Ducks outlast Knights in shootout
The Vegas Golden Knights fell short of victory Wednesday, Dec. 28 as they were defeated by the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2, in a shootout. This is the second straight road game that Vegas has been held to under three goals scored.
This goes down as only the second overtime loss of the season for the Golden Knights. Before Wednesday’s game, the last time the Knights lost a game in overtime was back on Nov. 19 when they lost in Edmonton 4-3.
For the first time all season, the Knights made a goalie change mid-game. Goaltender Adin Hill got the start for Vegas, but after two goals allowed on five shots, Hill was pulled and Logan Thompson was put in net with 7:34 to play in the first period.
“We changed goalies and I’m not a huge proponent of that, but something seemed off,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “When you play back-to-backs, we’re always going to play two goalies typically and he should be the most prepared guy on the team since he didn’t play the night before. That’s not what I saw so we went in a different direction.”
Coming into Wednesday’s contest, Anaheim was tied for the second least number of points in the NHL along with being one of two teams to have single digit wins on the season. Wednesday’s game was the tenth win of the year for Anaheim who is still last in the Pacific Division at 10-22-4.
On the other hand, Vegas extended their division lead over the Kings by one point as the Knights now hold a four-point lead over LA in the Pacific Division.
Thompson did not allow a goal in any of the 22 shots he faced the remainder of regulation and overtime.
This was the fourth game this season that has gone to a shootout for the Knights. They are now 3-1 in shootouts after Wednesday’s game and are 7-2 overall in overtime and shootout games.
Defenseman Ben Hutton was put in the lineup in place of defenseman Alec Martinez who missed Wednesday’s game with an injury. Hutton didn’t seem to skip much of a beat as he came in and scored the game-tying goal with 6:28 to go in the second period which tied the game at two.
Martinez suffered an injury in Tuesday’s game against the Kings. Cassidy didn’t say what the injury was, but that Martinez would miss Wednesday’s game and that the team would re-evaluate him when they get back to Vegas.
Wednesday’s game marked the final home game of 2022 for the Vegas Golden Knights. The team returns home for a New Year’s Eve matchup against the Nashville Predators. Puck drop is set for 12 p.m.
The Golden Knights tied a season-high for shots in a game with 51 shots against Anaheim goalie John Gibson. He finished his evening with 49 saves on 51 shots faced for a final save percentage of .961.
“It might take two or three chances to score some nights on a guy if that’s what’s in front of us and that’s what it was,” Cassidy said. “We got some traffic around the net; we certainly fired a lot of shots at the net.”
The only other time Vegas had 51 shots in a game was in the season opener back on Oct.11 against the Kings.
“Those games are frustrating where you feel like you did a lot but just couldn’t find a way to score,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said.
While the Vegas power play was not able to generate a power play goal in this one, the penalty kill made sure to light up the lamp. Captain Mark Stone scored a shorthanded goal unassisted with 6:45 to go in the first period to cut into the two-goal lead Anaheim had built.
“We can’t leave those games up to chance against a team like that,” Stone said. “You look at their roster and look at the way their winning games, they win their games in shootouts. 50+ shots we’ve got to find a way to score more than two goals.”
Each team had five power play opportunities and neither one was able to get a power play goal against the other.