Las Vegas Sun

February 25, 2024

Golden Knights’ 12-game point streak ends with loss to Ducks

Golden Knights fall to Ducks

Ryan Sun / Associated Press

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, left, and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore vie for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Anaheim, Calif.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mason McTavish scored the go-ahead goal with 3:40 to play, Sam Carrick had two late goals, and the Anaheim Ducks rallied from two goals down in the third period to hand the Vegas Golden Knights their first regulation loss of the season with a 4-2 victory on Sunday night.

Carrick got the tying goal with 9:05 left and added an empty-netter for the upstart Ducks, winners of six straight for the first time in nearly two years.

Adam Henrique got the first of Anaheim's four goals on five shots in an impressive final period against the defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights, who had started the season 11-0-1.

“Going down 2-0 to the Stanley Cup champions, best team in the league, in my opinion ... and to show resiliency and to come back, and we’ve done it a bunch of times against a bunch of teams, it’s pretty impressive to see that kind of resiliency in this group, especially such a young group,” forward Alex Killorn said after making his Ducks debut.

Vegas' 12-game point streak to start the season was the longest by a defending champ in NHL history. The Knights also had earned a point in 20 straight regular-season games since last March, the second-longest such streak in the last 40 years.

“That's a good start, but you never want to lose, and we can't feel happy about anything, really," said Vegas forward William Karlsson, a former Ducks draft pick. “We'll try to learn from this and go try to win the next one, because I'd love to go 82-0-0, but yeah.”

But the NHL is starting to notice the Ducks, who look exciting again after five straight non-playoff seasons. Their six-game winning streak has included five third-period comebacks, matching the 2018-19 Buffalo Sabres for the most late comebacks in a six-game streak in NHL history.

“The game is mental,” first-year Anaheim coach Greg Cronin said. “It’s about believing in one another. It’s about believing in a system and executing the system. Obviously we have enough talent to convert the effort and the intensity we’re bringing into games to score goals and defend, (but) it’s still early. I told them it’s a great win, you put it in your pocket, and you get ready for the next one.”

Anaheim trailed 2-0 entering the third, but Henrique got the Ducks on the board with a power-play goal from the slot. The Ducks tied it when Jack Eichel coughed up the puck to Ducks rookie Pavel Mintyukov, who fed Carrick against the run of play for his second goal of the season.

McTavish then scored the sixth goal of his impressive breakout season with a slick one-timer under pressure in front of Vegas goalie Logan Thompson. The Ducks locked up the win in the final minutes when Carrick's cross-ice fling deflected in off the post.

John Gibson made 29 saves for Anaheim. Frank Vatrano and Cam Fowler had two assists apiece.

Ivan Barbashev and Eichel scored for the Golden Knights, who faded late on the second night of a back-to-back set after steamrolling Colorado 7-0 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Thompson stopped 18 shots.

“I give our players a lot of credit,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That's their fourth (game) in six days, and I think we gave up three chances, and they all ended up in the net. So that's going to happen some nights. Timely saves, timely goals. ... Obviously we could manage the puck a little better in certain situations, but as a coach, you're looking at no major breakdowns. Just some pucks that had eyes.”

Vegas went up 2-0 during 4-on-4 play late in the second when the Ducks didn't get pressure on Eichel, who skated in on Gibson's glove side and wired a wrist shot in and out of Anaheim's net.

Killorn finally took the ice after missing the Ducks’ first 10 games with a broken finger, skating on a line with fellow 30-something veterans Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg.

Killorn got hurt in an exhibition game Sept. 27, delaying his first appearance with the Ducks after 11 seasons with Tampa Bay. Anaheim signed the two-time Stanley Cup champion to a four-year, $25 million contract in July.