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3 takeaways from Knights’ loss: Goalies trade crazy saves in epic duel

Updated February 25, 2023 - 11:27 pm

Mason Marchment wrapped Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger in a long embrace when one of the greatest goaltending duels in T-Mobile Arena history was over.

Oettinger’s counterpart didn’t linger on the ice.

Laurent Brossoit received encouraging pats and fist-bumps from his Golden Knights teammates as he skated back to the locker room, but he was down the tunnel in a flash.

He had no reason to hang his head. For 65-plus minutes of hockey Saturday, Brossoit and Oettinger traded brilliant save after brilliant save to keep the announced crowd of 17,906 spellbound.

Oettinger just ended up making two more. He stopped both attempts he faced in a shootout to lift the Stars to a come-from-behind 3-2 win.

The loss snapped the Knights’ five-game home winning streak. They still extended their point streak to nine games (6-0-3) thanks to Brossoit’s impressive effort.

“Both goalies played well, and both teams played well,” Brossoit said. “Those (games) are fun to play, and I’m sure fun to watch.”

It’s fitting the two goaltenders finished the game tied with 41 saves apiece.

They both were incredible throughout the hotly contested clash between the two Western Conference Division leaders. It seemed like only a spectacular play could beat one of them Saturday. Sometimes that didn’t even work.

Brossoit came up with one of the best saves of his career 1:02 into overtime.

He was lying on the ice after stopping a shot from left wing Jason Robertson when the puck came to right wing Tyler Seguin in the slot. Brossoit pushed himself up, spun around and knocked Seguin’s shot away with the back of his glove.

It was easily the best individual play for a game that featured one magic moment after another.

“Some of the best saves mean you’re out of position,” Brossoit said. “I was. I just kind of threw my glove out at it, and luckily he shot at the one spot I could’ve gotten it.”

That stop, and all the others Brossoit made, still weren’t enough to give the Knights the win.

They did take a 1-0 lead with eight minutes left in the second period when right wing Michael Amadio deflected a pass from defenseman Brayden McNabb into the net. Rookie center Wyatt Johnson tied the game 2:01 later when he was left alone by the far post.

The Knights appeared to put a stranglehold on the game with their next goal. Center Chandler Stephenson touched a sharp feed from right wing Jonathan Marchessault just enough in the neutral zone to send center Jack Eichel toward the net with speed.

Eichel beat Oettinger with an impressive left-to-right move to put the Knights ahead 2-1 with 4:37 left in the third period.

“(Stephenson), he’s an elite player,” Eichel said. “He kind of just walks me in.”

The Knights, for the second time in three games, couldn’t hold onto their late lead. They conceded a late six-on-five game-tying goal just like they did Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

This one came from center Roope Hintz in the slot with 38 seconds remaining. It happened thanks to a great defensive play from Robertson, who only moments earlier prevented an empty-net scoring chance from Stephenson.

The two goaltenders were then left to decide things in a shootout after neither side could score in overtime. Robertson and Hintz scored on their attempts, and Eichel and left wing Paul Cotter didn’t for the Knights.

That kept the standings tight with 23 games left to play for both teams. The Stars are two points behind the Knights for the best record in the conference

“This one stings for sure because I thought we did a lot of good things and probably deserved to get two points,” Eichel said. “You just got to find a way to put them away.”

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

1. Brossoit’s run

It took Brossoit five months to get into the Knights’ net this season.

He’s playing like he never wants to leave.

The 29-year-old has started three straight games since being called up Feb. 11. He’s stopped 103 of the 110 shots he’s faced in those games for a .936 save percentage. Brossoit said he’s moving more smoothly and efficiently after undergoing offseason hip surgery.

“He’s done his job very well for us,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t get him in the win column tonight.”

2. Oettinger impresses

Oettinger continues to be a thorn in the Knights’ side.

He’s 3-0 against them in his career. He has allowed only four goals in those games while saving 101 of the 105 shots he’s seen.

Saturday’s win was Oettinger’s 24th this season, which is tied for the sixth-most in the NHL.

3. Balanced scoring

Eichel’s goal made him the first Knights player to reach 20 this season.

The team previously was one of five in the NHL, and the only one in a playoff position, not to have a 20-goal scorer.

The Knights have still found success thanks to their depth. Amadio’s goal was his 10th of the season, giving the team 11 double-digit goal scorers. Only Seattle (12) has more.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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