Vegas Golden Knights blow two goal lead against Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In what was the last game before the NHL shut down their season for a few days among rising COVID-19 cases, the Vegas Golden Knights blew a two-goal lead to the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a tough loss for a Golden Knights team that had the win in their hands before they let it slip through their fingers in the second half of the game.

Both teams had to make last-second adjustments due to COVID-19 regulations. The Lightning were missing head coach Jon Cooper who entered the protocol shortly before the game began. The Golden Knights also had players join the protocol on the day of the game including Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Pietrangelo.

The Golden Knights got off to a quick start powered by a pair of goals by Mark Stone. However, the Lightning were relentless and eventually their efforts paid off as they managed to come back from down 3-1 to win the game 4-3. Steven Stamkos got the game winning goal on the power play with a howitzer of a shot.

“You’d like to get rewarded with points for that,” said head coach Peter DeBoer after the game, “but there’s a reason they have the record they have.”

The Golden Knights got goals from Nic Roy and Stone who had two. Roy’s goal was one for the highlight reel as he deked through the Lightning defence, including stud Victor Hedman, before putting the puck into the back of the net. That’s one that will be on Sportscenter for a while.

Laurent Brossoit steps in for Vegas Golden Knights

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights
Dec 21, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA;Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Laurent Brossoit (39) makes a shoulder save during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Robin Lehner was unavailable for tonight’s game so backup Laurent Brossoit stepped in and started. He gave the Golden Knights a chance to win, all you can ask for from your backup against one of the most explosive teams in the league, even if the Lightning did pull off the comeback.

Brossoit had little chance on the game-winning goal as Stamkos put it in the perfect spot. Stamkos reminded everyone that he’s still among the league’s best snipers and has one of the best shots in the world. It’s a shame we won’t get to see him on the Canadian Olympic team playing alongside Stone this year.

Golden Knights get a few days off

The Golden Knights will now get a chance for a few days of rest. The NHL has paused the season amid rapidly rising COVID-19 cases, something that the Golden Knights had generally managed to avoid until Tuesday. These extra days will allow players to be with their families and hopefully, let the NHL hit the ground running when it returns.

These first few months of the season have been eventful for the Golden Knights who struggled out of the gate. Special teams were an issue and they found themselves near the bottom of the division after the first few games. However, they’ve turned things around and now look like the team that many expected them to be.

This game against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the upcoming one against the Colorado Avalanche are both good tests for the Golden Knights. While they lost against the Lightning, they showed that they are going to be among the top Stanley Cup contenders once they can ice a fully healthy roster.

Mark Stone leaves game with injury

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Boston Bruins
Dec 14, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) skates with the puck across the blue line in front of Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Captain Mark Stone left the game after scoring two goals with an injury. He was one of the best players on the ice when available but unfortunately was not on the bench for the second half of the game. Stone has already missed time this year and it would be a massive loss for the Golden Knights if he had to sit out again.

It’s not a coincidence that the Lightning mounted their comeback when Stone was missing. He’s one of the best players in the NHL, not only because of what he provides offensively but also because of how complete his game is.

The Golden Knights have a few days off before they return on December 27th against the Colorado Avalanche. That should be a great game between two strings teams who faced each other in last year’s playoffs.

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