Published Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 | 4 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 | 9:32 p.m.
The Golden Knights lost in regulation for only the third time this season Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena, as Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 38-of-39 shots and New York held on to win 2-1.
The Islanders got on the board in the second period when Cody Eakin accidentally deflected the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury. New York forward Ross Johnston was given credit for the goal.
Rookie-of-the-year candidate Mathew Barzal stole the puck from Colin Miller in the offensive zone, then found Jordan Eberle who was wide open in front of the net. Eberle took his time, and fired the puck off the crossbar and into the net to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead midway through the third period.
Erik Haula pulled the Golden Knights within one on a power play goal with 5:07 remaining in the game. Haula deflected a shot by David Perron past Halak for his 17th goal of the season. The assist gave Perron a team-high 30 on the season.
Vegas had multiple chances in the final minute with the goalie pulled and the extra attacker on the ice, but Halak held on to give New York the win.
Islanders lead 1-0 after the second period
The Islanders entered the Golden Knights’ zone on a rush, and defenseman Cody Eakin held his stick along the ice to prevent a cross-ice pass. Unfortunately for Eakin, his stick deflected the puck through the legs of his own goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to break a scoreless tie.
Ross Johnston got credit for the goal at the 10:01 mark of the second period to give the New York Islanders a 1-0 lead over Vegas.
The Golden Knights plodded through the period without many scoring chances of their own, but still lead 22-20 in shots on goal after two periods. Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak is 20 minutes away from his first shutout of the season.
Vegas is 4-5-1 when leading after two periods, while New York is 17-0-0 when leading after two.
Golden Knights, Islanders tied 0-0 after one period
The Golden Knights created a flurry of offensive chances in the first period, but couldn’t beat Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak and remain scoreless at T-Mobile Arena.
Halak did everything but stand on his head in the first period, making 13 saves including a spectacular glove save on a breakaway chance by Brendan Leipsic late in the period.
The one time the Golden Knights did shoot the puck past Halak, Oscar Lindberg rang his shot off the left post.
The Islanders didn’t have many dangerous chances in the first period, but did pepper Marc-Andre Fleury with nine shots on goal.
There were no penalties in the first period. Vegas is 13-4-1 when tied after the first period, and the Islanders are 7-7-2.
Oddsmakers are expecting a high-scoring affair between the Golden Knights and Islanders tonight at T-Mobile Arena.
For only the second time this season, the total line for goals in a Golden Knights game is set at 6.5. The first time was Nov. 6, when Vegas visited the Toronto Maple Leafs and fell 4-3 in a shootout.
It’s understandable, considering the Golden Knights and Islanders are both top-three in the NHL in goals per game (3.4). Vegas’ offense is particularly hot, scoring 11 goals in the last two games and 18 in the last four.
Forward William Karlsson has led the way with a team-high 27 goals, which is only two less than league-leader Alex Ovechkin. His linemates Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith have pitched in with 46 and 36 points, respectively, this season.
The Islanders’ offensive attack has been equally important, spearheaded by John Tavares, who is third in NHL win points with 26 goals and 31 assists.
“The Islanders got a lot of talent up and down their lineup,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “They have their star player in Tavares, but their younger players like Anthony (Beauvillier), the young (Mathew) Barzal, are talented, young hockey players. We need to play a solid, hard game and make sure we’re playing our game.”
Vegas is shorthanded defensively, with Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill and Luca Sbisa all out with injuries. McNabb, who missed the third period of the Golden Knights’ 6-3 win over Columbus on Tuesday night, is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, Gallant said.
With only five healthy defensemen remaining, the Golden Knights were forced to call up Jason Garrison from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. Garrison, who played four games with Vegas to start the season, will be paired with Nate Schmidt on the ice tonight.
While the defense adjusts to the absence of McNabb, it will have the luxury of being backstopped by Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads the NHL in save percentage (.944) and goals against average (1.75) and will be making the trip to Tampa Bay for his third all-star game appearance of his career.
Prediction : Golden Knights 4, NY Islanders 2
Season record for predictions: 26-16
Puck drops: 7 p.m.
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink Prism 1760)
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-210, Total 6.5 minus-130 to the under
Golden Knights (32-11-4) (19-2-2 home)
Coach: Gerard Gallant
Goal leader: William Karlsson (27)
Assist leader: Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron (29)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (12-3-2, 1.75 goals against average)
New York Islanders (246-20-5) (11-13-2 road)
Coach: Doug Weight
Goal leader: Anders Lee (27)
Assist leader: Josh Bailey (42)
Expected goalie: Jaroslav Halak (14-14-3, 3.23 goals against average)
Golden Knights game day roster
Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, David Perron, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.
Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, Brad Hunt, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.
Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban