Video Credit: NHL

FSM Essential Recap: Golden Knights vs Avalanche – Game 53

Franchise Sports Media

Golden Knights (29-20-4)  | Colorado Avalanche (39-10-4)

 

The Golden Knights lose another critical game, this 3-2 to the Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena.

Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

Twenty-six seconds. That’s all it took for the Vegas Golden Knights to allow another two points to slip away.

The Golden Knights responded with a much better effort after a disappointing performance Friday night in Arizona. Still, they could not get a different result when they hosted the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. Despite holding the lead in the third period, VGK fell victim to a quick-strike Colorado offense that scored two goals in 26 seconds to claim the 3-2 victory.

While the Golden Knights played a solid and defensively-sound game for most of the night, it wasn’t enough to come away with the two critical points. The team’s fifth loss in its last six games leaves Vegas in a precarious position in the Pacific Division race.

Max Pacioretty and Mattias Janmark were out of the lineup after suffering injuries Friday night, but Jonathan Marchessault returned and had a strong game. However, it wasn’t enough to get the Golden Knights back in the win column.

VGK got off to an excellent start and outshot the Avalanche 8-1 out of the gate. An inability to capitalize on early chances cost the Golden Knights Friday in Arizona, but that wasn’t an issue in this one. Chandler Stephenson opened the scoring on a breakaway just over four minutes into the first, collecting a stretch pass from Jack Eichel and going five-hole to beat Darcy Kuemper and give Vegas an early 1-0 lead.

It was all Vegas early, but an untimely Keegan Kolesar hooking penalty at center ice let Colorado get right back into the game. Though the Golden Knights technically killed it off, Andre Burakovsky beat Laurent Brossoit short-side right after the penalty expired, evening things up at 1-1 just over three minutes after Stephenson’s tally.

But making his presence felt after missing Friday’s game was Marchessault, who gave VGK a 2-1 lead just 1:21 after Colorado tied it. Reilly Smith forced a turnover to set up a 2-on-1, and Marchessault one-timed his saucer feed past Kuemper for his 21st goal of the season.

It was a big goal for VGK, who were able to take back the momentum. The Golden Knights held Colorado without a shot in the final 7:19 of the frame. Vegas led 15-6 in shots, 23-12 in Corsi, and 9-2 in high-danger Corsi at all strengths.

Alex Newhook had a great opportunity in front but was shut down by Brossoit, who made several huge saves to preserve Vegas’ one-goal lead. Brossoit’s second start in two nights was another stellar performance. He was particularly clutch in the second period, where Colorado held a 5-2 edge in high-danger Corsi at 5-on-5.

The Golden Knights had to kill off a late penalty, but two critical blocks by Nic Hague helped them get the job done to keep the Avalanche off the board.

All in all, it was a simple-yet-effective 20 minutes for the Golden Knights. They took a page out of the playbook they used against Colorado in last year’s second-round matchup, frustrating the Avalanche at the blue line and slowing down their transition game.

 

But the Avalanche flipped the script in the third, and it didn’t take much.

 

Golden Knights vs Avalanche
Photo Credit: NHL

The Avalanche scored two goals in 26 seconds, and they did so despite recording just three shots in the entire third period.

First, a Jack Johnson point shot deflected off of J.T. Compher, who set the screen in front. On the next shift, the Golden Knights turned the puck over at the Colorado blue line, and much like Vegas had done throughout the game, the Avalanche capitalized in transition.

The Golden Knights had held Nathan MacKinnon without a shot on goal (one night after he recorded 14 against Winnipeg), but his first of the game ended up in the back of the net. MacKinnon’s one-timer found twine to give Colorado a 3-2 lead in the blink of an eye at 6:06 of the third.

VGK held the Avalanche without another shot on goal for the rest of the game. Vegas got a critical power play less than two minutes later, setting them up for a perfect opportunity to hit the reset button.

They did not.

In the end, the Golden Knights were unable to recover and lost by a final score of 3-2.

It was a disappointing turn of events, mainly since the Golden Knights played a strong game. One night after the top six accounted for 11 shots and zero goals, both of the Knights’ top two lines got on the board and did so early, setting the tone for a systematic and balanced approach against the best team in the league.

However, the Knights could not give themselves a cushion when it was 2-1 for nearly two full periods of hockey (37:09). The Knights’ power play was an issue once again, and it was particularly glaring tonight; Vegas has now gone 0-for-7 over the last three games.

The Vegas Golden Knights will now host San Jose on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena. They drop the puck at 7:00 pm and can be seen on AT&T Sports Net.

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-DJ Wood– Franchise Sports Media

Follow DJ on Twitter @DJWoody97

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