weather icon Mostly Cloudy

3 takeaways from Knights loss: Captain exits early with injury

Updated February 20, 2024 - 11:02 pm

The Golden Knights were defeated 5-3 by the Nashville Predators on Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena, losing for the third straight time at home.

It may not have been the Knights’ most significant setback of the night.

Captain Mark Stone suffered an upper-body injury and did not play in the third period. Coach Bruce Cassidy did not have an update on Stone after the game.

“I mean obviously we know how special of a player Mark is, but any of our guys, you never want to see a guy go down,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. ‘We’re obviously fighting some injuries right now. We’ll see where things go tomorrow. But tough when your captain goes down like that. I thought we tried to push as hard as we could for him. Those are the ones you want to win for your captain.”

The Knights fell behind 4-1 after two periods even when Stone was playing. The team’s first-ever draft pick, Cody Glass, scored with 52 seconds remaining in the first period to put the Predators ahead 2-1. Nashville added to its lead with two goals in the middle frame.

Center William Karlsson and right wing Michael Amadio scored in the third period to cut the Knights’ deficit to 4-3 with 2:59 remaining, but Predators forward Gustav Nyquist scored an empty-net goal to seal his team’s win.

“It took us a while to get going,” Cassidy said. “Credit to them, they stuck with it and took advantage of our slow start and I think (their physicality) had a lot to do with them gaining momentum throughout the game.”

The Knights weren’t able to get out of neutral and it cost them.

Pietrangelo scored the team’s other goal. Defenseman Shea Theodore recorded an assist in his first game since Nov. 22 because of an upper-body injury that required surgery. Defenseman Alec Martinez added two assists.

Defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan McDonagh each had two assists for Nashville (29-25-2).

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

1. He’s back

Theodore provided an immediate boost on the man advantage.

Theodore got an assist on Karlsson’s power-play goal in the third period when he carried the puck into the zone and flicked it to center Nicolas Roy, who found a streaking Karlsson for the finish.

Theodore played 21:03 and finished with a shot on goal and a blocked shot.

“Obviously, I think when you miss an extended period of time, it’s hard to replicate a game,” Theodore said. “But I thought I fought hard, skated pretty well. Obviously we’re in the grind now this season so games are gonna come up quick.”

2. In-and-out

Cassidy loaded up the top six Tuesday and put Karlsson on the top line with Stone and Chandler Stephenson.

Stephenson was kicked out to left wing with Karlsson joining the group. Cassidy said he hoped the move would allow Stephenson to focus on offense instead of worrying about all the defensive responsibilities centers are tasked with in the Knights’ system.

The lines still ended up getting jumbled. Karlsson, who was playing in his sixth game since returning from a foot injury, left the game late in the first period. He took a huge hit from Nashville’s Luke Evangelista with six seconds left before the first intermission that led to an interference call. Karlsson returned halfway through the second.

3. No sphere for you!

Nashville’s original travel plans for this week had the Predators arriving in Las Vegas after Saturday’s game at St. Louis and attending the U2 show at the Sphere on Sunday as a team.

Those plans were scrapped after a few disappointing efforts last week, including a 9-2 debacle against Dallas.

The Predators instead returned home to Nashville after the game against the Blues and did not travel to Las Vegas until Monday.

The strategy may have worked. The Predators avenged a 4-1 loss to the Knights on Jan. 15 at T-Mobile Arena.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

Don't miss the latest VGK news. Like our Golden Edge page