LAS VEGAS–When the Golden Knights jumped out to a fast 1-0 lead on Thursday, it seemed like the woes of their last 10 game stretch may have been put behind them early on. Unfortunately for Bruce Cassidy’s laboring bunch, the game didn’t end four minutes into the opening period. Even if they thought it did. After taking an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal that supplemented their early first period lead, the Knights gave up three unanswered goals and were promptly outshot 23-7 for the remainder of the first and second periods.
How it happened
The Knights first period goal came four minutes in courtesy of Pavel Dorofeyev after a Mark Stone wrister deflected off Panther’s goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The early advantage would be the only thing to write home about on behalf of another sluggish effort out of the defending champion Knights.
Florida’s Sam Bennett tied the procession at 1-1 14:15 in, taking a ricochet off the back of the boards and working it past Knights’ goalie Logan Thompson for the power play goal after Grigori Denisenko got booked for the Knights on goaltender interference. Oliver Ekman-Larsson got credit for the primary assist as the ricocheted shot came from his stick. The first intermission came with the game knotted at one apiece.
The second period, for lack of a better term was a complete and udder dog walking. Just under six minutes into the middle stanza, William Carrier was sent to the box after being booked for a cross-check on Anton Lundell. This led to a spectacular redirect goal from Florida’s top horse Matthew Tkachuk that gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead that would only grow.
Carter Verhaeghe stretched the Florida lead to 3-1 with just under a minute and a half remaining in the period after cleaning up a Gustav Forsling shot that deflected off Logan Thompson. The Panthers entered the second intermission with a 3-1 advantage.
The third period was a formality. The Knights certainly did nothing to salvage a respectable effort. Florida was able to stretch the final tally to 4-1 on a Sam Reinhart one-timer off a clean feed from Tkachuk.
The Golden Knights are at home again on Saturday night, with puck drop against the Islanders coming at 7 p.m. local time at T-Mobile Arena.