Recap: Vegas Golden Knights vs Montreal Canadiens


Saturday night, the Golden Knights (25-19-6) took on the Montreal Canadiens (21-21-6), as part of their midseason eight road game stretch.


The Golden Knights, coming off a good win against Ottawa starting fast, did not have a repeat performance in Montreal. Opening the game with a back and forth moving of the puck on the ice, the Canadiens eventually found an opening. Scoring at 14:09 in the first period to take the lead 1-0, #16 Nick Cousins was the trigger man scoring his amid goal in 16 games. To make matters worse, the Golden Knights committed a penalty immediately after the goal and were stuck in a power play, a scary situation for the Golden Knights due to their history of being very bad against power plays for the opposing team.

Vegas survived earning a penalty kill with smothering defensive play to keep the Canadiens on their side of the ice holding the Golden Knights within one goal. That was until the red hot Ilya Kovalchuk, who has scored seven goals in the last five games, scoop up a loose puck and put it in the net at 7:27 in the first period, further extending Montreal’s lead 2-0.

With 5:00 minutes left in the first quarter, the Knights got an opportunity to spark something when Canadien player Jasperi KKotkaniemi went to the penalty box for holding. But the Knights struggles with the power play continued, and their terrible 12.9% road power-play percentage showed itself again. Montreal was doing its best to disrupt the Knights’ ability to set up plays and closing opportunities to get good shots off on the net.

As for the Canadiens, their offense wasn’t hindered at all by the Golden Knights, scoring once again at 1:55 on a shot that ricocheted off of Mark- Andre’ Fleury’s leg pads into the goal to further extend the Candaiens‘ lead to 3-0. After not trailing for a single minute in his debut game, Peter DeBoer’s team was now facing a substantial deficit, posing a gut-check moment for the team in the midst of transition against a team that is 9-12-4 at home this season.

The odds, however, stacked against them, the Knights have been outscored 13-1 in the first period of games but have trailed by two-plus goals so far this season and have only managed to pull out one; an overtime thriller against St. Louis in overtime. But thanks to #81 Jonathan Marchessault at 10:52 in the second period, the Golden Knights got on the board to start chipping away at the Canadiens lead 3-1.

Vegas didn’t let up its offensive pressure, with #26 Paul Stastny scoring again off a skirmish by the Montreal goalie with 5:11 left in the second closing the gap to 3-2 and giving the Golden Knights the momentum in the game. The change, comes after Vegas, who was outshot 9-11 in the first period, went on the offensive, changing the shots-on-goal comparison to 19-14 in favor of the Golden Knights. A resilient second period, with cleaner skating and fewer turnovers, allowed the Knights to go into the third down 3-2, but with some much-needed confidence.

Going into the third period, the Golden Knights and the Montreal Canadiens were at odds, evenly matched, and reacting correctly to each other tactics. The Golden Knights’ efforts seemed in vain after #21 Nick Cousins scored to make the game a 4-2 advantage in the third. The victory was assured for the Canadiens, but Pete DeBoer’s team showed more heart that it had in recent games. Vegas held out, finding a way to tie the game with two goals in two minutes and one goal coming with only eight seconds left in the game.


Vegas’ efforts forced an overtime showdown that showed both teams will to win, ultimately ending in a shootout period that would decide the winner.  


For the Canadiens, the overtime/shootout ending had not been new to them, with 10 games this season ending with an overtime or shootout deciding the winner. Such a period would test star Mark-Andre’ Fluery, who has struggled during the Golden Knights’ recent games. And that issue came back as Montreal won the shootout 2-1 giving them the game and a 5-4 victory over the Golden Knights. This loss sends the Knights to a 25-20-7 record and improving Montreal’s record to 22-21-6.

Even Though the Golden Knights lost, the Vegas team showed a lot of heart and resiliency in being able to overcome a 3-0 deficit to bring the game to overtime, and ultimately a shootout. However, the Golden Knights’ next road test will be even more difficult, with a date on Tuesday night against the division-leading Boston Bruins. The Bruins pose a daunting challenge for the Knights and their new coach. Boston is a team that has been stellar at home, but the Knights have a two-day break to figure things out and come out fresh and focused for a date with Bean Town.


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Las Vegas! If you want another great place to watch the game, head to Al’s Garage in Summerlin. There are multiple televisions to watch all the games. Al’s has “Happy Hour” starting at 9 AM and ending at 9 PM. Al’s Garage is located at 11760 W. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89135. Tell them, “The Franchise sent you!!”


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