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Alex Gallardo / AP

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson, right, blocks a shot as Anaheim Ducks right wing Frank Vatrano, center, and Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud, left, look for the puck during the second period in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023.

Updated 19 minutes ago

Twenty-eight of the 32 NHL teams played on Wednesday in the first action since the three-day Christmas break.

Each team went through the same routine: they had respective morning skate sessions, had their pregame routines, then played a game for the first time since Santa Claus came and went.

Considering all of that, the Golden Knights had an opportune chance to reverse course after allowing 15 goals in three losses before the break. Nothing, at the moment, seems to have changed.

The same issues crept through once again, this time in a more alarming way with the Golden Knights giving up four goals in the first 12 minutes of the game, and losing 5-2 to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center for their fourth straight loss.

“We’ve got to figure this out,” defenseman Alec Martinez said.

Defensive breakdowns have been a constant issue for a team that prides itself on playing well in its own zone, and its goaltender. The Golden Knights have given up 21 goals during this four-game losing streak while scoring just 11.

The Golden Knights didn’t have their legs going in the first period, coach Bruce Cassidy said. The forechecking wasn’t at its best, turnovers in the neutral zone — much like in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Florida — hurt Vegas early.

But at the end of the day, Cassidy seemed blunt in his assessment of what transpired.

“You need saves sometimes,” Cassidy said.

Logan Thompson, who left the Dec. 19 game against Carolina after giving up six goals and suffered an upper-body injury that kept him out the remainder of the road trip, returned to the starter’s crease and allowed four goals on the first nine shots he faced.

Thompson has been gotten more work than usual with Adin Hill dealing with a nagging lower-body injury that has kept him out since the end of November. In his first five starts, he went 4-0-1 and allowed 11 goals. He’s gone 2-3-0 in his last five appearances with 21 goals allowed in that time.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Thompson is dealing with something of his own. He appeared to tweak something on Dec. 17 against Ottawa, the night he relieved Hill after his return lasted just six minutes following a lower-body injury. Two nights later in Carolina, Thompson was on the ledger for six goals allowed.

With a chance to rest Thompson and/or give him a chance to recover, Jiri Patera showed some strong moments in his two starts against the Lightning and Panthers, particularly in the first period, before penalties and defensive breakdowns led to losses against both teams.

Cassidy made it clear he didn’t want to put the sole blame on the goaltending situation. That it’s a combination of the Golden Knights not playing stronger near their net, and whomever the goalie is needs to make saves.

“I don’t want this to turn into a s— -all-over-the-goalies postgame, but we do need to fix that part of our game and we need to fix our play in front of them,” he said.

Both parts can be true. The Golden Knights were at their best when Hill was healthy, with the Stanley Cup hero going 10-2-2 in 15 appearances. He was producing Vezina Trophy-caliber numbers before his injury, and the Golden Knights were reaping the benefits. Hill allowed three goals or more in just four of his starts.

But this is also a team that, with the exception of Shea Theodore, is near full health and rotated through five different goalies last season to win the Stanley Cup. In their last eight games, the Golden Knights have allowed at least three goals.

“That’s not what we do,” Martinez said. “I think that’s a lack of attention to detail, not playing a team game. I think we’ve been disconnected. I think we’ve got to play more together as five and support each other all over the ice.”

Having played 36 games, as has been the case all season, there’s no time for the Golden Knights (21-10-5) to figure this out. They return home to T-Mobile Arena on Thursday for a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Kings (7 p.m., Vegas 34) with not enough of leeway to stop the bleeding.

Cassidy declined Wednesday morning to name a starting goalie against the Kings. Now with another struggling night for Thompson, any option is on the table. That might include giving Patera another tough opponent to face.

As for what the Golden Knights need to try and do on this quick turnaround, he posed a simple option.

“We have to keep the puck out of our net. (The Kings) are very good at it,” Cassidy said. “We’ve got to be harder in front of our net. Those are the things that need to be done. There’s a lot of things we need to hit on, and there’s not a lot of time.”

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

Article written by #LasVegasSun