Golden Knights search for bounce back vs. surging Predators

NHL Hockey

The Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights will try to bounce back from their first overtime loss of the season when they play the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights had won eight in a row in extra time dating back to an April 1 shootout loss against Minnesota before Sunday’s 5-4 overtime loss at home to Winnipeg.

Vegas fired a season-high 46 shots in the loss and led 2-0 after the first period, then gave up four unanswered goals before rallying for two Mattias Janmark goals in the last seven minutes of regulation. The second came with 8.1 seconds remaining to send the contest into OT.

Kyle Connor scored the winner for the Jets with 2:21 left when he ripped a wrist shot from the right circle past Laurent Brossoit’s blocker and inside the far post at the end of a two-on-one rush with Josh Morrissey.

“Obviously good to come back at the end but overall it’s a game we should have won and we kind of gave that one up,” Janmark said. “Also, you can look at it that we came back from two goals down so it’s a good point in that way.”

The Golden Knights outshot Winnipeg 22-10 in the first period – a season-high for shots in any period – but came away with just a pair of goals by Michael Amadio and Evgenii Dadonov against 2020 Vezina Award winner Connor Hellebuyck.

“For me … if you get four (goals) on a goalie like Hellebuyck, you should find a way to win the game,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “It wasn’t the offense that was the issue. It was defending and keeping pucks out of our net.

“You’re down 4-2 heading into the final 10 minutes. Full marks for finding a way to get a point. I think that’s the silver lining in it. But obviously it wasn’t our best 60-minute effort.”

Nashville, which is 8-1-1 since Dec. 4 and is beginning a three-game western road trip at Las Vegas, also was disappointed with its overall performance in its last game despite blowing out the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 on Saturday.

Rookie forward Tanner Jeannot scored two goals and defenseman Mattias Ekholm had three assists in the win, but the defensive-minded Predators also needed a big game from goalie Juuse Saros who finished with 37 saves.

“We’ll take the two points, but this wasn’t the identity and how we need to play to be able to have success,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “We won because we got very good goaltending, our special teams came through and we had opportunistic scoring. But I think when you look at the identity and how we want to play, it wasn’t at the level we need to be at.”

This the second meeting between the two teams with Vegas, behind a goal and an assist from both Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson and 26 saves from Robin Lehner, cruising to a 5-2 victory in the first matchup on Nov. 24 at Nashville.

Both Stone, who has been battling right knee and right shoulder injuries, and Lehner, who had a lower-body injury in a 4-3 shootout victory at the New York Islanders on Dec. 19, are listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s game by DeBoer.

Stone hasn’t played since scoring two goals in a Dec. 21 loss to Tampa Bay and practiced in a red non-contact jersey on Monday, while Brossoit has started the last four games in goal for the Golden Knights.

–Field Level Media

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