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3 takeaways from Knights’ OT loss: Puck management proves costly

Updated November 18, 2023 - 8:04 pm

The Golden Knights were careless and sloppy with the puck throughout Saturday’s matinee at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

It finally caught up with them in overtime.

A giveaway in the defensive zone led to Sean Couturier’s winner one minute into the extra session, and the Knights dropped a 4-3 decision to the Flyers in front of 18,113.

The Knights have lost two of the first three on their five-game road trip, which continues Sunday at Pittsburgh.

“At the end of the day, we mismanaged the puck late again and it ends up in our net, so it’s almost ‘got what we deserved,’” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You mismanage enough pucks, sooner or later it’s going to cost you.”

Similar to Thursday’s victory at Montreal when the Knights (13-3-2) rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits, they came from behind against the Flyers to earn a point. But 11 giveaways by the Knights kept them from more.

Jack Eichel, who hit the post early in the overtime, made an ill-advised pass through the middle that was intercepted by Couturier deep in the Knights’ zone. Couturier tried to hit Travis Konecny near the top of the crease, but the pass never connected and instead slipped between Logan Thompson’s pads.

“We weren’t too good between the blue (lines),” winger Jonathan Marchessault said. “They work hard, and you’ve got to give them credit. I think our managing the puck in between the blues was not as good as it normally is.”

Marchessault scored twice in the second period to help the Knights dig out from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. His first goal came on a slick backhand spin move, and he tied the game at 3 on a wrist shot with 54.2 seconds left during a five-on-three power play.

The Knights opened the third period with an extended power play but were unable to convert and finished 1-for-4 overall.

William Karlsson opened the scoring for the Knights in a wild second period when the teams combined for five goals and 23 penalty minutes. Karlsson and Marchessault share the team lead with nine goals.

Owen Tippett and Tyson Foerster had power-play goals for the Flyers, and defenseman Sean Walker also scored in the second to put Philadelphia ahead 3-2.

“They’re a good team through the neutral zone. Part of that is managing pucks,” defenseman Zach Whitecloud said. “That’s something we can fix and pay a bit more attention to detail with. That’s obviously a big part of this game.”

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

1. Brief cameo

Center Chandler Stephenson returned after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury. It was the first time since Oct. 24 the Knights had their top 12 forwards in the lineup.

But Stephenson lasted less than half the game, as he was handed a major penalty and a game misconduct at 9:41 of the second period for cross-checking Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway after the whistle. Stephenson is not expected to face a suspension.

The Knights were able to kill the five-minute power play, the second time they’ve done so on the road trip after Paul Cotter was penalized for an illegal check to the head in Washington. Marchessault scored his first goal less than 20 seconds after the teams returned to full strength.

With Stephenson back in the fold, defenseman Nic Hague is the lone regular who remains sidelined.

2. Surprising PK outcome

On paper, the Knights’ penalty kill looked like a mismatch for Philadelphia’s woeful power play.

The Flyers entered 0 for their past 27 with the man advantage and hadn’t scored a power-play goal in eight consecutive games, while the Knights had killed off 10 straight. But a couple of unfortunate bounces cost the Knights.

In the first period, Tippett pounced on a loose puck in the slot after a shot was blocked and fired a shot past Thompson for a 1-0 lead. Foerster notched his first goal of season in the opening minute of the second when Travis Sanheim’s shot took a hard bounce off the boards and caromed back in front of the net.

The Flyers had four power-play goals all season before scoring twice against the Knights.

3. Is it over?

The Knights didn’t leave the bench after Couturier’s winner as the NHL situation room reviewed whether the puck had gone out of play prior to the goal.

About 15 seconds earlier, Sanheim’s shot was blocked and deflected high off the glass. Thompson raised his arm indicating to the referee he thought it hit the netting and the whistle should be blown. Soon after, Eichel’s pass was intercepted by Couturier, leading to the winner.

The call was confirmed, as replays showed the puck never went out of play.

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

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