LAS VEGAS — There is no sugar coating the current state of the Golden Knights. Riddled with injuries and general poor play, they entered Saturday’s contest against the Islanders on a skid that saw them lose six out of seven games, and seven of their last nine. The energy the Knights brought to the ice on Saturday was indicative of a team that knew they needed to stop a spiral. It resulted in a win that the team surely hopes will put them back on the right foot for second half of the season.
How it happened
It took just over six minutes for the Golden Knights to draw first blood, thanks to a Jack Eichel goal on a hook-up from Jonathan Marchessault. The goal tied Eichel with Marchessault for the team lead in goals at 17. Needless to say, the usual suspects showed up for the Knights.
The early momentum lasted all of five minutes. Mathew Barzal responded for the Islanders by sneaking the puck past Logan Thompson for a goal that was rewarded retroactively with 8:47 remaining in opening period to even the score at 1-1 after a replay review was triggered.
The rest of the second period went without any more fireworks, in large part due to a great effort in net from Logan Thompson that would extend throughout the game.
The first 17 or so minutes of the middle stanza went relatively quietly, with Thompson continuing his aforementioned strong night in net. Well, quietly until Chandler Stephenson found Pavel Dorofeyev with a feed that resulted in Dorofeyev’s fifth goal of the season to put the Knights up 3-1. Just 90 seconds later, the Knights scored again courtesy of a Nic Roy goal that stood after the Islanders challenged it for goaltender interference.
The Knights held firm for the remaining slice of time in the middle stanza to carry a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
The sentimental highlight on Saturday night came early in the third period, when Lukas Cormier connected with Jack Eichel on the power play goal to tally his first career point on the assist in his NHL debut. The goal gave the Knights a 4-1 lead.
The Islanders quickly responded when Matt Martin collected the rebound of a Casey Cizikas shot that deflected off Logan Thompson and worked the puck past Thompson for their second and final goal of the evening.
The final dagger on behalf of the Knights came shortly after, when Nic Roy scored his second goal of the off of a gift of a turnover from Mat Barzal to set the final score at 5-2 in favor of Vegas.
The Golden Knights are on the road Wednesday, taking on the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST.