Golden Knights blow 3-0 lead but win 4-3 in shootout, hand Bruins first home loss in Bruce Cassidy’s return to Boston
The Vegas Golden Knights (19-7-1) pulled off a gutsy 4-3 shootout victory against the Boston Bruins (20-3-1) Monday night at TD Garden, becoming the first road team to win in Boston this season.
The Golden Knights led 3-0 less than a minute into the second period but saw that lead evaporate as the Bruins came all the way back. However, the Golden Knights came up with a critical penalty kill in overtime, and Reilly Smith netted the game-winning goal in the shootout.
Logan Thompson delivered another spectacular performance, stopping 40 of 43 shots for a .930 save percentage before going a perfect 5-for-5 in the shootout.
But the night was about Bruce Cassidy, who returned to Boston for the first time since getting fired over the summer. He and the Golden Knights certainly left their mark, snapping the Bruins’ historic 14-0-0 start at home this season. Cassidy did so despite being without his best defenseman and forward.
Alex Pietrangelo missed his fourth consecutive game due to a personal matter, while Jack Eichel was a game-time decision but did not play. The late scratch set up a glorious opportunity for Paul Cotter.
He did not waste it.
The 23-year-old was moved to the top line to skate with Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone, and he made his presence felt early and often.
Cotter recorded the first two-goal game of his career, was all over the ice and was dynamic all night.
Cotter opened the scoring just 96 seconds into the contest, as the Golden Knights scored first for the fourth time on the four-game road trip.
It was Cotter’s first shift on the top line, and he didn’t look out of place, showing great strength on the puck as he out-muscled Jake DeBrusk to keep the play alive. William Karlsson sent the puck back in from the blue line, and Shea Theodore sent a behind-the-net feed to Cotter in the slot.
In the first three games of the road trip, the Golden Knights outscored their opponents by a combined score of 5-0 in the first period. They replicated that trend in Boston, and for the third time in four games, Vegas led 2-0 after the first period thanks to Jonathan Marchessault’s 10th of the year.
Marchessault intercepted a turnover by David Pastrnak and skated in uncontested on Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman. Though Swayman made the initial stop, Marchessault cashed in on his own rebound 5:04 into the game.
The second period got off to a similar start, as Cotter scored early once again to give Vegas a 3-0 lead just 51 seconds in.
Cotter has played with great confidence since scoring the game-winning shootout goal in Columbus, and he showed no hesitation on his second goal of the game as he skated to the slot and blasted another one past Swayman.
The goal gave Vegas a commanding three-goal lead and marked the first time all season that the Bruins trailed by three goals on home ice.
However, the Bruins were the better team in the second period, outshooting Vegas 15-6 and leading 24-12 in shot attempts at all strengths.
The ice was tilted, which ultimately led to two second-period goals for the home team.
Boston broke through on a great passing play by the top line, as Patrice Bergeron found Brad Marchand for the backdoor tip, leaving no chance for Thompson.
Shortly after Thompson came up with two big stops near the end of the period, Pastrnak cut the deficit to one goal, scoring his 17th of the season with under 25 seconds left in the frame.
Pastrnak collected the puck and spun off the boards, skating around the falling Karlsson before beating Thompson short-side.
Things didn’t improve for Vegas at the start of the third.
The Golden Knights took two costly penalties early, setting up an extended 5-on-3 for the second-best power play in the league. Though Vegas killed off the first penalty, Taylor Hall scored to even things up at 3-3 just 3:08 into the third.
The Bruins had come all the way back, and Vegas had just 14 shots on goal through the first 44 minutes of action.
Cassidy shortened the bench in the third period, limiting Phil Kessel and Jake Leschyshyn to two shifts and Michael Amadio to none.
Both teams exchanged chances as the third progressed, but the Misfit Line helped grab some of the momentum back in Vegas’ favor with several dominant shifts. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy made two stellar defensive plays to thwart additional chances by the Golden Knights.
In the end, extra time was required; it was the sixth time Vegas has played beyond regulation this season.
The Golden Knights committed several unforced turnovers early in the extra frame, and Nicolas Roy followed that up by taking a slashing penalty on DeBrusk. Boston recorded four shots on goal on the ensuing 4-on-3 power play, but Vegas got several clears, and Thompson took care of the rest, making key saves on two particularly dangerous chances to send the game to a shootout.
Thompson was perfect in the shootout, going 5-for-5 as he shut down Marchand, DeBrusk, Pastrnak, Hall and Charlie Coyle. Though Swayman stopped the first four Vegas attempts from Roy, Cotter, Marchessault and Theodore, Smith had the final say and sealed the win against his former team.
The Bruins outshot the Golden Knights 43-24, but the Golden Knights came away with a huge two points on the road against a formidable opponent.
Thompson’s 13th win of the season was a statement performance. It marked the first time in his career that he faced 40-plus shots in back-to-back starts, and his excellence in the shootout paid off once again; he is now 11-for-12 on shootout attempts this season.
The win helped the Golden Knights wrap up the road trip with a 3-1-0 record, improving their overall road record to 12-2-1 this season.
The Golden Knights are one win shy of 20 and will look to reach that milestone on their upcoming three-game homestand against the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and, of course, Boston Bruins.