Golden Knights fall 4-3 to Penguins in rare road loss
The Vegas Golden Knights suffered just their second regulation road loss of the season when they fell 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena.
The Golden Knights took a 2-0 lead in the first period but were outscored 4-1 in the second and third frames. Pittsburgh scored two goals, the second of which proved to be the game-winner, in the span of just 1:52 in the third period.
Vegas surrendered a season-high 47 shots on goal, which tied for the second-most in franchise history.
Logan Thompson made his third consecutive start for the first time this season and finished the game with 43 saves on 47 shots for a .915 save percentage.
Jack Eichel opened the scoring just under four minutes into the contest, snapping a three-game pointless streak with his 12th of the year. He scored from the side of the net off a feed from Mark Stone, who also had been held off the scoresheet in the previous three games.
Reilly Smith then netted the Golden Knights’ first of two power-play goals of the game with just 2:01 remaining in the first period.
After a great keep at the blue line by Alec Martinez, Phil Kessel sent a quick cross-ice pass to Smith, who roofed a perfect shot over Tristan Jarry’s shoulder to give Vegas a two-goal lead.
After a fantastic opening 20 minutes by the Golden Knights, the Penguins found their game and were the better team down the stretch.
Pittsburgh was especially dominant in the second period, holding a 24-9 edge in shot attempts at 5-on-5 and getting goals from Brock McGinn and Rickard Rakell to even things up at 2-2.
However, Vegas took a lead early in the third period with the club’s second power-play strike of the night as Shea Theodore scored from the blue line just 1:26 into the frame. Eichel picked up his second point of the game with the secondary helper.
But a highly questionable interference call on Thompson set up a 4-on-3 power play for the Penguins, and Jake Guentzel — who drew the penalty — beat Thompson short-side with a one-timed blast at 7:33 of the third.
Kasperi Kapanen followed that up with the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later. Kapanen’s first goal in 14 games proved to be the game-winner and the difference in the contest.
Though Vegas was impressive on special teams, scoring twice on the power play and going 3-for-4 on the penalty kill, the Pittsburgh forecheck was relentless, and it got the best of the Golden Knights.
Thompson kept Vegas in the game, as he has done all season. He made a career-high 43 saves and was the primary reason this game was as close as it was.
The Penguins generated 15 high-danger chances and led Vegas in shot attempts by a 64-42 margin at 5-on-5.
Vegas moves to 1-1-0 on this four-game road trip, which continues Saturday night in Detroit.