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Golden Knights Lehner finally gets goal support in 5-1 victory over Senators

Noah Strang
Golden Knights Robin Lehner
Nov 4, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner (90) loses a glove in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights bounced back in a big way with a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night in Ottawa. It was a huge response for a team that got shut out last game against the TorontoMaple Leafs. The explosion of goals was well overdue and a huge relief for the Golden Knights who have been puttering offensively during this early part of the season.

With the news of the blockbuster trade for Jack Eichel taking the dominant storyline for the Golden Knights tonight, it was an impressive display of effort and a representation of how good this team can be despite missing many of their best players. While the Senators aren’t among the best teams in the league, they still have a group of young and feisty players that will make every night a challenge.

“I think this was exactly what we needed,” commented coach Peter DeBoer after the game. “We weren’t happy with our performance [last game].”

Robin Lehner was the best player on the ice tonight for the Golden Knights as his performance early in the game allowed the Golden Knights to get out of this one with two points. Despite allowing more shots and high-danger chances in the first period, the Golden Knights were still able to enter the first intermission tied at zero. Lehner finished the game stopping 38 of the 39 shots he faced.

This win brought the Golden Knights back to a .500 record. Staying around that mark while they have so many injuries will be crucial to make sure that they aren’t facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs when they do have a full roster at their disposal.

The floodgates open for Golden Knights

The Golden Knights have been struggling to create an identity while attacking with their current lineup. Those issues were best represented last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs when they were shut out for the second time this season and couldn’t muster much in terms of chances.

Golden Knights Senators
Nov 4, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) battles with Ottawa Senators defenseman Artem Zub (2) for control of the puck in the second period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight they managed to score five goals and they got scoring from many different places in the lineup. It started with William Carrier who scored his second of the season after a weak shot found the back of the net through Senators goalie Filip Gustavsson’s five-hole.

It was an encouraging offensive outburst for a team that has desperately needed one and hopefully a sign of things to come. The Golden Knights have been on the wrong side of the puck luck in a few games this season and tonight that trend was reversed.

Alex Pietrangelo sets the tone

Alex Pietrangelo has been at the center of many debates this season as his analytics have been dreadful while those who watch carefully have been supporting him. No matter your stance on this discussion, tonight was a signature performance from the defender who was spectacular from start to finish.

He scored his first goal of the season on a shot from the point near the end of the third period. Besides his goal, he also led all Golden Knights skates with a CF% of 70% at 5-on-5. Safe to say that both those who value the eye test, as well as the analytics, will be happy with his game tonight.

The Golden Knights completely dominated play while he was on the ice to the tone of scoring three goals and only conceding one at 5-on-5 while he was playing. In a game that was very fast-paced, he provided a steady presence and deserves to be recognized for his play.

New look lines step up

DeBoer decided to roll with a few new lines tonight. One of those changes was moving Carrier to the second line to play alongside Chandler Stephenson and Evgenii Dadonov. While Carrier has traditionally been used as a bottom-six energy player, he thrived in this role and was one of the most dangerous skaters on the ice.

Carrier led the Golden Knights with 0.47 expected goals at 5-on-5 and scored the goal that opened the scoring that was mentioned above. The Golden Knights had 66.67% of the shots while that line was on the ice at 5-on-5 and generally was one of the big contributors to winning this game.

Another line that thrived was the trio of Jonathan Marchessault, Nicolas Roy, and Reilly Smith. The Golden Knights scored two goals while conceding none at 5-on-5 while these players were on the ice. It was a big performance for DeBoer’s new combinations which gives the coach more possibilities heading into the future. When DeBoer was asked about Roy’s performance after the game, he had many positive things to say.

“I thought he did a great job. It’s a big ask.”, said DeBoer, “He deserves that opportunity and he played really well.”

The Golden Knights play their next game on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. The puck will drop for that game at 4 PM Pacific Time.