The Vegas Golden Knights have lost three games in a row this week to drop out of first place in the Pacific Division of the National Hockey League, as the Los Angeles Kings suddenly have won four games in a row to surpass them in the standings. This is the second time this season the Golden Knights have lost three consecutive times, and hopefully, the Vegas organization will respond like it did earlier in the year: with a win in the next game out, which is Sunday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against the Arizona Coyotes.
In this trio of defeats, the Golden Knights have been outscored by a combined 14-6 margin, and eight of those goals against came in the third period. It's entirely possible that a little "Thanksgiving fatigue" set in for the Vegas roster, although the reality of playing back-to-back games on the road certainly factored into the third-period lapses as all eight of those final-period scores for the opponents came on Thursday night in Minnesota and Friday night in Winnipeg.
The week started off on the wrong skate as the Golden Knights lost an eight-game win streak on home ice Tuesday night with a 3-0 loss to the Dallas Stars. It was the first time all season that Vegas was shutout, in the team's 23rd game of the season. The last four NHL expansion teams all got shutout at least twice in their first 20 games, as we noted last week. Maybe it was just time for it to happen to the Golden Knights.
Thursday's 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Wild was a tough one to swallow, as Vegas opened up the third period with two straight goals to take a 2-1 lead with 15:21 remaining in the contest. However, Minnesota scored just 48 seconds later to tie the game and then went on to score the game winner with just under eight minutes left. An empty-net goal at the end provided the final scoring margin.
Coming off that disappointing result, the Golden Knights took a 2-1 lead in the first period the next night in Winnipeg, but with the score tied at two when the third period began, the Jets unloaded on Vegas big time: Winnipeg scored the go-ahead goal just 33 seconds into the final frame and ended up scoring five times in the period, including an empty netter late in the game. The final score—Winnipeg 7, Vegas 4—was a little misleading, but a loss is a loss.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban took the first two losses, giving up three goals in each start, while Maxime Lagace gave up six goals in the third defeat. Subban is expected to start on Sunday against the last-place Coyotes.
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