Vegas Golden Knights Fall In Overtime Against Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 19: William Karlsson #71 of the Vegas Golden Knights defends against Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers as he circles the net with the puck at the BB&T Center on January 19, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 19: William Karlsson #71 of the Vegas Golden Knights defends against Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers as he circles the net with the puck at the BB&T Center on January 19, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

Vegas Golden Knights battled hard and earned a point but fall in overtime to the Florida Panthers.

The Vegas Golden Knights came away with a massive victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.  Tonight, the team faced a much different foe in the Florida Panthers. The last time these two teams fought was back in December where Vegas earned a 5-2 victory at T-Mobile Arena.

Former Panthers players Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith had big games on the stat sheet against their old club. Marchessault ended the night totaling a goal and two assists while Smith added two helpers. Tonight’s game also marks the first time Gerard Gallant has come back to Florida to face the club he once coached.

After a solid effort from Marc-Andre Fleury last night, Malcolm Subban gets the cage against Panthers. Subban started against Florida last time out as well, and he only needed to make 16 saves on 18 shots. James Reimer starts for Florida, and he also played against the Golden Knights back in Las Vegas allowing three goals on 38 shots.

The game didn’t start well for Vegas as Florida got on the board early due to poor defensive coverage. Colin Miller was late backchecking Jamie McGinn and stuffed it past Subban for an early 1-0 lead. It also didn’t help that Subban had the opportunity to cover up the puck. Instead, he turned it over to McGinn for the easy goal.

The Golden Knights didn’t let that goal bother them as they struck 11 minutes later with a goal of their own. David Perron notched his 11th of the year thanks to a perfect cross-ice feed from Brad Hunt on the rush. However, the tie game was short lived.

During a break in the action, the Florida Panthers had a nice little tribute video to their former Head Coach Gerard Gallant. Gallant acknowledged the ovation by the Panthers faithful, and it was a really awesome moment. Great job by the Panthers organization honoring Gallant despite the way how things ended in Florida.

Ironically, Vegas goes on the power play and gives up a shorthanded goal to the Panthers star player Aleksander Barkov. Subban made the initial save, but a rebound opportunity came about, and Barkov jammed it past the sprawled out goaltender. At the end of the first period, the Golden Knights trailed the Panthers 2-1.

Not a lot of execution in that period by Vegas. Opportunities to score were there, especially for Smith missing another wide open net. But things changed quickly in the middle frame.

Vegas didn’t come out with a lot of jump to start the period. They did have another power play opportunity but they couldn’t cash in on their chances. However, they finally broke through when they earned an odd-man rush.

Shea Theodore activated himself into the offense on a two on one chance, and he made an incredible pass to William Karlsson who stuffed it past Reimer. Karlsson’s 25th goal of the year tied the game and shifted the momentum back to Vegas. That’s how things stayed after two periods of play.

William Carrier had a mini-breakaway in the opening minutes of the third period, but he missed the net entirely. A few short moments later the Panthers came down the ice, and Evgeni Dadonov beat Subban on the rebound opportunity to give Florida a 3-2 lead. Those were one of the ones where you want to see Subban make the significant timely save.

It almost took Vegas the entire third period to tie the game, but they indeed got the job done. With just over two minutes left, “Real Deal” James Neal sidestepped and deked around Vincent Trocheck and sniped one past Reimer to tie it up. That marked goal number 20 for Neal on the 2017-18 campaign.

Both teams earned a point and headed to three on three overtime, but it was Florida who came out on top. Aaron Ekblad ended it quickly just 40 seconds into the extra session. The Vegas Golden Knights had the chance to seize the top spot in the NHL over Tampa, but they couldn’t get past Florida coming off their bye week.

Subban wasn’t particularly sharp in this one only stopping 21 of 25 shots. You need to have better performances from your goaltender down the stretch, but he also hasn’t played since January 5th. Perhaps the team should spot him a bit more often to keep him and Fleury sharp.

My third star of the night was William Karlsson with another goal and an assist in a strong effort. My second star of the night was Aaron Ekblad who scored the game-winner in OT to propel Florida to a victory. And of course, my number one star is Aleksander Barkov with a three-point night. He was without a doubt the best player on the ice for both teams.

Next: Vegas Golden Knights Sweep Season Series Against Tampa Bay Lightning

All in all, it wasn’t the best game by the Vegas Golden Knights by any stretch. However, they battled and fought hard to earn another point on the tough southeastern road trip. Next the Golden Knights take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday evening at 3 PM PT.