Golden Knights suffer 4-3 shootout loss to Blackhawks, get eliminated from playoff contention

Vegas went a combined 0-for-17 in three straight shootouts to end the year.

For the first time in franchise history, the Vegas Golden Knights will not advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Golden Knights’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday night put the final nail in the coffin of Vegas’ tumultuous 2021-22 campaign.

Technically, Vegas had already been eliminated prior to the conclusion of the shootout since the Dallas Stars earned a point by reaching overtime in their matchup against the Arizona Coyotes.

However, the Golden Knights did more than enough to take themselves out of the running.

It was the third consecutive shootout loss for the Golden Knights, who went a combined 0-for-17 against San Jose, Dallas and Chicago. Prior to the game against San Jose, Vegas was in complete control of its playoff destiny. Needless to say, Vegas squandered every opportunity.

Logan Thompson started for the second game in a row and turned in another solid performance, including a stellar showing in the shootout; he went 6-for-6 before surrendering the game-winning goal to Tyler Johnson in the seventh round.

Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, Shea Theodore, Chandler Stephenson, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault and Michael Amadio failed to beat Blackhawks netminder Kevin Lankinen, losing the shootout 1-0.

Vegas and Chicago completed all the regulation scoring in the first two periods, trading goals until it was a 3-3 game with under three minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Taylor Raddysh opened the scoring late in the first, taking advantage of a Vegas turnover and tucking the puck into the net off the pads of Thompson to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

The Golden Knights evened the score 1:38 later as Amadio netted his 11th of the season, scoring on a one-timer from the side of the net off a feed from Theodore, who made up for his turnover that led to the Raddysh tally.

Stephenson recorded the secondary assist on the play to extend his point streak to five games.

But the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead before the end of the opening frame when Raddysh found twine for the second time in less than four minutes.

It was another avoidable goal, as Raddysh was left alone in front of the net and ultimately batted the puck past Thompson on his third attempt without being challenged by a Vegas defender.

The Golden Knights entered the second period trailing by one, but they quickly evened things up at 2-2 when Alec Martinez scored his third of the year right off a faceoff win, sending a floater past Lankinen’s outstretched glove.

Stephenson won the faceoff, picking up his second point of the game.

Once again, however, the Blackhawks responded quickly.

An Eichel turnover in the defensive zone put the puck on the stick of Caleb Jones, who drove to the slot and beat Thompson short-side.

Pacioretty helped Vegas erase the one-goal deficit for the third time, scoring on a deflection in with 2:48 remaining in the second for his 18th goal of the season.

Once again, Stephenson recorded an assist on the play.

Neither team was able to score in the third period, though Vegas outshot Chicago 14-8. After five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime wasn’t enough to determine a winner, the game headed to a shootout.

For the third game in a row, Vegas was unable to score a single goal.

Johnson scored the lone goal of the shootout to secure the win for Chicago.

Thompson was excellent once again and gave his team multiple chances to win the game. However, he didn’t get the goal support he deserved, and the Golden Knights’ 2021-22 season came to a screeching halt.

Stephenson finished the game with three assists and was the best player for the Golden Knights once again. While Theodore did make some mistakes and was unable to keep the puck on his stick in overtime, he also was motivated and dynamic throughout the contest.

But Vegas got in its own way once again.

Chicago scored two goals directly off Vegas turnovers and also benefited from poor defensive coverage in the case of Raddysh’s second goal. Plus, there’s no excuse for going 0-for-17 in the shootout against James Reimer, Jake Oettinger and Lankinen.

Eichel went 0-for-3 in the three shootouts and was ineffective down the stretch. Stone was more involved than he had been against Dallas but did not have a strong game. He did not lead by example, take over the game when his team needed a boost or simply score a goal in the shootout to lift his team to victory. Even if it had been a moral victory, the Golden Knights had no business coming out flat and losing this game.

But the team lacked urgency and desperation from the opening faceoff. While the Golden Knights were coming off deflating losses, it was a disheartening performance by a team that entered the season with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Instead of competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup for the fifth time in five years, the Golden Knights will wrap up the regular season Friday in St. Louis.