After stumbling out of the gate with a 1-4-0 start, the Vegas Golden Knights can get back to the .500 mark on Friday when they face the slumping Anaheim Ducks in Las Vegas.
The Golden Knights, playing without injured first-line wingers Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, moved out of the Pacific Division basement after an impressive sweep of back-to-back road games against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday and the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
Backup goalie Laurent Brossoit made 32 saves on Wednesday in his first start with the Golden Knights during a 3-2 overtime win against the Stars. Vegas tied it on a goal by Jonathan Marchessault with 1:02 left after pulling Brossoit for an extra attacker, then won it on a goal by Evgenii Dadonov at 1:59 in OT.
It was an impressive win for the Golden Knights, who didn’t land in Dallas on their delayed flight from Denver until about four hours before faceoff. Vegas also played with a short bench after Mattias Janmark sat out the game with an upper-body injury while William Carrier had to be helped off the ice in the second period after blocking a shot with his leg.
“It was a gutsy road trip and a gutsy win again today with a short bench,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said postgame. “We had more guys leave during the game, so we were basically playing three lines, and the guys dug deep all week.”
Marchessault added, “We were still looking for that character. We had a rough go before getting on the road, before those two games. With those two momentum games, we can turn it around a little bit and start playing some good hockey. A resilient team like we are, we showed that (Wednesday), and it feels good.”
“It’s a character win and it’s a sign of a good team,” Brossoit added.
Now Vegas will try and make it three wins in a row against an Anaheim team that lost at home in overtime 4-3 to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night and is in the midst of a five-game winless streak (0-3-2).
The Ducks, who outshot Buffalo 10-1 in the third period, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie it on Simon Benoit’s first career NHL goal at 5:59 in the third period. However, the Sabres’ Rasmus Asplund tapped in Victor Olofsson’s pass with 43.9 seconds left in overtime.
“I liked the start of our game and our resilience to get back to tie,” Anaheim forward Adam Henrique said, according to NHL.com. “We certainly had more chances to get ahead, just couldn’t find that one.”
Henrique had cut the deficit to 3-2 late in the second period with the 200th goal of his NHL career.
“It was special,” Henrique said of his tap-in of a Jakob Silfverberg pass in front of the net. “I feel like I had a lot of chances the last four or five games to get that one. I had to just keep reminding myself to keep playing the right way and not get frustrated. … A special night for me and my career.”
Anaheim now must make a quick turnaround for a 5 p.m. PDT start as Vegas celebrates the Nevada Day holiday, which marks the state’s admission to the union on Oct. 31, 1864, with a late matinee. The Ducks then return home for a four-game homestand, beginning with a Sunday matinee against the Montreal Canadiens.
–Field Level Media