Third period collapse costs Golden Knights in 5-4 OT loss to Predators

Christopher Hanewinc-USA TODAY
The Golden Knights seemingly had two points in the bag on Tuesday night against the Predators in Nashville, until they didn’t.

The Golden Knights were on the verge of perhaps their biggest win of the entire regular season on Tuesday night, leading 4-1 at the second intermission after having taken an early 3-0 lead in the first period.

And then they weren’t. 

In a collapse that was only fitting for how this season has gone so far, the Knights proceeded to give up three Nashville goals in a seven minute span, allowing them to tie the game in the third period before star defenseman Roman Josi stuck an Allan Walsh-sized dagger into the back of the Golden Knights with the overtime winner.

With the win, the Predators extended their point streak to an incredible 18 games. Knights fans may recall the game where the streak started, a Feb. 20th loss to the Predators at T-Mobile that came after coach Andrew Brunette canceled a team outing to see U2 at the Sphere.

“You’re gonna have those nights, but we’ve been building in the right direction,” coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “We’ve been a lot closer to our game and I thought we did a lot of things well.

“In the third, I think they scored on all their chances, to be honest with you. They had more in the first period I believe, and then the third just happened. They happened to find a way to get the goals go in. They got inside of us a little better in the third period. They got inside and they finished the plays, and they get the two points.”

With the one point they earned for the OTL, the Golden Knights moved within a point of the Kings for third place in the Pacific Division. However, had they earned the two points that were seemingly in the bag with twenty minutes remaining, they would be tied with the Kings for that third automatic playoff bid in the division. 

It’s hard not to wonder where these guys could be if they had just played to their full potential, injuries or not.

“I thought we had a great 40 minutes. Playing that complete 60 is something we got to get better at obviously,” said Knights defenseman Noah Hanifin. “I think it’s tough when you have a lead like that. Teams start to cheat a lot and try to produce offense and I don’t think we handled it as well as we could have.

“I think we started to sit back a little bit instead of being direct and dictating the play out there.”