Vegas Golden Knights: Marchessault loss, other takeaways from CBJ loss

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LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 11: Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Jakob Lilja (15) controls the puck during a regular season game against the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by: Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It was a bad ending to a long homestand as the Vegas Golden Knights put up a stinker in a shutout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

Looking to end an overall productive homestand on a high, the Vegas Golden Knights instead dropped three straight after dropping a 3-0 decision to the resurgent Blue Jackets.

And, as has been the case in recent games, the Knights allowed the first goal of the game in the first period for the sixth consecutive game with Emil Bemstrom beating from Marc-Andre Fleury from the left circle with a deadly one-timer.

The Knights outshot the Blue Jackets 11-2 in the second period but they came up against a hot goaltender in Elvis Merzlikins, who was stopping every shot that was flung in his direction.

His teammates responded by being clinical in the offensive zone as Pierre-Luc Dubois redirected a shot past Fleury, before Alexander Wennberg iced the game in the final period with a wrister from open ice.

Merzlikins stopped all 27 shots to secure his first career shutout in the NHL, and it was just another bad night at the office for the Golden Knights.

On that note, let’s delve into some takeaways from the third consecutive loss for the Vegas Golden Knights…

1. Marchessault, hurry back

Hockey is a team sport. Yes, there are superstars in the ilk of Connor McDavid who can win games on his own, but he still needs help around him in order for the Edmonton Oilers to be a success.

However, in saying that, teams can be hurt by the absence of certain players and we are seeing that with the Vegas Golden Knights and Jonathan Marchessault right now.

Having missed four straight games with a lower-body injury, Marchessault’s absence has forced the Knights to tweak their lines with Alex Tuch playing on the top line and Chandler Stephenson also slotting in up and down the lineup.

But, you can’t really replace a Jonathan Marchessault and not just because of his chemistry with William Karlsson and Reilly Smith, or because of his offensive production.

Aside from the 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) he has recorded so far this year, Marchessault brings a grit and a real toughness to Vegas’ potent top six forward unit, in addition to being a real leader both on and off the ice.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 28: Jonathan Marchessault #81 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates during the first period against the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena on December 28, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

Marchessault brings a bucketload of energy and fire to the ice, and he has the ability to make his teammates want to run through brick walls.

That is a rare and valuable quality to have in your toolbox, and the forward just has the knack of doing all the small intangibles well.

Marchessault battles like a true warrior too and he’s exactly the type of player you would want in the trenches with you.

That presence and will to win is missing from this team right now, as is the vocal leadership that the forward brings to the table in abundance.

And, although the eventual return of Jonathan Marchessault won’t cure all of Vegas’ ailments, it will certainly help.

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