Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 | 10:48 p.m.
There are three ways of evaluating the Golden Knights’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins tonight at T-Mobile Arena.
If you were the man in the net, you feel the responsibility of a shootout loss on your shoulders, thinking if you did better your team would have won.
If you were sitting on the bench, you wish you would have done more to prevent the game from reaching a shootout, kicking yourself for not capitalizing on an overtime power play, but overall knowing you played a strong game.
If you were standing behind the bench, you’re happy with your team’s effort, and come into the postgame press conference in a mood that would make someone think you had just one.
We’ll start with Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Golden Knights goalie returned to form after allowing at least four goals in the previous three games. He batted away 25 Boston shots, then four more in the shootout. Still, he wasn’t pleased after the game.
“I was trying to give us a chance to shoot one more time,” he said. “Just always sucks to lose in those shootouts because it feels like I should stop them because its 1-on-1, me and them.”
Then there were the skaters. They were the ones who outshot and out-chanced the Bruins all night. They had multiple breakaways but couldn’t sneak one in. Their best look came midway through the overtime, when Boston got caught with too many men on the ice. Vegas managed three shots on the power play, but they couldn’t capitalize and the game needed a shootout.
William Karlsson scored on the Golden Knights’ second attempt, but Brandon Pirri, Alex Tuch, Jonathan Marchessault, Shea Theodore and Oscar Lindberg all went down swinging.
“There’s no such thing as a good loss, right? But at the same time, I thought our guys played hard tonight,” defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “I wish the game would have kept going. It was one of those nights.”
Finally there was coach Gerard Gallant. The Golden Knights coach lamented how well Boston goalie Jaroslav Halak played with his 31 saves and five shootout saves, but still joked that “you can’t run the goalies over anymore.”
“You get suspended for that,” he said in response to a question about how to deal with a hot goalie.
Gallant was upbeat, repeatedly stressing that he was happy with the effort. He said there wasn’t any frustration and he’ll gladly take the one point in the standings.
“I think if we played the game over again, we’d probably win it,” Gallant said. “Are we disappointed we didn’t get two points? Definitely. But I’m not going to fault our group for that effort.
“There’s no negatives. We played a great hockey game. We worked hard, we competed hard, if we play like that every night we’ll win a lot of hockey games.”