Several unsuccessful power play attempts sunk the Vegas Golden Knights in the team’s latest outing, losing their first home game of the new year.
Vegas was ousted, 3-2, by the defending champion, Colorado Avalanche Saturday, Oct. 22 from the T-Mobile Arena.
“The power play was functioning,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “The disappointing part was the third period. We really needed those timely goals right? It happened a little bit in Calgary where theirs was just a little bit better than ours and the same tonight.”
The Knights have lost four of their last five regular season home games to the Avs. Moreover, Vegas has lost two of its last three games this season and are now 4-2-0 on the year, still tied with Calgary for first place in the Pacific Division just one game back in the loss column.
The team will conclude its three-game homestand with a Monday, Oct. 24 matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Vegas has allowed power play goals in three of the team’s last four games including two in this one.
Not even five minutes into the game, defenseman Shea Theodore was whistled for a tripping penalty that came on a one-on-one break. Forty seconds later, Colorado capitalized on that goal.
Coming into the game, the Avalanche were nearly 47% on the power play this season, best in the NHL. On the other hand, the Knights are 78.6 on the penalty kill, a full percentage point below the league average.
Goalie Logan Thompson picked up 22 saves on the night for a .880 save rate. Two of the three goals he allowed came on power play opportunities. The lone full strength goal he gave up came with less than 12 minutes left in regulation.
“I wasn’t happy with our puck-management,” Cassidy said. “Now you’re giving it to a team that’s really dangerous, they [came] in here off a loss last night at home so you know you’ve got to be ready to go.
“That was, I guess, the disappointing part. That they were able to outplay us in our building against a really good hockey club.”
Vegas went 1-for-4 in its own right in power play scenarios after starting 1-for-1.
That first successful conversion came off the stick of center Jonathan Marchessault off assists from center Jack Eichel and captain Mark Stone. That also marked the fifth goal of the first month of the season.
“We wanted to get the puck inside some more for some second chances,” Cassidy said. “The first goal was just a puck-recovery, smart play by Stoney in the bumper to a guy that can finish.”
Prior to puck drop, the Knights were 3-for-19 on the power play this season, good for 19th in the league.
The combination of Eichel and Stone also assisted on the full-strength goal from center Chandler Stephenson in the third period. Both Eichel and Stone picked up assists three and four apiece in this one.
However, those other three failed power play opportunities proved to be the difference.
Vegas was awarded a two-minute power play after Colorado was called for holding more than halfway through the second period. The Avs were whistled for a second penalty of the second period, this time hooking, with one second to go in the frame.
Starting the third with a golden opportunity, The Golden Knights had moment after moment pass them by.
“It probably ends up being the difference,” Cassidy said. “Like I said, I think our power play did really good things early on in the first two. [We] really should’ve had two goals, I thought. Then we got a little impatient in the third period.”
Two late shots by Vegas hit the pipe where Colorado’s Alexandar Georgiev was posted up all night. The Knights won the shots-on-goal battle, 35-25, after starting the game down 11-2.