The Vegas Golden Knights lost the first of what is a four-game road trip, 6-5, in overtime to the New Jersey Devils inside the confines of Prudential Center Monday night. The game-winning goal was off the stick of right-winger Tyler Toffoli who finished the game with a trio of goals for the hat trick.
“When the players go over the boards, they make decisions with the puck,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ve talked about that enough and it’s getting to the point of the season where we need to be better. We basically played a beer league game out there and thought it was preseason.
“We didn’t defend our structure or principles at all. The plays we made up to the last goal were careless and disrespectful to the game. At the end of the day, we lose and that’s what we deserve if we’re going to play like that.”
It is the sixth overtime loss of the season for the Golden Knights who now have a record of 27-14-6, good for 60 points in the Pacific Division. Vegas trails the division-leading Vancouver Canucks by six points after Monday’s game.
Monday was the first of two scheduled meetings between these teams. They’ll meet once again on St. Patrick’s Day inside the T-Mobile Arena.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Golden Knights as they’ll make the hour bus ride over the New York/New Jersey border to Elmont, New York to play the New York Islanders on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Puck drop is set for 4:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.
Vegas won the first matchup 5-2 back earlier this month and will be looking to complete the season sweep Tuesday night.
Monday’s game was all about the momentum swings and runs. Vegas grabbed the early 1-0 lead off the stick of left-winger Pavel Dorofeyev who scored on a two-on-one opportunity. This was his second straight game of scoring a goal and his seventh of the year which ties a career-high for him.
That goal was countered by three straight New Jersey goals between the later stages of the first period and beginning of the second period.
Facing a two-goal deficit, Vegas responded with not one, two, or three goals but managed to squeeze out four straight goals to go from trailing by two to leading by two. The Devils responded that four-goal run with 15 seconds to go in the middle period by lighting the lamp in what would be the first of three straight unanswered goals en route to the overtime win on home ice.
“It was one of those games where it was going back and forth,” center Ivan Barbashev said. “We gave them chances, they gave us chances. That’s basically how it went all night.”
Toffoli wasn’t the only three-point scorer on the night. Vegas right-winger Jonathan Marchessault netted a pair of goals and assisted on another one in his three-point effort. Marchessault extended his goal scoring streak to four games on Monday night and has scored five goals during that four-game stretch. This four-game goal streak ties the longest of his career.
Marchessault is now up to six multiple-goal games this season which is one shy of the team lead held by teammate William Karlsson. The 26 career multi-goal games by Marchy are the most by any VGK player.
Matching Marchessault and Toffoli, center Nicolas Roy grabbed his second career three-point game with a goal and two assists in Monday’s contest.
“I don’t think it was our worst game,” Roy said. “I think we had a lot of time in our offensive zone. When you look at their offense, they have guys that are fast. They are going to make plays especially on the rush. We had way too many turnovers. We talked about it before the game but we have to be better in that aspect.”
Captain Mark Stone extended his point streak to six-games on Monday which is tied for the longest in his career and center Chandler Stephenson also tied a career-long point streak Monday, registering at least one point in his fifth straight game.
Both goalies Logan Thompson and Vitek Vanecek had save percentages of less than .850 as both teams traded goals like kids traded training cards at recess.
Cassidy did mention before Monday’s game that he felt injured goaltender Adin Hill could be ready to start in Tuesday’s game against the Islanders to help give some relief to Thompson who has now started nine of the last ten games for the Golden Knights.