It was Phil Kessel’s night in the spotlight as he would tie the NHL ironman consecutive games streak of 989 games played against one of his former clubs, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The record, which was set by Keith Yandle just last season before he called it a career after 16 seasons, is set to be broken on Tuesday night on the road in San Jose before a National television audience. The Kessel storyline is one that is just a small sample of what the Golden Knights accomplished in a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs,
First Period Breakdown
Kessel opened the game by doing the opening faceoff, signaling is tying of the NHL ironman mark, Just 1:52 into the game, the Golden Knights would get a power play opportunity and we didn’t have to wait long for him to make even more history. On the power play, everyone and the neighbor’s dog would believe Kessel would got his 400th career NHL goal at 3:35 but the call was overturned on a Toronto challenge for offsides. Just 10 seconds after the overturned call. Nicolas Roy would get his fist goal of the season with Kessel and Reilly Smith getting the assist. In the first ten minutes of the game, the Golden Knight outshot the Maple Leafs 8-1.
Logan Thompson made an incredible save off of Mark Giordano and Auston Matthews with 4:25 left in the period. How the puck stayed out of the net defies logic. With 3:20 left, the Maple Leafs would get their first power play on a Smith tripping call. The Golden Knights would effectively kill off the Maple Leaf power play. Toronto would get their shorts off late in the period, but Thompson was solid in net
1st Intermission Score: Golden Knights 1, Maple Leafs 0
Overall impressions of the first period of play:
– It is Phil Kessel’s night. He ties the NHL consecutive games streak on the opening faceoff and then scores a goal that was disallowed on a Toronto challenge.
– Offense getting off to a fast start. The first five minutes of the game has become a very good omen for the Golden Knights. A goal by Nic Roy, on the power play just 10 seconds after the disallowed goal, was the fourth game in seven on the season where they would get a goal inside the first five minutes.
– Logan Thompson is making a name for himself. A sick save off the stick of Matthews was nothing short of spectacular.
First Period Grades
Offense: A+ | Defense: A+ | Special Teams: A+ | Goaltending: A+
Second Period Breakdown
Chandler Stephenson would nearly make it a two goal lead early in the period. The Golden Knights offense again, got off to a great start to the period offensively. In the first five minutes of the period, the Golden Knights would outshoot the Maple Leafs 5-1. William Carrier made a sweet move on Toronto goaltender Ilya Samsonov four minutes and change into the game and would do it again two minutes later. Mitch Marner nearly got the puck in the net but the crossbar saved the one goal lead for Vegas with 13:14 left in the period.
Giordano was called for slashing Kessel with 11:28 remaining in the second frame giving the Golden Knights another power play.. The power play unit looked very good despite not getting a goal. With 6:17 left William Nylander would tie the game at 1-1 a piece on just the third shot of the period by the Leafs. Toronto began taking control of the second period offensively late in the period but could not find a way to get the puck past Thompson.
2nd Intermission score: Golden Knights 1, Maple Leafs 1
Overall impressions of the second period of play:
– Offense still getting its chances but Samsonov looking good in net for the Maple Leafs. The big takeaway is that the puck will eventually go in the more you crowd the net. Samsonov through two periods of play has stopped 20 of 21 shots.
– Logan Thompson still having a fantastic game despite giving up the goal to Nylander. Through two periods, he has made 17 saves on 18 shots.
Second Period Grades
Offense: A- | Defense: B | Special Teams: B+ | Goaltending: A-
Third Period Breakdown
For the third straight period, the Golden Knights began the period with some ruthless aggression on offense. With just :42 seconds into the third, Stephenson would find the net for his third goal of the season. In the first five minutes of the period, the Golden Knights would outshoot Toronto 5-0. The Maple Leafs would finally get their first shot in the period with 13:37 left on a John Tavares wraparound. Rasmus Sandin would then launch a shot and Tavares was hit in the back of the knee, resulting in Tavares leaving the game after being helped off the ice.
Michael Amadio would get his first goal of the season on a wrist shot with 11:39 to go, putting the Golden Knights up by two. With 8:31 left in the game, Alex Kerfoot was called for tripping on Shea Theodore giving the Golden Knights their third power play of the game. A late high-sticking call gave Toronto a power play and a 6 on 4 situation. The Golden Knights were able to effectively kill it off with the game on ice for a win.
Final Score: Golden Knights 3, Maple Leafs 1
Overall impressions of the third period of play:
– The Golden Knights took care of business. The offense did its part by taking advantage of the opportunities given to them.
– Defense was head and shoulders having fun. Toronto was limited to just six shots on goal in the period. Against a quality team, this is something that will resonate with the rest of the league.
– Logan Thompson shutting down a good Maple Leafs team in the closing minutes is what quality goaltenders do.
Third Period Grades
Offense: A+ | Defense: A+ | Special Teams: A+ | Goaltending: A+
Want your voice heard? Join the Vegas Hockey Knight team!
Three takes on Game Knight #7
1 – Complete Game Against Quality Team
By far, this was the best version of the Vegas Golden Knights all season. A quality game all around from the offense to the special teams to the defense to Logan Thompson. This looked like a team that was on a major mission and it was very entertaining from start to finish. These are the games the Golden Knights have to win if they want to be in the conversation of a Stanley Cup run.
2 – Keeping the Misfit line together pays off
There are certain things that must be said, when things work, don’t break the ice. Putting the Stephenson-Eichel-Stone line back together was something that works in the favor of the Golden Knights. The Vegas top line outshot Toronto by an overhelming margin and it was not even close.
3 – Logan Thompson was excellent
Another solid performance by Logan Thompson gives the Golden Knights something to build on over the next few months. His performance in net was magical at times. This is the type of game that sets the tone for the entire season. Facing a challenge from Auston Matthews and denying him set up the finish to the remainder of the game.