The Golden Knights were looking to continue its winning ways after a disappointing 3-2 overtime shootout loss to the Dallas Stars. With Ivan Barbashev making his Vegas debut, the Golden Knights went on a quick road trip to Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche had other ideas as they shut out the Golden Knights with 3-0 score. It is the first time the Golden Knights took a loss in regulation since January 27. The loss also resulted in a nine game point streak being snapped as the club would finish the month of February with a 6-1-2 record.
Golden Knights give up early goal as Barbashev makes debut
Right off the opening faceoff and within the first 15 seconds of the game, the Avalanche strike Mikko Rantannen fired off a shot past Adin Hill to take a quick 1-0 lead on the Golden Knights. It is the fastest goal given up this season. The next few minutes would result in an exchange of shots from both teams, At With 14:29 left, Barbashev would take his first faceoff as a Golden Knight and would take the victory over Nathan MacKInnon.
The debuting Barbashev just 30 seconds later would get his first shot off, which was saved by Alexandar Georgiev. William Karlsson also got off a pair of shots that went wide and then stopped by Georgiev. With 11 minutes passed, despite being down just 1-0, the Golden Knights led the Avalanche in shots by a 10-2 margin. The Avalanche would then take control of the period with a series of shots and control of the puck.
Avalanche 1, Golden Knights 0 – 1st Intermission
The first period despite the early goal was a fairly even period between the two. Each team had their fair share of momentum and shots taken throughout. The shots in the period were even at 11 a piece. Giving up a quick goal almost always put you behind the eight ball until you find a way to counter. Staying out of the penalty box is always a good thing as neither team got the honors in the opening period.
Rantannen scores again as penalties pile up for both teams
The Golden Knights would get off four of the first five shots in the middle period. The start of the period had the same vibe as the entire first period with an even look at the puck from both the Avalanche and Golden Knights. The first major bit of action came with an Evan Rodrigues shot at Hill, who was able to be a big save to keep it within one. With 6:42 left, coinciding with a MacKinnon shot at Hill, Brett Howden and Mikko Rantanen got into a tangle sending both to the penalty box for roughing. The four-on-four would last less than 20 seconds as Chandler Stephenson would get called for cross-checking on Samuel Girard making it a four on three for a minute, 44 seconds. Devon Toews would get off a few shots including one that would hot the goalpost past Hill.
After the brief Colorado power play, Shea Theodore made a fancy shot on goal that nearly toed the game but Georgiev, who has been solid all evening, came up with another save. A half minute later with 3:40 left Rantanen got his second goal of the night past Hill to put the Avalanche up 2-0. Seconds after that, Phil Kessel was called for an illegal check to the head against Andrew Cogliano and Alex Newhook was called for holding the stick against Nicolas Hague. The two penalties forced a four on four for the second time in the period. Outside of a Toews shot that was recovered by Hill, the two teams saw the penalties and period expire.
Avalanche 2, Golden Knights 0 – 2nd Intermission
The Golden Knights played well enough to stand toe to toe with the Avalanche as they have for the bast majority of the game. Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, the Rantanen goal results in a two goal deficit. While the Golden Knights found the penalty box, the Avalanche would also find themselves in the same boat at the same time. Overall, good period from the Golden Knights but being down two is not ideal, especially on the road.
MacKinnon ices the game in Avalanche favor
The third period saw the two teams trade barbs and chances with the game still giving the vibe of two very evenly matched teams. No major action occurred on ice after Logan O’Connor nearly made it a three goal deficit with a tip in but Hill was there to make the save. Denis Malgin was called for tripping against Keegan Kolesar with 9:28 left in regulation. This gave the Golden Knights their first power play of the evening. Shots by Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault sailed wide of the net, Stephenson was also there to make a pair of shots on Georgiev, but the Avalanche managed to kill off the penalty.
Coming into the final minutes, with 3:29 left in the game and the net empty, MacKinnon scored his 22nd goal of the season putting the Avalanche up comfortably 3-0. The Golden Knights would continue to try and get a goal but nothing was not going past the red hot Georgiev.
Avalanche 3, Golden Knights 0 – Final
The Golden Knights, despite the disappointing result, played fairly well. Unfortunately, the offense just could not get the puck into the net and past Georgiev. The Avalanche has been just as hot as the Golden Knights have been over the last few weeks. Barbashev did not have much of an impact in his first game as a Golden Knight, but there are plenty of opportunities over the stretch run. The issue is the game got off to a slow but flat start for the Golden Knights, which carried over towards the final two periods.
- With the loss the Golden Knights are 35-19-6 with 76 points at the 60 game mark.
- Colorado wins the season series between the two teams with two wins out of the three games. Colorado moves to within two points of the Dallas Stars in the Central Division.
- Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill saved 31 of 33 shots he faced.
- The next game is Wednesday evening against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Fortress, which will be broadcast nationally on TNT. Carolina is in first place in the Metropolitan Division ahead of the Devils and Rangers.
- If the season ended after the night’s activity, the Golden Knights would draw Pacific Division rival Seattle in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, The Central Division leader Dallas Stars would get the Winnipeg Jets.
- Overall, the Golden Knights have a one point lead for the best record in the Western Conference over the Dallas Stars. They are two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and four points in front of the Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Kraken in the Pacific Division.
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