Connect with us



golden knights lightning

Chris O’Meara / AP

Vegas Golden Knights center Ivan Barbashev (49) and Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Brandon Hagel (38) fight during the second period Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, in Tampa, Fla.

It might not matter who’s in net right now for the Golden Knights. Whether it’s a Stanley Cup champion or a young netminder making his fourth career start, there’s no solution for the goals they’re allowing right now.

But that’s the way it is for the time being with Adin Hill and now Logan Thompson out for the immediate future. The Golden Knights were less than two minutes away from at least securing a point with Jiri Patera in net but instead allowed a late goal to lose 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

Lightning forward Nick Paul scored the game-winning goal with 1:13 remaining when he corralled the puck off a Brayden Point shot that was saved by Patera. The puck kicked to Paul below the left circle who then scored far side before Patera could get back to react.

Patera made 30 saves for the first loss of his young NHL career. The No. 3 goalie in the organization has been bumped to top-level duties with Thompson listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury after giving up six goals Tuesday in a 6-3 loss at Carolina.

Jonathan Marchessault scored twice, and Ivan Barbashev scored for the Golden Knights (21-8-5), who lost for the third time in four games and have given up 27 goals in their last six games.

“It was just another one of those games,” said forward Paul Cotter. “Just simple mistakes.”

The Golden Knights couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game. They killed a Barbashev penalty 19 seconds into the game, standing tall against a vaunted Tampa Bay power play that has been historically one of the best.

They kept the pressure on with two goals in the first, first from Marchessault at 11:40, then Barbashev at 16:40 for a 2-0 lead. Most importantly, they played well enough defensively to ensure Patera wasn’t in danger. He stopped all 11 shots in the first, but almost none of them were a bother.

But the second period, much like Tuesday in Carolina, was the Golden Knights’ downfall again.

And much like it has the last three games, the penalty kill came up short again.

The Lightning erupted for four goals in the second period to turn a two-goal Vegas lead into a two-goal deficit. Two of them came on the power play — the first a 5-on-3 goal from Nikita Kucherov, then Brayden Point on the rebound — to give Tampa a 3-2 lead. Point scored his second of the period with 1:10 remaining to take a 4-2 lead into the break.

Tampa Bay scored its last three goals in a span of 2:55.

“We’re too veteran of a group … to let it snowball like that,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.

The Golden Knights rallied to tie it 4-4 before Paul’s goal. Marchessault scored his second of the game at 5:31 of the third, this one on the power play, and Cotter scored for the first time in 11 games at 9:44 for the tying goal.

“I know we deserved better after that (third) period,” Cassidy said. “We did a lot of things well. We probably could’ve gotten the lead late.”

But if not for how the second period unfolded, they wouldn’t have needed to get to that point.

The Golden Knights had to stay out of the box against a Tampa Bay power play that’s third in the league entering Thursday. On the flip side, the penalties that were called were wrong-place, wrong-time infractions.

After Barbashev and Lightning forward Brandon Hagel went to the box for roughing, the Golden Knights were given a power play because Hagel also got served an unsportsmanlike conduct minor. The power play was wiped out 1:12 in when Mark Stone was called for tripping while trying to play a loose puck. Less than a minute later, Nic Roy and Tampa’s Michael Eyssimont were sent off for fighting, giving Tampa that 5-on-3 that led to Kucherov’s goal, and ultimately Point’s first goal.

“We just let the second period get away from us,” said center Jack Eichel, who had two assists to extend his franchise-record point streak to 12 games. “When you take penalties against a power play like that, it’s never easy.”

Putting Patera in that position, against the best team he’s faced in his young NHL tenure, was going to be a problem eventually. It caught up to the Golden Knights once all of that took place.

But it’s the situation the Golden Knights find themselves in with no idea of clarity in sight. Hill was placed on injured reserve before the game, meaning he’s certainly not joining the Golden Knights for Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. It’s the Silver Knights’ tandem for the time being. With a leaky defense, that’s anything but ideal.

“We’re going to take the good from it,” Cassidy said. “We have to address what we need to do better in some of these periods that are getting away from us.”

Danny Webster can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Danny on Twitter at

Article written by #LasVegasSun