat Alex Stalock, or that they gifted three goals to the Minnesota Wild?
No matter how you slice it, the result is the same: The Golden Knights put together another performance worthy of many head scratches, losing 4-0 to the Wild in Minnesota in a one-off road trip.
Stalock made 26 saves for his third shutout of the season and eighth of his NHL career in a game that was deemed over after the first period.
Vegas had a power play 30 seconds into the game by way of a roughing call on Ryan Hartman. The Golden Knights did not score. They did not score on any power play, in fact. Vegas had four chances with the man advantage and did not capitalize once.
The Wild, however, did very much when given the man advantage. Joel Eriksson Ek scored at 5:30 and Jared Spurgeon at 12:44 to give the Wild a 2-0 lead early. Zach Parise added the the third power-play goal of the night at 15:47 of the third period.
Kevin Fiala had a goal as well. It wasn’t on the power play, if you’re wondering.
Minnesota finished 3-for-5 on the power play, which played its first game 24 hours after trading Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins. New Wild forward Alex Galchenyuk had one shot in 12:26 in his Minnesota debut.
Outside of that, not a fun evening if you’re Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed all four goals on 20 shots before being pulled in the third period. Malcolm Subban made five saves in relief.
William Karlsson had three shots in 19:52 in his return to the lineup; the Golden Knights’ top center started the game on the third line inbetween Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch before coach Pete DeBoer shuffled his lines and moved Karlsson to Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty.
“Might have been our best player,” DeBoer said via the postgame broadcast. “That’s a testament to him, but I think it’s also a challenge to our group that a guy who’s been out that long shouldn’t be our best player. We need more participants.”
There are plenty of reasons why the Golden Knights lost this game; third consecutive game in a different time zone, going back on the road after playing one at home, or just the Wild have their number in general. Minnesota has outscored Vegas 13-5 in four all-time games at Xcel Energy Center, with only one of those games being decided by one goal.
It’s another one of those situations where Vegas appears to take one step forward and two steps back. For 40 minutes on Saturday, that momentum they gained on the road seemed to carry against the Carolina Hurricanes. Then they allowed four goals in the third and lost in a shootout. To be outscored 8-1 in your last 85 minutes of hockey is not ideal.
Special teams are also killing the Golden Knights. Through DeBoer’s first six games as coach, the Golden Knights had an 88 percent clip of killing penalties. That’s now gone down to 71 percent after allowing six power-play goals in the past three games.
Also, Vegas has been outscored 8-1 in its past 85 minutes of hockey. To go from winning three of four, to laying an egg in the last 48 hours, is not ideal.
The Golden Knights now begin a five-game home stand that is the equivalent to murderer’s row, starting Thursday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues.
The room for error is small, but trying to figure out how many points Vegas can squeeze out of this stint is going to be the thing I think most of over the next 24 hours.