Published Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 | 4:50 p.m.
Updated Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 | 7:58 p.m.
The Golden Knights beat up on the Ducks more than any other franchise in their first four seasons as an NHL franchise.
They extended the trend Friday night in the first game between the two teams in Vegas’ fifth season, but just barely. And not without a late breakdown to overcome.
The Golden Knights improved to 18-3 all-time against the Ducks with a 5-4 shootout victory. Vegas’ Nicholas Roy and Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras each scored as part of the initial three penalty shots to push the shootout to a fourth frame.
Vegas goalie Robin Lehner was able to block a shot by Troy Terry. That led to Evgenii Dadonov scoring his second straight game-winner by weaving one past Ducks goalie John Gibson.
Dadonov’s goal prevented the completion of a late breakdown by Lehner and Vegas’ defense, which allowed scores in front of the net by Troy Terry, Isac Lundestrom and Adam Henrique in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Vegas is now 4-4 on the year with a short break until it heads to Toronto for a Tuesday night game.
The Golden Knights took control three minutes into the game, and despite the late suspense, never trailed. Reilly Smith scored first, handling his own rebound and firing it into the net after first being denied by Gibson at 3:30 of the first period.
Nicolas Hague opened the second period with a rocket from the point out of a faceoff to put the Golden Knights up 2-0. The Ducks appeared to get a goal via a Ryan Getzlaf five-hole wrister a few minutes later, but play had been whistled dead because of a fight between Keegan Kolesar and Josh Manson.
Kolesar landed a couple body shots before both players were sent to the box with five-minute majors. Anaheim got on the board shortly after in the second period, with Trevor Zegras scoring on an Adam Henrique pass from behind the net with four minutes to go in the second period.
Chandler Stephenson then scored less than three minutes into the third period for the Golden Knights on a backhander right in front of Gibson off a roped pass from Jonathan Marchessault. Stephenson set up the next goal, passing to William Carrier for the insurance score.
The collapse commenced from there, but the Golden Knights were able to prevail to win their third straight.
Check back to lasvegassun.com later for more coverage.
Golden Knights have lead going into third period
The Golden Knights are fortunate tonight’s game with the Ducks isn’t tied going into the third period.
Vegas leads 2-1 after Nic Hague fired a slapshot in at 3:52 of the second period out of a faceoff. Anaheim answered eventually when Sonny Milano fed Trevor Zegras from behind the net for a goal at 15:49.
Zegras’ second goal of the year could have been an equalizer if not for what turned out to be a well-timed fight for the Golden Knights. Ryan Getzlaf appeared to go five-hole to score on Robin Lehner earlier in the period, but unbeknownst to most players on the ice, play had been whistled dead for a fight.
Vegas’ Keegan Kolesar and Anaheim’s Josh Manson had dropped the gloves near center ice after a big hit from the latter. Kolesar hit Manson with some big shots to the body, but most importantly for the Golden Knights, the disruption in play ended up causing a goal not to count.
The second period was a lot more competitive than the first, which saw the Golden Knights control possession, and now the third will decide the game.
Reilly Smith scores for Golden Knights in first period
Ducks goalie John Gibson saw nonstop pucks flying his way for the opening 20 minutes at T-Mobile Arena.
Somehow, only one got past him. The Golden Knights lead the Ducks 1-0 at the first intermission off a Reilly Smith goal on a rebound of his own shot at 3:30, but the game hasn’t been nearly as competitive as the score may indicate.
Vegas has a 21-8 shots on goal advantage over Anaheim, which hasn’t spent hardly any time in their offensive zone. The Ducks have Gibson to thank for still being in the game.
The veteran goalie has slipped from a statistical perspective from his peak four or five years ago, but no one would know it after watching the first period. He turned away the Golden Knights in every way imaginable — glove, blocker, diving, staying in position, etc.
Vegas has to like where it stands, but it feels like it perhaps should be in an even more dominant position on the scoreboard.
Spirits were down the last time the Golden Knights played in front of a home crowd.
Vegas extended one of the worst losing streaks in franchise history, dropping a fourth straight via a 2-0 defeat to the Islanders last Sunday. The mood at T-Mobile Arena should be much higher this evening with the Golden Knights returning home after a resilient two-game road trip that saw them upset the Avalanche and Stars on back-to-back nights.
The Golden Knights open the season series with the Anaheim Ducks shortly with their annual early Friday game as part of Nevada Day weekend. The NHL’s late-starting schedule as a result of the pandemic didn’t allow for the tradition last year, but it’s back for the 2021 season.
The Golden Knights are 1-1-1 all-time in the Nevada Day game. They thrashed the Avalanche in their inaugural season before dropping a close loss to the Lightning in 2018 and then falling in overtime to the Canadiens in 2019.
They’ve never been quite this big of a favorite in the Nevada Day spot, though. For the second time this season, the first being an opening-night win over the Kraken, the Golden Knights are more than a 2-to-1 favorite, this time against a lowly Ducks team playing for a second straight night.
Anaheim lost to Buffalo 4-3 in overtime last night, the Ducks’ fourth straight loss. The Golden Knights are still nursing more injuries than any team in the league, headlined by the absences of Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, but are expected to keep building on their win streak tonight.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for updates throughout the game.
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights -220, Ducks +190; over/under: 5.5 (minus-105, minus-115)
Golden Knights (3-4-0, 6 points; 6th place, Pacific Division)
Coach: Pete DeBoer (third season)
Points leaders: Chandler Stephenson (7)
Goals leaders: Chandler Stephenson (3)
Assists leader: Chandler Stephenson (4)
Expected goalie: Robin Lehner (2.87 GAA, .913 save percentage)
Ducks (2-4-2, 6 points; t-7th place, Pacific Division)
Coach: Dallas Eakins (third season)
Points leader: Troy Terry (8)
Goals leader: Rickard Rakell (4)
Assists leader: Jakob Silfverberg, Isac Lundestrom (6)
Expected goalie: John Gison (2.94 GAA, .909 save percentage)
Golden Knights projected lineup
Jonathan Marchessault—William Karlsson—Reilly Smith
Peyton Krebs—Chandler Stephenson—Nicolas Roy
Evgenii Dadonov—Nolan Patrick—Keegan Kolesar
William Carrier—Brett Howden—Mattias Janmark
Nicolas Hague—Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb—Shea Theodore
Daniil Miromanov—Dylan Coghlan
Robin Lehner, Laurent Brossoit