Vegas Golden Knights: Stastny the hockey guy, other takeaways

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MONTREAL, QC – JANUARY 18: Las Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes an acrobatic save over Montreal Canadiens left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) during the Las Vegas Golden Knights versus the Montreal Canadiens game on January 18, 2020, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It was a wild night in Montreal as the Vegas Golden Knights fell to the Canadiens 5-4 in a shootout loss on Saturday.

In what was Peter DeBoer’s first loss as Head Coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, granted this was only his second game behind the bench, the Montreal Canadiens ultimately came out on top in what was a crazy back-and-forth contest.

And it wasn’t always pretty for the Golden Knights who dug themselves a three-goal hole in a nightmare first period.

To put that into perspective quickly, the Knights have allowed the first goal of the game in seven of their last nine outings, including this one, while it was the third time in the same span that they had allowed three goals in the opening period.

Just incredible.

Nick Cousins made a nifty move to his forehand before beating Marc-Andre Fleury following what was a shambolic breakdown in the Vegas zone.

Ilya Kovalchuk, who had tallied seven points in seven games heading into Saturday, made it a two-goal game after mopping up his own rebound after Fleury had stopped two initial shots.

The Canadiens, who were 3-6-1 in their last 10 outings prior to Saturday, were rolling and they added another goal at the end of the first period thanks to Joel Armia, after a shot from the point deflected off the forward and past Fleury.

Credit where credit is due, though, because the Knights regrouped after the first intermission and they mounted a comeback in the second period.

Jonathan Marchessault got the ball rolling midway through the middle frame after blasting a one-timer past Carey Price from a Reilly Smith feed.

Paul Stastny, who thrives on a second line between Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, made it a one-goal game after jamming the puck past Price.

Cousins did give Montreal a little bit of breathing room again in the third period after beating Fleury on an odd-man rush, although the Golden Knights refused to go away.

Pacioretty scored late in the period with a laser of a wrister from the point, before Smith tallied his 20th goal of the year after deflecting a Stastny shot past Price to take the game to overtime with seconds remaining.

Marc-Andre Fleury was absolutely peppered in overtime but the future Hall of Famer stopped all seven shots flung in his direction, with his heroics taking the game to a shootout.

And, after both Ilya Kovalchuk and Jonathan Marchessault successfully converted their attempts in the first round, there was a flurry of misses and saves which led to former Golden Knight Tomas Tatar scoring the winning goal for Montreal.

It was a bonkers game that highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of this Vegas Golden Knights team, and we had some takeaways from the game…

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