Vegas blows two goal lead, lose close one in Pittsburgh
The Vegas Golden Knights blew a two-goal, first period lead to the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday, Dec. 1 as they lost, 4-3. Vegas is now 1-1-0 on this four-game road trip.
“They played behind us all night,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We didn’t handle their pressure below the goal line very well.”
With the loss, Vegas is now 17-7-1 on the season with 35 points in the Pacific Division. Vegas still holds the division lead, but Seattle has closed the deficit down to four points.
The next time the Golden Knights will hit the ice is on Saturday as they will take on the Detroit Red Wings inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. It will mark the third of this four-game road trip for Vegas. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. and can be seen on AT&T Sportsnet in Vegas or on ESPN+ nationwide.
All the Pittsburgh goals came in the second and third periods while Vegas was only able to score one more time in the final 40 minutes of play.
The Vegas defense did not do goaltender Logan Thompson many favors in this game as Pittsburgh finished the game with 47 shots on goal, putting a lot of pressure on him most of the evening. While there were not any goals allowed in the first, Vegas gave up 18 shots to Pittsburgh, the most they have given up to an opponent in the first period all season.
Thompson finished his night with 43 saves on 47 shots faced for a final save percentage of .915. The 43 saves is a new career-high for Thompson.
After getting hit in the face with a puck against Columbus on Monday, center Jack Eichel came into this game stitched up and wearing a full-face mask helmet for added protection. Eichel got his night started with a bang when he scored the game’s opening goal to give Vegas the early 1-0 lead.
The VGK special teams had an exceptional opening period as the penalty kill was able to kill off the only penalty that they faced in the opening 20 minutes. The penalty kill did give up a goal in the third period when Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel scored to tie the game at three.
The power play found the back of the net when right-wing Reilly Smith scored with five seconds remaining on VGK’s only power play opportunity in the first. Vegas struck again on the power play early when defenseman Shea Theodore scored less than two minutes into the third.
This is the third time this season that the power play for the Golden Knights has scored two or more times in a game.
Smith and Eichel are the team’s top two goal scorers and it is only the second game this year that both have scored in the same game. The other game was Nov. 18 against Toronto.
“We have to do a better job as a five-man unit of getting pucks out and not giving them second chances,” Smith said.
Pittsburgh’s constant pressure on the Vegas defense finally paid off for the Penguins in the second period. Pittsburgh was able to erase the Golden Knights’ lead and tie the game at two going into the final period.
By the end of the second period, the Penguins had 33 shots on goal compared to 21 for the Knights.
“A couple of mistakes ended up getting us,” Theodore said. “They’re a good team, they’re gonna capitalize on some of our turnovers.”
Left-wing Brock McGrinn and right-wing Rickard Rakell accounted for both Pittsburgh goals in the second. McGrinn scored less than three minutes into the period while Rakell scored with less than seven minutes to go in the middle frame.