The New York Rangers defended their home ice Friday night inside the confines of Madison Square Garden and handed the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-1 loss, their third straight loss.
“Frustration is a useless emotion,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You have to play through it and find a way to help the team win.”
Coming into this game, Vegas had lost 4-1 to the Arizona Coyotes and 3-2 in overtime to the New Jersey Devils. Friday’s loss now means that Vegas has only picked up one out of a possible six points on this six-game road trip that runs through the NHL All-Star break.
Friday’s loss means that the Golden Knights have now dropped six of their last seven games and in that seven-game span, the team has managed to only pick up three of a possible 14 points in the standings.
This loss now gives the Golden Knights a 29-18-3 record on this season with 61 points in the Pacific Division. LA leads the division with 62 points with Seattle sitting in second place with 61 points. Seattle currently holds the tiebreaker over Vegas.
The Golden Knights currently have a six point cushion between them and Colorado who holds the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Vegas plays one more game before hitting the NHL All-Star break next week. The Knights are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 28 against the New York Islanders. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. and can be seen on AT&T Sportsnet in Las Vegas or ESPN+ nationwide.
Friday’s game marked the 400th career game as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights for centers Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson. Marchessault talked about there being a lack of production amongst the top lines for the Golden Knights recently.
“That’s probably why we’re losing a lot of games right now,” Marchessault said. “We have to show up, we have to find ways to produce. It’s adversity that a lot of hockey players face and you have to get out of it quick. Lucky for us, we have a game tomorrow.”
The Golden Knights also got a little bit healthier for Friday’s game as defenseman Shea Theodore and left-wing William Carrier made their way back into the Vegas starting lineup. Theodore missed the last 20 games while Carrier missed the last five games as they were both recovering from injury.
“We had a couple of good 2-on-1’s,” Carrier said. “[We had] a couple power plays that we should bury. At the end of the day, [we] just have to get gritty.”
Vegas continued to struggle in the first period Friday as they found themselves giving up the first goal of the contest for the third game in a row and eighth time in the last nine games.
Left-wing Chris Kreider put his 20th goal of the season past VGK goalie Adin Hill with 3:52 to play in the opening period for the game’s first goal. Just over three minutes later, center Vincent Trocheck made it a 2-0 game heading into the second period.
Hill made his first start in three games and finished his night saving 36 of the 39 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .923. Opposing goalie Jaroslav Halak came up with 33 saves on 34 shots faced for a final save percentage of .971.
Center Phil Kessel scored his second goal in three games and his ninth of the season just under five minutes into the second period in what would be the lone goal of the night for Vegas.
This goal for Kessel puts him into a tie for 99th all-time in career NHL goals with 408 goals in the Ironman’s career.
The combo of center Filip Chytil and left-winger Jimmy Vesey put the dagger into the Golden Knights as they made it a 3-1 and 4-1 hockey game respectively.