After having their record season-opening win streak snapped in overtime by the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, the Vegas Golden Knights head to Los Angeles for a Pacific Division showdown with the Kings on Saturday night in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams.
Vegas set an NHL record for the best start to a season by a reigning Stanley Cup champion with seven consecutive wins. Then the Golden Knights blew an early 2-0 lead against the visiting Blackhawks, who won it on Philipp Kurashev’s power-play goal with 2:10 left in OT.
Although the Golden Knights lost for the first time this season, they still take an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) with them to Los Angeles.
Vegas center William Karlsson, who took a tripping penalty on Connor Bedard early in overtime, said when asked if the point streak was still a positive to fall back on, “For sure. We don’t want to lose. We’ve got a game (Saturday), so let’s just focus on that.”
It looked as if the Golden Knights would become just the ninth team in NHL history to begin a season with an 8-0-0 record on Friday when Pavel Dorofeyev and Karlsson each scored in the first 3:52 to give Vegas a 2-0 lead.
However, Chicago answered with two goals in 79 seconds by Ryan Donato and Bedard to tie it later in the period and then took a 3-2 lead early in the third period on a Taylor Raddysh goal. The Golden Knights tied it on a goal by Shea Theodore midway through the third, setting the stage for Kurashev’s game-winner.
Afterward, Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy pointed to his team’s sloppy play that saw the Golden Knights finish with a 14-4 edge in giveaways as well a managing just five shots on four unsuccessful power plays as key reasons for their first loss of the season.
“We did not execute at an NHL level for most of the night, and it ended up catching up to us,” Cassidy said. “It happens sometimes, and (today) was one of those afternoons.
“They’ve got to put it behind them. It’s one of 82 (regular-season games). That’s what I’d hope they’d think. Let’s not do it again. Let’s not repeat it. Division rival (upcoming on Saturday). Haven’t seen a lot of those this year, so that should get their attention right away.”
The Kings come in feeling much better about themselves after the front end of the back-to-back, as they rallied from a 4-1, first-period deficit to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 on Friday night in Tempe, Ariz.
Drew Doughty, who clanged a shot off the post seconds earlier, scored on a one-timer from the top of the right circle with 1:59 to go to cap the comeback, which featured three third-period goals by Los Angeles.
Doughty, who had a game-high 27:22 time on ice, scored two goals. Los Angeles goalie Cam Talbot, who replaced starter Pheonix Copley midway through the first period, stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced to lead the Kings.
“Definitely gives us a boost, and going back home and playing in front of our crowd gives us another boost,” Kings forward Quinton Byfield, who had a goal and an assist, said of the comeback win. “We know what we’re going up against, one of the hottest teams in the NHL. So we’ve got to come out there, have a better start and play the full 60 (minutes) this time.”