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VGK falls to Florida

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jiri Patera (30) defends the goal against Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Golden Knights’ penalty kill failed them once again, and it’s becoming problematic.

After killing their first three penalties of the game, the Golden Knights gave up back-to-back power-play goals in the third period in a 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla. on Saturday.

Vegas’ penalty kill woes cap off a consistent theme during this three-game road trip which it went winless heading into the Christmas break. The Golden Knights gave up nine power-play goals on this road trip, turning a top-five penalty killing unit into anything but that in recent days.

Mark Stone and Pavel Dorofeyev scored, and Jiri Patera made 38 saves — 20 of them in the first period — to hand the Golden Knights (21-9-5) their third straight loss. Vegas was outscored 15-9 on this southeastern road trip that included losses at Carolina on Tuesday and Tampa Bay on Thursday.

It was the first time the Golden Knights and Panthers played since June when Vegas beat Florida in five games to capture the Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights dominated that series, outscoring the Panthers 26-12.

The Panthers had the first 15 shots of the game, and the Golden Knights didn’t register their first shot of the game until late in the first period — a 183-foot clearing attempt from defenseman Nic Hague. Vegas had three shots total in the first, all from defensemen — two from Hague, one from Alex Pietrangelo. The average distance of those three shots was 100.6 feet. 

Patera did more than his part while his teammates couldn’t find their footing. He ended up stopping all 20 shots in the period while seeing eight high-danger chances. The Panthers out-attempted the Golden Knights 39-6 in the opening frame.

Vegas rewarded its goalie with some goal support 1:21 into the second period when Stone, alone in front, received a pass from Barbashev and beat Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky for a 1-0 lead.

But the second period problems that have been evident through this road trip arrived again. The Golden Knights allowed two goals in the middle frame, giving up nine in the second period in all three games. Sam Bennett tied it at 8:58, and Gustav Forsling gave the Panthers the lead at 15:16.

In need of a play, the Golden Knights got one from their newly extended defenseman. Ben Hutton won a battle along the left board, cut to the center of the ice and found Pavel Dorofeyev with 22 seconds left in the period to tie it 2-2.

But for the second straight game, while all signs pointed to some sort of improvement, the Golden Knights broke down once again. Christmas is coming at the right time with some much-needed time off, but there’s going to be some coal in the stocking for the time being.

Check back later for updates on the Golden Knights’ third straight loss.

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

Article written by #LasVegasSun