AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 | 9:15 p.m.
Even in the middle of a very up-and-down season, the Golden Knights’ hairpin turns in the last week have been sharp enough to cause whiplash.
After snapping a five-game home losing streak with a tremendous 5-1 win over Nashville two days ago, the Knights traveled to Colorado and got wiped out on Monday, as a series of defensive miscues resulted into a 3-0 loss.
Vegas is now 32-25-4 on the season, including a 15-16-1 mark on the road.
Malcolm Subban got the start in net for Vegas for the second consecutive game and played well, but he received little support from the defense.
The Knights’ first costly mistake came midway through the opening period, when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare tried to carry a puck out of the corner but lost control. The puck slid in front of the Vegas net, where defensemen Jon Merrill and Colin Miller converged and appeared to have the situation under control. But a miscommunication led to neither playing the puck, and Colorado center Tyson Jost slipped in and banged it home for the first goal.
Merrill said the play was indicative of the team being a step slow all night.
“It was a little bit of a miscommunication with who was going to grab it there,” Merrill said. “We all kind of reached for it and nobody got it. Just comes down to communication and being ready to play right off the bat, and we weren’t tonight.”
Vegas came close to tying it early in the second period when Shea Theodore fired a shot that got behind Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov before hitting the crossbar and far post, in that order. The puck caromed out, Colorado gained possession and less than a minute later it was in the net behind Subban.
Subban had no chance on the goal, as Avs forward Gabriel Landeskog found Andrew Agozzino on the far side of the crease with a perfect backdoor pass. Agozzino was left all alone to finish off the alley-oop and make it 2-0 in favor of the home team.
Vegas had another chance to close the gap when Colorado took a penalty less than 30 seconds into the third period, but the resulting power play produced no real scoring chances.
The Avalanche closed the door six minutes into the period, when Subban allowed a rebound on a Matt Nieto shot from the top of the circle. The puck bounced into the air, and Matt Calvert swatted it in to make it 3-0.
Although Vegas out-shot the Avalanche, 40-38, bad luck conspired to keep the puck out of the net. The Knights were 0-of-4 on the power play.
Coach Gerard Gallant thought his team played well on offense, but ran up against a hot goalie and some unfortunate bounces.
“Not much you can do,” Gallant said. “We played a pretty good game tonight. It was a 3-0 game, but it really should have been a 6-5 game. The goalies were excellent. We had 40 shots on net, so sometimes it’s out of your control.”