Blog: Golden Knights start strong but fall to Bruins

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John Locher / AP

Golden Knights center Cody Glass (9) tries to tip a shot around Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, in Las Vegas.

Published Tue, Oct 8, 2019 (3 p.m.)

Updated Tue, Oct 8, 2019 (9:40 p.m.)

It started off well. The Golden Knights had a two-goal lead just 8:20 into the game. After that though, it started going the other way.

Vegas surrendered four consecutive goals to the visiting Boston Bruins on Tuesday, but the comeback fell short as the Golden Knights lost 4-3 at T-Mobile Arena.

Mark Stone scored on the power play for Vegas at 6:36, then Reilly Smith tallied his team-high third of the year fewer than two minutes later.

Then the Bruins took over. The top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak connected on the first goal, with Bergeron taking it away and Marchand feeding Pastrnak. Marchand scored the next two (including one on the power play), and Torey Krug had the Bruins' fourth goal.

Overall, Boston's top line had seven of the team's 11 points on the four goals.

Down 4-2 entering the third, Vegas was unable to sustain any pressure to eat away at the deficit in the first half of the period. The Golden Knights took two penalties in the third and did not record a shot on goal in the period until the 11:31 mark when Nick Holden threw the puck at the net from the point.

Then Marchand took a penalty at the 14:22 mark, and Max Pacioretty cashed in 20 seconds later to trim the lead to 4-3, but the Golden Knights' attempt with the extra attacker went scoreless as Vegas dropped to 2-1-0.

Bruins grab lead in second

The second period is one Vegas would just as soon wipe from its memory. The Golden Knights allowed two goals and trailed the Bruins after two, 4-2.

The second period couldn't have started much worse for Vegas. First it was Brad Marchand again, getting loose on a partial break after a bank pass off the boards from David Pastrnak. The pass went around Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore right to Marchand, who sniped it past Marc-Andre Fleury for his second goal of the game just 33 seconds into the frame.

Then it was Torey Krug ripping a point blast through traffic at 2:27. It was the Bruins' fourth-straight goal and fourth goal in 10 shots. Since the Golden Knights went up 2-0 in the first, the ice was tilted in Boston's favor.

Vegas looked lost in its offensive zone at times in the second. Brandon Pirri lost the puck on a 3-on-1 opportunity, and it slipped off Reilly Smith's stick when he had an open look at the net. Still, the Golden Knights outshot Boston in the second, 15-14.

Golden Knights score twice, Bruins answer

As they always seem to in this building, the Golden Knights scored early and multiple times. This time though, the Bruins answered back to send the game into the first intermission tied at 2-2 at T-Mobile Arena.

The Golden Knights were 1-for-7 on the power play entering the night, going scoreless since Mark Stone scored on the first power play of the season last Wednesday. Stone also scored the team's second power-play goal of the year at 6:36, taking a feed from Max Pacioretty and clipping Tuukka Rask's glove with enough on it to get into the net. It was Stone's second goal and fifth point of the year.

It didn't take long for the Golden Knights to add on, as 1:44 later Reilly Smith made it 2-0. Smith positioned himself to the right of Rask and waited as Jonathan Marchessault slid a terrific feed across ice and through traffic to set up Smith roofing it. It was Smith's third goal of the season.

But the Bruins weren't going to stay down for long. Boston's top line caught the Golden Knights deep in their own end at the end of a long shift and made them pay for it. Deryk Engelland tried to clear the puck but Patrice Bergeron took it away. He gave it to Brad Marchand, who found a streaking David Pastrnak for the goal at 11:21.

Then the Bruins unleashed a hellacious power play to even the game. They had six shot attempts on the Brandon Pirri slashing minor with numerous good looks. It was Marchand that found the net though, ripping it through the defense at 18:58.

Shots on goal in the first favored Vegas, 12-10.

Pregame

It’s hard to measure a team's true ability when all its games have come against the same opponent. Earning easy wins could indicate that the victorious team will be on to great things, or it could just mean that they stack up well in the specific matchup.

That makes tonight’s game an intriguing one for the Golden Knights. They host the Boston Bruins, the defending Eastern Conference champions and a team, like Vegas, that has started the season 2-0-0. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena.

“It’s good to play a different team, a good skill team coming out of the east, it’s going to be a good challenge for us,” Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore said.

The Golden Knights beat up on the San Jose Sharks twice to start the season.

Boston hasn’t lit up the scoreboard yet this year — three goals in two games — but has held the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes to a total of one goal, with both wins coming on the road. It’s impressive, made even more so by the fact they have one of the best lines in hockey that has yet to get going.

Brad Marchand has a goal and Patrice Bergeron has an assist this year, but the third member, David Pastrnak, has yet to record a point. The trio has been one of the best in hockey over the last few years. The Golden Knights will try to keep them off the scoresheet and figure to task the top defensive pair of Theodore and Brayden McNabb with locking them down.

“We’ve got to respect them, but we’ve also got to be hard on them,” McNabb said. “Frustrate them as much as we can, have good sticks, let (goalie Marc-Andre Fleury) see shots, we’ll be OK.”

Boston has scored on one of its power-play attempts this year, a far cry from its 25.9% effectiveness that was third-best in the league last year. The Golden Knights have converted on one of their seven power plays, and both teams have been perfect on the penalty kill so far.

It’s an early test against what figures to be one of the league’s best this season, but the Golden Knights don’t see it as a measuring stick with the season so young. They’re just trying to get to a 3-0 start that would match the franchise’s best from 2017, regardless of who the opponent is.

“We just see another good team coming in,” Theodore said. “It’s too early in the season to start measuring things out or start seeing where you sit. You just want to start playing consistent hockey to start the year and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

TV: AT&T Sports Net (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)

Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM

Betting line: Golden Knights minus-145, Bruins plus-125; over/under: 5.5 (minus-115, minus-105)

Golden Knights (2-0-0, 4 points) (1-0-0 home), t-first place, Pacific Division

Coach: Gerard Gallant (third season)

Points leader: Mark Stone (4)

Goals leaders: Tomas Nosek, Reilly Smith (2)

Assists leaders: William Karlsson, Mark Stone (3)

Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (1.00 GAA, .965 save percentage)

Bruins (2-0-0, 4 points) (2-0-0 road), t-third place, Atlantic Division

Coach: Bruce Cassidy (fourth season)

Points leaders: Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle, Matt Gryzelcyk, Danton Heinen, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, Brett Ritchie (1)

Goals leaders: Danton Heinen, Brad Marchand, Brett Ritchie (1)

Assists leaders: Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle, Matt Gryzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy (1)

Expected goalie: Tuukka Rask (1.00 GAA, .966 save percentage)

Golden Knights expected lineup

Forwards

Jonathan Marchessault—William Karlsson—Reilly Smith,

Max Pacioretty—Cody Glass—Mark Stone

Brandon Pirri—Paul Stastny—Valentin Zykov

William Carrier—Tomas Nosek—Ryan Reaves

Defensemen

Brayden McNabb—Shea Theodore

Jon Merrill—Nick Holden

Nicolas Hague—Deryk Engelland,

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban

Justin Emerson can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Justin on Twitter at twitter.com/@j15emerson.

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