Vegas Golden Knights: Shea Theodore Scores In Victory Over Former Club

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 27: Shea Theodore #27 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates scoring against the Anaheim Ducks with teammates on the bench on December 27, 2017 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 27: Shea Theodore #27 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates scoring against the Anaheim Ducks with teammates on the bench on December 27, 2017 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Despite a rough start, the Vegas Golden Knights rally once again in Anaheim.

The Vegas Golden Knights entered this game with an impressive record against the Pacific division. 10-1 to be exact. That’s the biggest reason as to why they’re tied for first place in the Pacific and the entire Western Conference.

The Golden Knights beat the injury-riddled Anaheim Ducks twice already this year. Now the Ducks are starting to make strides towards health as they finally activated Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler from injured reserve. However, the team has lost Corey Perry for an extended amount of time, and there’s no timetable for his return.

With a game against the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow, the Golden Knights decided to roll with Malcolm Subban VS Anaheim and Marc-Andre Fleury VS Los Angeles. I like that move considering how well Subban played against Anaheim just a few short weeks ago. Other than the goaltender change, there were no changes to the Golden Knights lineup from the previous game.

The first period did not start on the right foot for Vegas as Anaheim struck early. It only took Rickard Rakell under two minutes to open the scoring after Jakob Silfverberg forced a turnover. The offensive pressure by Anaheim mounted for nearly the entire opening period.

The home team had a ton of high danger scoring chances, but Subban was up to the task. In fact, Subban made 14 saves on 15 shots. The Golden Knights relied on him too much to open the game. Nonetheless, the Knights somehow pushed through and didn’t allow the Ducks to score for the rest of the game. But thanks to a terrific effort by the fourth line, the Golden Knights got on the board late in the first.

Oscar Lindberg won a puck battle along the boards and passed the puck to Tomas Nosek who fed ex-Duck Shea Theodore for a beautiful goal. Theodore’s third goal of the season shifted the momentum for the rest of the first and into the second frame. Check out this highlight-reel goal from the 22-year old:

The Knights gained early scoring chances in the second period, but Gibson slowly got in a groove. He made fantastic saves on Alex Tuch and David Perron on the power play and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare at even strength play.

Vegas had a few power-play chances in the second, but they failed to cash in. Special teams are definitely a department of improvement for the Golden Knights. They entered the game only converting 17% of power-play opportunities.

Cody Eakin committed a roughing penalty on Getzlaf towards the late stages of the second  The Knights killed the penalty and didn’t let the Ducks have any chances on the man advantage. Just moments after the kill is where the game shifted once again.

Bellemare simply cleared the puck and Eakin went off to the races to break the tie. Eakin’s fifth goal of the season gave Vegas a 2-1 lead heading into the third period. Similar to what Subban did in the first period, Gibson made 13 stops on 14 shots on goal in the second.

The Knights struck just 28 seconds into the final frame when Josh Manson turned the puck over to Jonathan Marchessault who fed William Karlsson for his 17th goal of the season.  Karlsson pulls in a first-place tie with James Neal for the team lead in goals. Vegas has notoriously taken advantage of turnovers all year long and deserve a ton of credit.

The Knights didn’t allow the Ducks to get anything going offensively as they basically suffocated the Ducks for the rest of the game. The team didn’t allow Ryan Getzlaf or Ryan Kesler to generate any offense whatsoever. Vegas tacked on another goal when the Ducks pulled the goalie as Perron sealed it with the empty netter. His eighth goal of the season was the icing on the cake for a 4-1 victory.

With the win, the Vegas Golden Knights jump into sole possession of first place in Pacific division and the Western Conference. Who would’ve thought we would be saying that on December 27th? What an incredible story this Golden Knights team has been this season.

My third star of the game would have to be Shea Theodore. He got a huge goal that really turned the game around for the Golden Knights. And not to mention doing it against your former club has to feel even sweeter.

The second star of the game would have to be Malcolm Subban. Without his strong first period performance who knows how this game would’ve played out. The Toronto, Ontario native stopped 27 of 28 shots and made a number of timely saves. Therefore, Subban improves his personal record to 9-2-0 and owns a five-game winning streak of his own.

And finally, my number one star of the game is William Karlsson. Karlsson and his line were buzzing around the newt all night. He eventually scored the big insurance goal at the start the third period to allow the Knights to play their game for the rest of regulation.

Next: Vegas Golden Knights: Erik Brannstrom Shines In First Game At World Juniors.

All in all, another strong performance for the Vegas Golden Knights. Next up is a clash of the two top titans in the Pacific division at the Staples Center in LA. The Golden Knights take on the Kings with just two points separating both clubs. Catch puck drop at 10 PM PT on NBCSN.