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August 19, 2019

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Golden Knights’ power play struggles in loss at Winnipeg

Golden Knights

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press via AP

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) stops Golden Knights’ Paul Stastny (26) as Jets’ Jacob Trouba (8) defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Winnipeg Jets had two breakaway chances Tuesday. They scored on both of them.

The Golden Knights only scored once, and the Jets added two empty-net goals as Vegas dropped a 4-1 decision on the road at Bell MTS Place.

“I thought we were the better team for most of the game and they found a way to win,” coach Gerard Gallant told AT&T SportsNet. “As long as you keep playing well, you’re going to lose some games when it happens, but for the most part you’re going to win a lot of those games.”

Brandon Pirri scored the Golden Knights’ goal, a third-period deflection off a Brayden McNabb point shot. It was his eighth goal in 11 games this season.

The Golden Knights outshot the Jets, 44-27. It was the first time in 11 games the Golden Knights lose when they had at least 40 shots on goal.

Kyle Connor and Mathieu Perreault scored for Winnipeg.

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Power play is a mess

For as good as the Golden Knights have been at 5-on-5 season, their power play has struggled, and Tuesday may have been the low point. They were 0-for-6 with the man advantage, including 50 seconds of 5-on-3 as time wound down in the second period.

Winnipeg even scored short-handed, the first goal Vegas allowed while on the power play this season. Vegas has one power-play goal over its last 30 attempts on the power play, meaning it has allowed as many goals as it has scored in that span.

“When you get six chances and a 5-on-3 and you don’t bury one, it gets a little frustrating,” Gallant said to AT&T SportsNet.

Vegas played better than the score indicates

Two empty-net goals may have made the score look like it was a thumping, but it was much tighter. In fact, the Golden Knights may have played the better game.

The Golden Knights established a new season high for shots in a period, when they fired 26 on net in the second. They led in Corsi For 43-35 at 5-on-5 for the game and 36-20 in scoring chances.

But Winnipeg’s backup goalie was nearly perfect. Laurent Brossoit was tremendous in the stead of starter Connor Hellebuyck, making 43 saves — he was only beaten by Pirri’s third-period redirection.

“It doesn’t look like we played a strong game, but I thought the chances were there to score and we just gotta do a better job of putting them in,” forward Max Pacioretty said to AT&T SportsNet. “I thought their goalie played really, really well and they were able to capitalize on the mistakes we did make.”

Knights not good value as a ‘dog

The Golden Knights were the betting underdog Tuesday, only the 10th time this season they have not been favored. It was the ninth time this year they lost.

The last time the Golden Knights won as the underdog was Oct. 6 against the Minnesota Wild, the second game of the season. Vegas has been favored in all its home games this year.

The Golden Knights will get two more cracks at the Jets this season, both at home: Feb. 22 and March 21.

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