Video Credit: NHL

FSM Essential Recap: Golden Knights vs Bruins – Game 55

Franchise Sports Media

Golden Knights (30-21-4)  | Boston Bruins (24-24-6)

 

The Vegas Golden Knights were no match for the Boston Bruins, who took home a 5-2 win Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Golden Knights vs Bruins
Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/NHLI/Getty Images

The Golden Knights were coming off a win against San Jose and were hoping to win consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 8, but it was not in the cards last night.

Las Vegas tempted fate and played with fire throughout the game, and Boston made them pay time and time again. Vegas also suffered another injury, as Brayden McNabb left the game in the second period with a possible hand injury. He did not return.

But last night’s game did mark the return of a few familiar faces, including Tomas NosekErik Haula recorded two assists against his former team as one of four Bruins with a multi-score effort on the night.

Craig Smith recorded his third career hat trick, and David Pastrnak scored twice for Boston (Trent Frederic recorded three assists). Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman made some big saves to keep the Golden Knights off the board when they did manage to get some chances; he finished with 34 saves on 36 shots for his fifth straight win.

His best was on Reilly Smith on a Vegas power play in the second period.

Robin Lehner followed up that save with two huge stops of his own. He made several key saves throughout the game, but second-, third- and fourth-chance opportunities plagued the Golden Knights in the end.

The opening goal is one Lehner should have had, though.

The Golden Knights turned the puck over in the neutral zone, setting up a 3-on-2 for Boston; Craig Smith beat Lehner short-side to make it 1-0 just over 13 minutes into the game.

 

Craig Smith added his second of the game nearly a whole period later, making it 2-0 at 11:18 of the middle frame.

 

Golden Knights vs Bruins
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

Eichel cut the deficit to one with his second goal of the year and first on home ice. It came with under three minutes left in the second period. It appeared to be an absolute dandy, but he lost control of the puck before it slid past Swayman. An ill-timed line change for the Bruins set up the play, and Eichel showed a burst of speed and skill he had yet to display. He continues to improve but is not yet the Jack Eichel of old.

Pastrnak scored a critical goal to make it 3-1 just over eight minutes into the third. He came streaking in and went five-hole; while Lehner stopped the initial shot, Pastrnak poked it through his pads to extend Boston’s lead to two. That proved to be the game-winning goal.

Craig Smith completed the hat trick 6:25 later, making it 4-1 at 14:39 of the third.

Lehner collided with Zach Whitecloud in the crease, which prevented him from getting over in time after coming out to stop Brad Marchand’s initial shot. It was that kind of night for Vegas.

Marchessault made it 4-2 with 3:22 remaining in the third period, but it was too little, too late for the Knights, who have now lost six of their last eight games. Pastrnak officially put the game away at 18:20 of the third with an empty-net tally. Vegas could have won this hockey game. The Golden Knights trailed 2-1 after two and could have come out with a dominant effort in the third.

They did not. Vegas had just six scoring chances in the final frame. The Golden Knights generated little to no offense for most of the game and the effort certainly did not reflect Vegas’ current situation in the standings.

The Golden Knights are now tied with Edmonton for third place in the Pacific Division with 64 points in 55 games after Edmonton’s 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago. The Golden Knights not only surrendered their minimal cushion but also failed to take advantage of another Los Angeles loss last night.

Vegas cannot continue on the current path if it hopes to push for the playoffs. The fact that the team may have a new injury doesn’t help matters, but there is enough talent on this roster to win some games.

The team effort was not there tonight; it could have been a blowout if not for some of Lehner’s saves. For much of a critical third period, the Golden Knights played as though they were trying not to blow a one-goal lead, even though they never led in this game.

They only took one penalty, which was a positive. Still, they failed to capitalize on either of their power plays (ironically taken by Haula and Nosek), one of which came early in the third period.

A goal at that point would have been a game-changer, but the Golden Knights continue to struggle with the man-advantage, something Pete DeBoer addressed following the game.

The Knights cannot expect to win hockey games with performances like last night’s, especially against better teams. Vegas is slowly but surely running out of runway.

Whether or not McNabb will be available for the next game remains to be seen. DeBoer did not have a clear update following the game, saying that McNabb is being evaluated and “getting pictures.”

But Marchessault’s message was evident in his postgame interview: injuries are not an excuse.

 

The Vegas Golden Knights will now travel to Anaheim to take on the Ducks Friday Night. 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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