Vegas Golden Knights Forward Reilly Smith Plays Hero VS Coyotes

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 3: Reilly Smith #19 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck against the Arizona Coyotes during the game at T-Mobile Arena on December 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 3: Reilly Smith #19 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck against the Arizona Coyotes during the game at T-Mobile Arena on December 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The most underrated forward on the Vegas Golden Knights roster scored in overtime and snapped a three-game skid.

When the Vegas Golden Knights took the ice wearing their road whites at home, everyone thought of what happened the last time they did that at T-Mobile Arena. Of course, it was their 7-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche at the end of October. So this time, Vegas went with the road uniforms at home once again in hopes to end a three-game losing streak.

Head Coach Gerard Gallant put defenseman Deryk Engelland back in the lineup after an absence against the Jets Friday night. He also made the no-brainer decision to give the crease back to Malcolm Subban after Max Lagace gave up six goals to Winnipeg. And with David Perron still out, the team decided to move Oscar Lindberg up to second-line duty.

The team needed to come out with some jump, and that’s what they did in the first period Sunday evening. Vegas had multiple chances against Arizona to run up the score, but goaltender Scott Wedgewood was a thorn in the Knights side all game. The Golden Knights had a 15-8 shot advantage in the first, but they couldn’t solve Wedgewood in the first frame.

Vegas got their best chances from Brendan Leipsic and Alex Tuch in the first. Cody Eakin fed Leipsic on the tape and Leipsic took a one-timer, but Wedgewood’s glove was there for the save. Eakin also slapped a pass over to Tuch on a two on one, but Wedgewood was once again up to the task. Tomas Nosek also hit the post early on in the period.

It wasn’t until the second period where the scoring started. Colin Miller sprung Tuch on a breakaway and he absolutely undressed Wedgewood. He was finally rewarded for his sixth goal of the season and his first tally since November 19th VS the Kings. Miller made the whole play happen with his beautiful saucer pass from his defensive zone. If the Knights could get some level of consistency from Miller,  it would be a big boost for their blue line.

However, the lead was short-lived because Jakob Chychrun broke the ice for the Coyotes and scored in his first game back from injury. A failed clearing attempt from Miller led to the goal, and it tied the game at one. Maybe you’d like to see Subban have that one back, but I can’t complain about how solid he was the rest of the night.

The Knights had an anxious moment seconds after Arizona’s goal as Miller saved a puck that beat Subban but didn’t cross the goal line. Brayden McNabb made a lazy clearing attempt, and it almost burned the Golden Knights. Fortunately, the Golden Knights headed into the third with a 1-1 score.

As soon as the third period started, Jonathan Marchessault pounced on a rebound in the slot just 18 seconds in. Nate Schmidt only took a simple slap shot that Wedgewood kicked out, but Marchessault was in his happy spot in the slot to put it home. Marchessault’s tenth of the year gave Vegas a 2-1 lead.

But eight minutes later, Engelland took a high sticking call, and the Coyotes went to work on the power play. Offseason acquisition Derek Stepan tied the game on a greasy goal right in front on the rebound. Once again the Golden Knights have no one to blame but themselves. This team simply can’t afford to go shorthanded as they’re entirely atrocious to watch on the penalty kill.

The Golden Knights battled through the final period as the Coyotes were coming at them in waves. Three sessions weren’t enough for both teams, so it came down to overtime. And let’s just say this is where business picked up.

Right from the beginning of puck drop in three on three, the Golden Knights pressed the entire period. I’ve seen Vegas look good in overtime but never this good. The Golden Knights got chance after chance, but Wedgewood was sharp in net.

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Marchessault had a clean breakaway, but he missed the net. Then it was Marchessault again that hit the post after a great feed from Reilly Smith. Nearly 30 seconds after that scoring chance, the Golden Knights finally broke through.

Alex Goligoski dropped a pass looking for a Coyotes player instead he gave the puck to the dangerous Marchessault. He made a sweet self-pass off the boards that set up for a two on one chance with Smith. He fed Smith and Smith made sure “Vegas Lights” played one more time for the home crowd.

The Golden Knights snapped a three-game losing streak with a big 3-2 overtime win versus the Coyotes. Vegas deserved to win after strong first, second and overtime periods. It would’ve been disappointing for the Golden Knights to lose this game considering how much they dominated Arizona.

My third star of the game is Malcolm Subban making  31 saves out of 33 shots. He made a key save on Clayton Keller in overtime to keep the game going. My second star would have to be Jonathan Marchessault. He was buzzing all night long, and he played a significant role in overtime. His goal and assist increased his point total to 25. And my number one star is the hero Reilly Smith for the obvious reason.

Think about it though; it’s a new hero every night. James Neal early in the year, then the three goaltenders stepping in for an injured Marc-Andre Fleury, Perron, William Karlsson, Marchessault and now Smith. It’s incredible to see a team evolve from a tight-knit group of misfits to a tight-knit powerhouse.

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All in all, fantastic effort from the Vegas Golden Knights. The game probably didn’t need to go to overtime, but Wedgewood was that good for the Coyotes during regulation. The Golden Knights look to feed off the home fans once again when they battle the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night. Catch puck drop with Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy on AT&T Sportsnet at 7 PM PT.