After winning of the first 17 of their first 20 home games this season, the Golden Knights have now only won two of their last five games at T-Mobile Arena including a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night.
Vegas opened the scoring early with a Brayden McNabb 11:22 into the contest. It was McNabb’s second goal in two games, and his fourth of the season.
The Golden Knights outshot the Flyers by a wide margin (39-18) but Philadelphia capitalized on the few offensive chances it got. Sean Couturier scored his 28th goal of the season on a one-timer near the end of the first period to tie the game.
The Flyers took the lead with a goal that bounced off Andrew MacDonald’s skate and extended it less than three minutes later with a goal by captain Claude Giroux.
Backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth played admirably in net for Philadelphia with 38 saves, and Philadelphia added an empty net goal in the closing minutes to win 4-1.
The Golden Knights will continue their seven-game homestand Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Flyers lead 3-1 after two periods
The Golden Knights controlled nearly every minute of the second period, but the Flyers were more efficient with their chances.
Philadelphia spent the majority of the period scrambling around their own defensive zone, but cashed in on a goal that bounced off Andrew MacDonald’s skate and into the Golden Knights’ net.
Minutes later, Marc-Andre Fleury came to the top of his crease to poke check the puck away from Sean Couturier, who was driving towards the net. The puck went straight to Flyers captain Claude Giroux who put it into the wide-open net to give Philadelphia a 3-1 lead after two periods.
The Golden Knights nearly doubled the Flyers with 27 shots on goal to Philadelphia’s 14. The Flyers are 19-1-3 this season when leading after two periods.
Golden Knights, Flyers tied 1-1 after one period
Both teams looked out of sorts defensively through the first 20 minutes, but the Golden Knights and Flyers scored only a goal a piece in the first period Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb has now scored in two consecutive games for the Golden Knights, and both goals have been works of art by a player mostly known for defense and physicality. McNabb deked around the Flyers defense with a toe drag, then fired the puck past goalie Michal Neuvirth's glove hand to give Vegas an early 1-0 lead.
The Flyers would answer with some pinpoint puck movement that ended with a one-timer by Sean Couturier to tie the game 1-1 late in the period.
Vegas had possession of the puck for the majority of the period, but mishandled multiple scoring opportunities. The most blatant of which came when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Alex Tuch walked in on Neuvirth alone. Bellemare deked Neuvirth then sent a pass wide of Tuch and the Golden Knights failed even get a shot off.
Keep an eye on Golden Knights’ forward James Neal during pregame warmups tonight.
The team’s second-leading scorer missed practice yesterday, and is a game time decision to play tonight’s contest against the Philadelphia Flyers with the flu according to coach Gerard Gallant.
About an hour before puck drop Gallant said Neal looked fine and he expects him to play, but winger Paul Thompson was called up from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League as a precaution. If Neal can’t go, Thompson will slot into the Golden Knights’ lineup.
The team is finally back at T-Mobile Arena after a six-game road trip that took them from Canada, to the East Coast and California.
“On the road it’s always harder but I think we did a good job getting eight points,” said winger Jonathan Marchessault, who leads Vegas with 54 points. “Coming back from a long road trip the first game is always a little harder so we need to be ready against a skilled team like Philly.”
The Golden Knights have the next seven games at home, where they are 19-3-1 on the season.
“Any time of the year if you play that long at home you need to take advantage,” Marchessault said. “We know that now teams are giving us their best shot, so we definitely have to be ready for that.”
The Flyers are 11-4-1 in 2018 and have some of the best playmakers in the league. Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux have combined for 98 assists this season, while Sean Couturier leads the team with 27 goals.
“In the offensive zone they move the puck really well,” Gallant said. “They have some real good skill with Giroux and those guys. They have a fast, quick team and especially their top two lines. The defensemen get involved in the offense.”
It will be Marc-Andre Fleury in net for Vegas. The 33-year-old veteran netminder has seven of his last nine starts.
Prediction : Golden Knights 4, Flyers 3 OT
Season record for predictions: 28-19
Puck drops: 5 p.m.
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink Prism 1760)
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-220, Total 6 minus-110 to the under
Golden Knights (36-14-4) (19-3-2 home)
Coach: Gerard Gallant
Goal leader: William Karlsson (29)
Assist leader: David Perron (36)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (16-5-2, 2.03 goals against average)
Philadelphia Flyers (27-19-9) (13-10-4 away)
Coach: Dave Hakstol
Goal leader: Sean Couturier (27)
Assist leader: Jakub Voracek (53)
Expected goalie: Michal Neuvirth (6-7-2, 2.61 goals against average)
Golden Knights game day roster
Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Carpenter, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, David Perron, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.
Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brad Hunt, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.
Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban