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FSM Essential Recap: Golden Knights vs Devils – Game 77

Franchise Sports Media

Golden Knights (41-31-5)  | New Jersey Devils (27-42-7)

 

The Golden Knights allowed the Devils to play spoiler in a 3-2 loss Monday night, putting a major dent in the VGK’s playoff hopes.

Golden Knights vs Devils
Photo Credit: Zak Krill/NHLI/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights blew another opportunity to pick up two points on Monday and fell to the New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-2. Vegas pressed late and scored a goal at 18:46 of the third to make it a one-goal game, but it ultimately was a case of too little too late.

The loss to the Devils, one of the worst teams in the league, does not make sense and will likely serve as a point of reflection as the team looks to rebound for the final stretch of games on the schedule.

This game didn’t have as many special teams battles as we’ve seen in recent Golden Knights games, as both sides went 0 for one on the power play and, conversely, 1 for one on the penalty kill. Failure to execute on the power play could cost Vegas a playoff spot, and it’s mind-boggling that a team with a lot more skill than the Devils could not play a game that would lead to more power-play chances.

In terms of individual statistics, Keegan Kolesar picked up his 7th goal of the season late in the second period to tie things up at 1-1. That tie was short-lived as the Devils scored 3:14 into the third and then again almost five minutes later to make the game 3-1. The goal by Jesper Boqvist was a bit of a back-breaker and appeared to catch Robin Lehner by surprise.

It is a shame because Lehner made some crucial saves on the evening, but unfortunately, not as many as needed. And at this point of the year, the expectations are huge for someone like Lehner, which Pete DeBoer pointed out after the game.

 

While this is an understandable comment to make after a loss, it’s an odd one to make, considering Vegas’ offense couldn’t capitalize on the chances generated.

 

Golden Knights vs Devils
Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

You’d like Lehner to stop the third goal, but the margin for error shouldn’t be that small given the healthy talent currently in the lineup. Chandler Stephenson’s goal off a scramble while Lehner was pulled gave fans some hope that the home team would tie things up, but that much-needed goal never came.

Andrew Hammond deserves a lot of credit for his performance tonight, as he made 42 saves for the Devils, including many late in the game as Vegas pressed to tie things up. He’s back in the NHL after quite a lengthy absence. Before this year, he last appeared in 2017-18, and tonight was just his 8th appearance of the season.

Hammond had a 5.95 goals-against average and a .822 save percentage in games played for the Devils heading into tonight’s game. Still, he looked like the vintage Hamburglar who made an impressive run with the Ottawa Senators during the 2014-15 season. And with that said, yes, it is common for goalies to have these random one-off performances, but at this time of year, the team in front needs to get it done

The Golden Knights had their chances, even though there were large stretches in which the team looked lifeless, but at the end of the day were unable to get the job done against a very beatable opponent.

 

On Wednesday, the Golden Knights are back at the Fortress to take on the Washington Capitals. They drop the puck at 7:00 pm on AT&T Sports Net.

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-DJ Wood– Franchise Sports Media

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