Eichel ends it in overtime as VGK extends streak to 4
Center Jack Eichel picked up two points and was the difference in an overtime win for the Vegas Golden Knights over the Winnipeg Jets.
Vegas needed an extra four minutes and 54 seconds to beat Winnipeg, 2-1, Sunday, Oct. 30 from the T-Mobile Arena. It’s the team’s second win over the Jets in the last 10 days.
“I think it's good for your overall confidence and demeanor of your team,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “When clearly you’ve outplayed the opposition yet you haven’t seemed to find a way to get it in.”
That ended a two-game homestand as the VGK extended its win streak to four games and five in the last six. The team improves to 8-2-0 on the season.
“I feel like I’m playing well,” goalie Adin Hill said. “I think the guys in front of me did a great job. When you look at those first two periods tonight, it’s pretty hard to find any fault in our game.”
In addition, the team has picked up 16 of a possible 20 points to start the new year.
“We can always be better in certain areas,” Cassidy said. “But [when] you win eight out of 10 games – I don’t think in those eight, we stole any.”
Currently, the Knights sit atop the Pacific Division, four points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and six points ahead of the three teams tied for third.
Now, Vegas will embark on a five-game road trip that will span 11 days. That will tie the second-longest stretch away from home of the year for the Knights.
The tour begins with a date against the Washington Capitals Tuesday, Nov. 1. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m.
All three goals in this game came in the third period and later as the VGK participated in its first overtime game of the season.
Eichel handled the puck by himself for the game-winning goal, whirling his way around the net for a better vantage point.
“I saw him come up towards the blue line and turn and I thought he might’ve had it to the net,” Hill said. “Because he’s a powerful skater and I saw him drive the net then I couldn’t see anything then I saw him slide the puck in the far side.” In 13 games played against Winnipeg in his career, Eichel has recorded 11 points including seven goals. Two of those goals have been game-winners.
For the vast majority of the night, Vegas had the pressure on opposing goalie Connor Hellebuyck. The attack sent 48 shots in the direction of Hellebuyck for his 46 saves.
The Knights pumped out 15 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes of action. During those 20 minutes, the VGK had two power play opportunities, falling short on both attempts.
In the second period, Vegas got another chance at the power play which was killed again by the visitors.
“We want to be a team that transitions and scores and attacks,” Cassidy said. “Are the goal numbers as high as what we’ve actually done on the ice? No, but I look at a night like tonight and those are going to go in down the road.”
Both teams combined to go 0-for-4 on the power play as Winnipeg’s lone third period chance was spoiled.
By the 11:45-mark of the second period, Hellebuyck and Hill had a combined 33 saves with six coming from the latter.
“It’s kind of tough to stay in there at times,” Hill said of the limited action early. “You just have to stay focused on the game. I thought the guys played a wonderful game tonight. I thought we should have had a lot more goals than we did.”
About three quarters of the way through the second period, Hill started to see pressure. He even avoided near disaster but literally had to lay out for a stop.
“I don’t know, I just kind of felt it,” he said. “I just tried to secure it so I just tried to lay down and hoped it was good.”
That pressure from that period continued after the second intermission as the Jets lit the lamp 14 seconds into the final 20-minutes.
“Honestly, there was no panic,” Cassidy said. “We were playing very, very well. They outplayed us for 30 seconds and they had the lead.”
When the team needed it the most, captain Mark Stone took the assist from Eichel to tie the game at one apiece seven minutes later. That marked his third goal of the season on his way to his second two-point game of the season.
“He is our captain, he is our emotional leader out there,” Hill said. “So when he scores that big goal after we had a few bad bounces and a big couple of saves by [the other] goalie, it’s huge to see that puck go through the net.”
Hill finished with 24 saves. He and teammate Logan Thompson now have the lowest combined goals against average of any two-goalie duo in the NHL.
“Logan’s played six and Adin has played four,” Cassidy said. “I’ll be upfront, that was our plan and we were going to stick with it unless something really went haywire.”