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Vegas drops road trip opener to Florida

The Vegas Golden Knights found themselves on the losing end of the first of a five-game road trip for the team as they lost to the Florida Panthers 2-1 in Sunrise, FL.

“It was probably our start even though we got out of it 1-0 thanks to [goaltender] Adin [Hill],” head coach Bruce Cassidy said about what contributed to the loss. “It’s like Jersey again. We didn’t protect the slot. We didn’t execute on the breakout at all. We were chasing the game the whole night and never caught up to it.”

Vegas never led in this game and found themselves down 2-0 less than 25 minutes into the game. With just under seven minutes to go in the second period, defenseman Shea Theodore was able to get Vegas on the scoreboard and make it a 2-1 deficit but the road squad could not draw any closer.

“I thought we played great in the second and third [periods],” Theodore said. “But you definitely need better starts down the stretch.”

Theodore’s goal was his eighth of the season and came on the power play. Center Jack Eichel and right-winger Reilly Smith assisted on the goal giving them their 26th and 21st points on the year respectively.

“I thought we turned the puck over too many times,” Smith said. “When we did have opportunities we didn’t capitalize.”

Florida recorded eight takeaways in this one compared to zero for Vegas. The Panthers also committed nine giveaways compared to 15 for the Golden Knights.

In addition, Florida out-hit Vegas 26-11 for the game with a lot of those hits coming on the forecheck.

Vegas was able to kill off both penalties they faced for a perfect night on the penalty kill unit while the power play unit went 1-4 on the man advantage for the visitors.

The next time the Golden Knights hit the ice will be on Thursday night in Tampa, FL when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning from Amalie Arena. Puck drop in that one is set for 4 p.m. and can be seen on AT&T Sportsnet in Las Vegas or ESPN+ nationwide.

Vegas will be looking to get back on the winning track and go for the season sweep of the Lightning on Thursday as the Golden Knights were victorious in their opening matchup back on Feb.18 in what was a 5-4 win for the Knights.

This loss for the Golden Knights runs their record to 38-20-6 on the season with 82 points in the Pacific Division. Vegas is now tied with Los Angeles for the top spot in the division while Seattle and Edmonton are tied for the second spot with 78 points each.

As mentioned earlier, Hill was a big reason why this game stayed as close as was, having a busy night between the pipes. Hill finished the game saving 40 of the 42 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .952.

Hill opposition Sergei Bobrovsky saved 31 of the 32 Vegas shots on goal for a final save percentage of .969 in the narrow win for the Panthers.

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