Las Vegas – The Vegas Golden Knights looked to get back to their winning ways on their home ice at T-Mobile Arena on a wintry Wednesday night that saw significant snowfall in Las Vegas as they welcomed in the red hot Boston Bruins. Vegas entered the game having came up on the wrong end of the final score in 7 of their last 10 games, while the Bruins had been on the opposite end of the spectrum, having won eight of the last 10 times they took the ice. Both teams played at a phenomenal pace, and the home crowd was definitely pleased by the resiliency displayed by the home team, as they twice fought back from one goal deficits to even things up. However, even despite the admirable effort put forth by a valiant Marc-Andre Fleury and centreman William Karlsson, the hometown Knights would come eventually come up short as hard-luck losers in the shootout, after playing the streaking Bruins on even terms through 65 minutes.
Jake DeBrusk opened the scoring as he took a centering pass from linemate David Krejci and maneuvered his way around the Knights’ defense by employing his own version of the old Savardian Spin-a-rama once made famous by Denis Savard and then slotting the shot past Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to put the home team at an early one goal disadvantage.
Reilly Smith would bring the Knights back to even terms, pouncing on a loose puck following a Cody Eakin shot from the point, and sliding the puck pask Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak for his 10th goal of the season at 18:24 of the first period.
The game’s second twenty minutes would see each team generate multiple scoring opportunities, only to come up short. The Bruins came out strong, but Fleury would deny Danton Heinen on back-to-back shots. Later it was Alex Tuch who made a nice centering pass to Paul Stastny who was unfortunately unable to convert. Vegas’ best chance at scoring in the 2nd period came when a pass sent a streaking William Karlsson in all alone, but he would be stoned by Havlat on the breakaway attempt.
After successfully killing off yet another Boston power play, Eakin continued his impressive play, but his quick snap shot from the point was handled by Havlat. Havlat’s solid play in goal would continue when he would once again deny Eakin’s one-timer, this time with a with a nice glove save. Moments later, it was Holden with the slapper that Oscar Lindberg redirected from the doorstep, and yet again Havlat was somehow able to come up with the stop, despite all of the traffic in front on the Bruins’ net. Havlat would also come up big again in denying Brandon Pirri’s wrister as time wound down in the 2nd period. All in all, despite peppering Havlat with 12 shots in the frame, the Knights couldn’t notch another goal, and entered the 3rd period knotted at a goal a piece.
Brad Marchand would break the seal on the Golden Knights’ goal as his one-timer off a Dalton Heinen pass just snuck past Fleury, and give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
However, Nate Schmidt would respond and bring things back even mere moments later, as he undressed Bruins’ defenceman Charlie McAvoy on the way to scoring his 7th goal of the season, which was assisted by Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault.
With just over 5 minutes remaining in the 3rd period Karlsson would again have a golden opportunity, and he just narrowly missed scoring the go-ahead goal as he beat Havlat on the blocker side, but was unlucky as the biscuit rang off the post. Statsny also had a good opportunity, but Havlat was able to stack the pads and deny attempt at goal.
The game remained knotted at one goal a piece after 60 minutes of regulation play. Vegas bench boss Gerard Galant elected to start the overtime with a trio consisting of Shea Theodore, Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty, but it was Fleury that would again be the difference, as he stacked the pads and snuffed out a Marchand snap shot, bringing all of the 18,222 fans in attendance to their feet in appreciation. The crowd was once again energized as the Bruins were finally called for a penalty of their own, being penalized for being caught with two many men on the ice. Vegas was unable to capitalize with the extra attacker, as Statsny won the draw on the offensive end, but Schmidt’s subsequent shot was off the mark.
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In the penalty shootout, Pirri would open things up for Vegas, and would get stoned by Havlat. DeBrusk was the first shooter for the Bruins, and he went high to beat Fleury. Next up was Karlsson, who deked his way in and was able to beat Havlat.
Bergeron was next up for Boston, and he went forehand, but was was stoned by Fleury.
Bruins’ perennial All-Star Brad Marchand would go third for the Bruins, and his backhand attempt was turned away by Fleury.
Marchessault went next but his wrister was saved by Havlat.
Denton Henie went next, but Fleury was somehow able to stop him with a miraculous sprawling save across the crease
Havlat next turned away Shea Theodore’s shot. After the next two shooters were also turned away, Boston’s David Backus took the puck for Boston and ended up scoring the game winner, as he was able to beat Fleury with the forehand.
The Golden Knights next take the ice on Friday when they host the Winnipeg Jets at 7:00 pm for T-Mobile Arena.
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