The Vegas Golden Knights, optimistic they are escaping a slump, continue their longest homestand of the season on Saturday night when they face the Calgary Flames in Las Vegas.
It will be the second contest of a five-game home stretch for Vegas, which started the homestand with a much-needed 2-1 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday. The result was only the third win in 10 games for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who began the season with a 12-game unbeaten streak (11-0-1) but have gone just 13-13-4 since.
Alex Pietrangelo scored the game-winner vs. Boston with his sixth career overtime goal, tapping in Mark Stone’s crossing pass into an open right side of the net for his first goal since Nov. 10.
“I needed that one,” Pietrangelo said.
So did the Golden Knights, who were playing the second game of a back-to-back that began with a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday in Denver — the fifth time in a 26-game span that they were blanked.
“Identity game for us in terms of hard to play against,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I think the Bruins would say that, and they were hard to play against. So you’ve got yourself a playoff-type battle. I think the more we’re in those type of games, the (more) it will bring the best out of us, getting dragged into the fight so to speak.”
Added Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel, who had a goal and an assist, “Just a real gutsy win by our group. A lot of good to like about tonight. We need to build on this moving forward.”
Cassidy said, “We’re going through some downs right now. There’s no doubt about it. So this is a really good win against a really good hockey team. I like the way we won. We gutted it out. It was playoff-style hockey out there, and we didn’t buckle.”
Calgary brings a two-game winning streak into the Saturday contest. The Flames scored six goals in each victory.
It was a dads trip for the Flames, who were greeted with high-fives and a victory tunnel formed by fathers of the players as they left the ice following a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday in Tempe, Ariz.
Yegor Sharangovich registered his second career hat trick and Blake Coleman had a goal and two assists to lead Calgary, which jumped out to a 4-1 first-period lead. Jacob Markstrom finished with 32 saves.
“When you get a lead like that, it is really hard for a team to come back on,” Flames coach Ryan Huska said. “I was really pleased with (the start). We need more of those.”
Huska laughed when asked about getting mobbed by the fathers as the team left the ice for the long walk to the Mullett Arena locker room.
“No, I didn’t even know they were going to be there,” he said. “It was actually a funny moment. It’s neat. That’s what makes these trips and really what it’s all about. It was neat to see that.”
Huska gave the fathers, adorned in their sons’ jerseys, an assist for the quick start the Flames had to the game.
“You always want to play well for your dad, whether you’re a young kid or an NHL player that makes a lot of money,” Huska said. “When dad is around, the guys tend to play better.”
The Saturday game will be the third meeting between the teams this season. Calgary won the first one 2-1 on a MacKenzie Weegar goal with five seconds left in overtime on Nov. 27 at home. Host Vegas won the second one 5-4 in overtime on Dec. 12 as Stone had two goals, including the game-winner, and two assists.
–Field Level Media
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