The Anaheim Ducks stifled the Golden Knights' offense, handing Vegas its third shutout of the season Monday night at T-Mobile Arena.
The Golden Knights were unable to beat John Gibson, or backup goalie Ryan Miller, in the 2-0 loss.
Gibson stopped the first 13 shots of the game but was pulled with a lower-body injury after two periods. Miller stopped 20 third-period shots to finish off the shutout.
Jakob Silfveberg got the Ducks on the board early when he deflected Andrew Cogliano’s shot past Marc-Andre Fleury. Josh Manson added to the lead in the third period when Ryan Getlzaf’s shot hit off his leg and fluttered past Fleury.
It’s the Golden Knights’ first loss within the division against a team other than Edmonton, but they still lead the second-place San Jose Sharks by 10 points.
Vegas will host the Calgary Flames for the sixth game of a seven-game homestand on Wednesday.
Ducks lead 1-0 after two periods
The Anaheim Ducks have suffocated the Golden Knights’ usually-dynamic offense, and lead 1-0 after two periods at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas is on pace to have its fewest shots on goal in franchise history through 40 minutes of hockey, with only 13 so far. The Golden Knights’ previous low was 21 in a 7-0 win over Colorado on Oct. 27.
The Ducks appeared to take a 2-0 lead when Ryan Getzlaf beat Marc-Andre Fleury stick side with a wrist shot from the slot, but the goal was erased after Gerard Gallant challenged for offsides.
Officials ruled Rickard Rakell entered the offensive zone before the puck and took the goal off the board to keep the deficit at one.
Ducks lead 1-0 after one period
Ducks’ forward Andrew Cogliano circled the Golden Knights’ zone, fired a puck at the net, and Jakob Silfverberg tipped it past Marc-Andre Fleury to give Anaheim 1-0 lead.
Anaheim got only four shots in the opening period, but hold the lead after 20 minutes of play in Las Vegas.
The Golden Knights had their share of chances, with eight shots on goal, but Ducks’ goalie John Gibson stopped them all.
Vegas could be adjusting to the shakeup in the lineup. Alex Tuch is playing with Erik Haula and David Perron for the first time this season with James Neal missing his first game with an illness.
Tomas Hyka made his NHL debut, playing alongside Oscar Lindberg and Stefan Matteau, while Cody Eakin, Tomas Nosek and Ryan Carpenter have played together on the third line.
The Golden Knights have an exceptional 15-12-4 record when their opponent scores first this season, so the game is far from over.
Golden Knights' second-leading scorer James Neal will not play tonight, and will be replaced by Tomas Hyka.
Hyka was called up from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League this morning and will be making the first NHL appearance of his career. It will be the first game Neal has missed this season. Coach Gerard Gallant said this morning that Neal is still suffering from the flu that nearly forced him out of the lineup last week.
The Golden Knights host the Anaheim Ducks tonight at T-Mobile Arena for the fourth installment of the budding Pacific Division rivalry.
Vegas has matched up extremely well with Anaheim so far this season, going 3-0-0 in the first three meetings.
“I think we’ve played some of our best games against these guys,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We play fast, we play our game and nothing changes with us. I think they had a little bit of trouble with our speed last time we played them.”
Instead of attempting to match the Ducks’ physicality, the Golden Knights have skated around them. It’s worked to this point as the Golden Knights beat the Ducks 4-3 in a shootout in Las Vegas, and 4-2 and 4-1 in Anaheim.
“It’s a big game for us,” Golden Knights’ forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “We haven’t played a lot of physical teams lately and the Ducks are that so we’ll have to be ready. My game doesn’t change based off who I’m facing. We have to worry about what we’re going to do and not necessarily what they’re going to do.”
The Ducks are desperate, currently sitting outside of the playoff picture at 29-20-11. They had a horrid start to the season while Ryan Kessler and Ryan Getzlaf were out with injuries but have improved their play since their returns.
Kessler has continued battling injuries, missing Saturday’s game against the Wild with a lower-body injury, but Getzlaf has played outstanding. The 32-year-old is second on the team with 35 points despite playing in only 36 games.
“It’s definitely a big challenge for us,” Marchessault said. “They had a lot of injuries and now all of the guys have come back and they’re doing a lot better.”
Now it’s the Golden Knights with the injury problems. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was injured in Saturday night’s 6-3 win over Montreal and was placed on the injured reserve today with an upper-body injury.
James Neal will be a game time decision according to Gallant, and Shea Theodore will miss another game with a throat illness.
To fill the voids, Vegas has recalled Stefan Matteau and Tomas Hyka from the Chicago Wolves. Matteau participated in morning skate and Gallant said he may play tonight but the lineup isn’t finalized. Hyka will arrive in Las Vegas before the game but it’s unlikely he will see the ice.
Bellemare’s absence may be felt most on the penalty kill, where he has been a major part of the Golden Knights’ success.
“He is an important player for us, but someone will jump in there and fill his spot for tonight,” Gallant said.
Prediction: Golden Knights 2, Ducks 1
Season record for predictions: 30-20
Puck drops: 7 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-165, Total 5.5 minus-120 to the over
Golden Knights (39-15-4) (22-4-2 home)
Coach: Gerard Gallant
Goal leader: William Karlsson (30)
Assist leader: David Perron (39)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (19-6-2, 2.06 goals against average)
Anaheim Ducks (29-20-11) (14-11-7 away)
Coach: Randy Carlyle
Goal leader: Rickard Rakell (22)
Assist leader: Ryan Getzlaf (28)
Expected goalie: John Gibson (21-15-6, 2.55 goals against average)
Golden Knights game day roster
Forwards (12): Ryan Carpenter, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, Tomas Hyka, William Karlsson, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, Stefan Matteau, Tomas Nosek, 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 Maxime Lagace