Year 2, Game 32: Golden Knights bounce back, defeat Dallas Stars 4-2 in special teams battle
A crucial four-minute penalty kill in the third period helped the Knights secure the win.
The Vegas Golden Knights won the second half of their back-to-back set this weekend, defeating the Dallas Stars 4–2 in a game that was largely determined by special teams.
That’s because the Knights gave up two goals while shorthanded but also scored twice mere seconds after their power plays had expired, and the penalty kill unit came up clutch during the third period to burn off a double-minor penalty at a pivotal moment in the game.
Tonight demonstrated that Marc-Andre Fleury is looking as fresh as ever despite playing his 10th game in a row. He stopped 22 of 24 shots and was perfect at even strength, only allowing two goals while the Stars were on the man advantage, both of which hit Stars players on the way into the net. Plus, he made a pair of critical saves in the second period to keep Vegas in the game.
That being said, the night got off to an uncomfortable start when Tyler Seguin seemingly scored less than a minute into the game. The call on the ice was a goal, but a review determined that the puck never crossed the goal line.
Never crossed the red line. Boy, that was close. pic.twitter.com/7KqB5tNHRD— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 10, 2018
However, the Stars made up for their missed opportunity a few minutes later. Vegas got caught with too many men on the ice, and Dallas was able to capitalize on the man advantage with a goal from Martin Hanzal.
Vegas didn’t give up, though. In fact, scoring on the Knights’ end came from the first, second and third lines, bringing back memories from last season when Vegas was noted for its ability to score no matter who was on the ice.
Tonight it was Ryan Carpenter who got things started, scoring his first goal of the season to tie it up before the end of the first period. Between Carpenter’s goal and Oscar Lindberg’s recent success, the third line finally seems to have risen to the challenge, providing the team with some much-needed depth scoring.
The second period largely went in Vegas’ favor. Fleury was at least partially to thank for this. He stole goals from both Seguin and Alexander Radulov in dramatic fashion, including this stick save on Seguin when he was in alone on a breakaway.
Fleury makes a huge stop on Tyler Seguin's breakaway. Right off the stick. pic.twitter.com/qQnjqlmrf3— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 10, 2018
While Fleury was doing his best to keep it knotted up at 1-1, the Golden Knights’ offense was fighting its way to securing a lead in the second. A power play opportunity came along about halfway through the period, but two minutes came and went before the Knights could strike.
However, just seconds after returning to even strength, William Karlsson sent a sniper to the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season, helping the Knights slide ahead of the Stars with a 2-1 lead.
That's 10 on the season for Wild Bill. He'll get to 43 in no time! pic.twitter.com/9iRlj3glDp— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 10, 2018
Then, Alex Tuch scored his 10th goal of the season in similar fashion, lighting the lamp just seconds after another Vegas power play had expired, thus giving the Knights a 3-1 lead after two.
The Stars cut the lead in half with their second power-play goal of the game 8:33 into the third. Esa Lindell deflected a pass from Jason Spezza off his foot to get the puck past Fleury. Things were not looking too great for the Golden Knights’ penalty kill.
Slow-mo: pic.twitter.com/0wMi4uk1GT— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 10, 2018
But there would be time for redemption, as the penalty kill was afforded one more opportunity to step up when Shea Theodore took a double-minor penalty for high sticking later in the frame. The Knights delivered a fantastic kill to keep Dallas away from the net and preserve the 3-2 lead.
With just over a minute to go in the game, the Stars were called for too many men in a sloppy attempt to pull Ben Bishop and get a sixth attacker on the ice. With just 1:07 remaining in the game, Dallas chose to leave Bishop on the bench in hopes of tying the game at 5-on-5, but those hopes were short-lived as Reilly Smith scored on the empty net to seal the 4-2 win.
This was a significant game for the Golden Knights following yesterday’s disappointing loss in Los Angeles, and the win brings them to 10-3-1 at T-Mobile Arena and 17-14-1 on the year, good for fourth overall in the Pacific Division.
While the special teams struggled in this one, it’s positive to see the power play is at least generating enough momentum to get Vegas on the scoresheet, even if the goals from Karlsson and Tuch were not technically power-play markers. Also, though the penalty kill went two-for-four on the night, both goals bounced in off Stars skaters, and the convincing four-minute kill in the third was a true team effort.
This is the second time Fleury has won both parts of back-to-back games in less than three weeks, though one has to wonder if Malcolm Subban will man the crease at some point in the near future.
Either way, the Knights’ upcoming four-game road trip will be a test, as Vegas sports a 7-11-0 record away from home.
The Knights will look to build on their impressive 8-2-0 stretch over the last 10 games with four straight matchups against Metropolitan Division opponents. First up is Wednesday’s meeting with the New York Islanders, one of just two teams to go undefeated against Vegas last season.