Vegas Golden Knights: Tomas Tatar Scores Game-Winning Goal VS Devils

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 4: Tomas Tatar #90 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the second period at the Prudential Center on March 4, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 4: Tomas Tatar #90 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the second period at the Prudential Center on March 4, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

The Vegas Golden Knights newest additions showed up to play in New Jersey on Sunday night.

Things aren’t going exactly according to plan for the Vegas Golden Knights lately. The expansion franchise has lost three straight games as they start a five-game road trip out on the east coast. After losing heartbreakers to the Los Angles Kings and the Ottawa Senators, head coach Gerard Gallant had to adjust his line combinations ahead of his game against the New Jersey Devils.

The Golden Knights first line remain untouched, but Gallant made changes to his bottom three forward lines. He made a trio of David Perron, Erik Haula, and Tomas Hyka as a second line. Next, the bench boss put the newest Golden Knight Tomas Tatar with Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch. Finally, he created a newly revamped fourth line of Ryan Carpenter, Tomas Nosek, and Ryan Reaves.

The Golden Knights face off with the Devils for the first time in their history on Sunday. Taylor Hall came into today’s game looking to extend his point streak to 25 games. Marc-Andre Fleury and Cory Schneider took the net for their respective clubs.

The first period started off entertainingly. Both teams created fantastic scoring opportunities. Fleury made an excellent save on Hall on the breakaway late in the first frame.

The shots after the first period were 11-8 in favor of New Jersey. Vegas started off the period with fire, but then the team tapered off with turnovers in the defensive zone. No score after one period, however, both sides really showed their offensive capabilities in the second period.

In the middle frame, Perron led off the scoring to give Vegas a 1-0 lead. Former New Jersey Devil Jon Merrill threw the puck to the net forcing a rebound opportunity then Perron tucked it in for his 16th goal of the season. Sometimes pure hockey 101 plays like that one is all team needs.

The momentum shifted quickly as Jonathan Marchessault took an interference penalty nearly midway through the second. Hall extended his point streak to 25 games with a slick feed to Sami Vatanen who ripped it past Fleury for a power-play goal.

Vegas quickly answered back as Deryk Engelland ripped one past Schneider for his fourth goal of the year. Reaves provided tremendous work along the wall dishing the puck to Shea Theodore who quickly threw it over to Engelland who gave Vegas a 2-1 lead. The Golden Knights didn’t stop their relentless push, however.

Th referees called New Jersey for too many men on the ice, and the Golden Knights cashed in on the man advantage almost immediately. Just nine seconds into the power play, Tatar bashed in his first goal as a Golden Knight. Perron wristed one towards the net and Tatar found the puck before Schneider, and he batted in his 17th goal of the season to give Vegas a 3-1 lead.

The Devils quickly responded just 12 seconds after as Colin Miller fumbled the puck behind his net and Hall wrapped the puck around the net and past Fleury. The goal gave Hall 30 goals, the first time he reached that milestone in his NHL career. The period ended with Vegas leading New Jersey 3-2 going into the third.

Despite a breakaway chance from William Karlsson, the Golden Knights didn’t muster much of anything in the third period. New Jersey controlled much of the play and continued to pepper Fleury who was absolutely sensational. Time was becoming an issue for the Devils though.

Kyle Palmeri had an outstanding chance to tie this one up in the dying seconds of the third with a tip in front of Fleury, but it was just wide of the net. Then, Brayden McNabb took a bad delay of game a penalty with only four seconds to go in the game. The Devils won the faceoff and Palmeri slapped one towards the net, but Fleury made a clutch pad stop to end it in Newark.

The Golden Knights snapped their three-game losing streak with a big 3-2 win in a tough New Jersey environment. Still, a lot to improve on from this game, but definitely a much better effort tonight from the Golden Knights. Here are my three stars of tonight’s game:

My third star of the game has to go to Taylor Hall. This player is on an incredible run as he finished with a goal and an assist today and he was the best skater on the ice from either team. He is without a doubt one of the MVP candidates of the league along with Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Kucherov.

My second star is none other than the newest Golden Knight Tomas Tatar. A game-winning goal as he finally gets the monkey off his back. Getting the first goal out of the way is huge for any player, but now Tatar can focus on his game and really start to take off after scoring his first with the Golden Knights.

Finally, my number one star of the game is the undisputed number one goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The Flower made 33 stops on 35 shots and secured the victory for the Vegas Golden Knights. He made so many timely saves and was the Golden Knights best player on the ice.

Next: Vegas Golden Knights: Reilly Smith Earns NHL’s Third Star Of February

All in all, good victory for the Vegas Golden Knights.  The team heads out to Columbus for a big matchup on Tuesday against a hungry Blue Jackets team. Catch puck drop at 4 PM PT with Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy on AT&T Sportsnet.