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3 takeaways from Golden Knights’ loss: Torched again

Updated March 16, 2022 - 7:03 am

The five-game road trip the Golden Knights completed Tuesday was supposed to be when they gained ground in the Pacific Division and made their push toward the postseason.

Not only were the Knights riding the high of an emotional home victory over Ottawa on March 6, the swing back east featured four teams that were well out of the playoff picture.

Instead, the Knights limped home battered and bruised with a franchise-record losing streak after a 7-3 pounding from the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“It feels like we’ve got to play a perfect game right now,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “That’s a big ask for our group. Most nights on this trip we’ve had most of those things going. Just not enough to win.”

The short-handed Knights were unable to stop the bleeding and lost their fifth straight in regulation for the first time in franchise history.

They were outscored 23-11 by Philadelphia, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Columbus and the Jets, including 9-2 in the first period, despite holding a plus-47 advantage in shots on goal.

In the final three games, the Knights were torched for 18 goals. The seven allowed to Winnipeg is a season high.

Goalie Laurent Brossoit gave up four goals on 13 shots in his return to Winnipeg after serving as the Jets’ backup the previous three seasons. He was pulled with 8:51 remaining in the second period in favor of Logan Thompson, who didn’t fare much better.

“Just didn’t get in front of enough pucks. Pretty simple,” DeBoer said. “I’m not a goaltending expert, but you’ve got to get in front of a couple.”

Nicolas Roy scored in the second period for the Knights to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 2-1, but the Jets responded with two goals 2:05 apart from Nikolaj Ehlers and Logan Stanley to regain control.

Kyle Connor had his 38th goal and two assists, and Mark Scheifele finished with two points.

Stanley logged a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal and an assist to go with a 10-9 decision in his fight against Keegan Kolesar in the first period that woke up Winnipeg.

Defenseman Brayden Pachal made his NHL debut for the Knights.

“This time of the year, 20 games, I don’t think there’s any team sitting around and saying, ‘We’re healthy, and we’ve got lots of energy,’ ” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “This is when the good teams come to play. You’ve just got to find a way to win.”

Here are three takeaways from the game:

1. Strong start wasted

The Knights didn’t allow a shot on goal for the first 12:26 of the first period, and the home crowd responded with a sarcastic cheer when defenseman Dylan DeMelo’s long drive was gloved by Brossoit.

That reaction fired up the Jets, who responded with two goals 33 seconds apart late in the first.

Blake Wheeler opened the scoring when he breezed into the offensive zone and sent a forehand over Brossoit’s shoulder at 18:08. Connor put the Knights in a 2-0 hole.

The Knights are 4-14-0 when trailing after the first period.

“I kind of liked the way we were playing,” forward William Karlsson said. “There was too many odd-man rushes in the first maybe, but other than that, the second and the third I think we were the better team. But it’s all about scoring goals.”

2. Showing some fight

Pietrangelo converted on a power play, and Michael Amadio also scored midway through the third period to bring the Knights within 5-3.

But any hopes of a comeback were thwarted almost a minute after Amadio’s goal when winger Jonathan Marchessault was penalized for slashing Ehlers. Marchessault went too far arguing he was following through on a shot and was assessed a 10-minute misconduct, sending him to an early shower.

Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey converted on the ensuing power play four seconds later to put the Jets ahead 6-3.

Marchessault also took a costly retaliation penalty late in the loss at Buffalo on Thursday.

“I’m proud that we didn’t just quit playing. We gave it a try,” Karlsson said. “We managed to score two goals and make it a little bit of a game.”

3. Scoreboard watching

The Knights caught a break when Dallas lost and remain in a playoff spot based on points. But third-place Edmonton moved two points clear in the division with its victory over Detroit and has two games in hand.

The Knights hold the second wild card with 20 games remaining and Monday’s trade deadline lurking, while four teams are within three points.

It only gets more difficult from here, as the Knights host Eastern Conference-leading Florida on Thursday before a showdown Saturday against second-place Los Angeles.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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