LAS VEGAS–The Golden Knights’ bad fortunes continued to mount hours before Saturday’s 7 p.m. puck drop against the Flames. Jack Eichel, who left Thursday’s game with an injury in the second period before returning for the third, wasn’t present for the morning skate and was subsequently ruled out for Saturday’s game with no determined timetable for his return. His absence was glaring in the Knights 3-1 loss, as the Knights were unable to get anything going offensively and in turn looked sluggish on the defensive end also.
How it happened
Both teams held serve for the first eleven minutes of the opening period. That was before Calgary’s Blake Coleman snuck the puck underneath Logan Thompson’s right leg after Thompson deflected a shot from Mikael Backlund. Backlund in turn was given credit for the primary assist while Rasmus Andersson got the secondary.
Bad turned to worse for the Golden Knights just two minutes later when Nazem Kadri pushed the puck past Logan Thompson amidst a chaotic scrum in front of the net. Connor Zary got primary assist credit on the goal as he pitched the puck into the crease, allowing Kadri to do his thing in the rubble.
The Knights managed to clot the bleeding for the remainder of the period and went to the locker room for the first intermission down 2-0.
The Knights brought more energy to the period and even had some good chances on net. The big one being a Pavel Dorofeyev snipe that pinged off the crossbar and careened back onto the ice. At that point, it was obvious what side the puck luck was on and it wasn’t with the Knights.
Mikael Backlund stuck what ended up being an early dagger in the back of the Golden Knights after being led to the goal by an Andrew Mangiapane feed that landed on a dime. The assist was good for Mangiapane’s 200th NHL point.
The Knights tried their best to pull the dagger out of their back in the third period and mount a comeback from the afterlife. Chandler Stephenson finally broke the Knights out of their slumber by burying a feed by Mark Stone from behind the net.
The Golden Knights momentum continued to build, leading to a powerplay chance a few minutes later after Martin Pospisil was sent to the box for grabbing Mark Stone’s visor during an extra-curricular scrum. However, the Flames killed off the period with relative ease and bled out the remainder of the clock for a 3-1 victory.
The Golden Knights play at home again on Monday afternoon in their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee game. Puck drop is slated for 3 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena.