3 takeaways from Knights’ win: 2 key players leave with injuries
The Golden Knights edged the Calgary Flames on Thursday at Scotiabank Saddledome, but goalie Logan Thompson and left wing Reilly Smith left the game early with injuries.
Updated March 23, 2023 - 10:06 pm
Logan Thompson made a save, stayed down on one knee briefly, then skated slowly to the Golden Knights’ bench at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The rookie goaltender waited six weeks to get back in the Knights’ crease. He left it again after 53 minutes.
In his first start since suffering a lower-body injury Feb. 9 in Minnesota, Thompson exited early in the third period of the Knights’ 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Jonathan Quick made five saves off the bench in the final 6:07 to seal the team’s seventh victory in eight games.
It was an impressive effort by the Knights to get their franchise record 23rd road win. The question is the cost. Thompson couldn’t finish the game with a lower-body injury, and left wing Reilly Smith missed most of the third period with a lower-body injury.
Coach Bruce Cassidy said both are likely to miss Saturday’s game at Edmonton, but the team will learn more in the coming days.
“Right now, obviously, concerned about Logan,” Cassidy said. “Logan missing that much time, we’ll really have to look closely at that one.”
Thompson’s return was supposed to be a triumphant moment for the Knights (45-21-6).
They’ve used a franchise record five goaltenders since the All-Star break. They’ve dealt with an avalanche of injuries in the crease that started when Thompson went down in Minnesota.
Getting the rookie All-Star back, in his hometown, no less, was meant to be a step toward stability. Until it wasn’t.
Thompson did have a steady, if not adventurous, performance against the Flames (32-26-15). He made 37 saves, tied for his fifth-most in a game this season. He also let in two goals that were later disallowed.
The first, with the Knights up 2-0 in the first period after goals from right wings Jonathan Marchessault and Michael Amadio, was called back because left wing Andrew Mangiapane kicked the puck in.
The second was one of the strangest plays of the season.
Left wing Milan Lucic bumped defenseman Zach Whitecloud into the net in the third period with the Knights up 3-1. That knocked the net off its moorings. Thompson left the crease for the Knights’ bench because play should have been stopped if the Flames regained possession.
It wasn’t. Right wing Walker Duehr scored with Thompson trying to scramble back, but the goal was taken off the board after a review.
Center Nazem Kadri scored soon after to bring Calgary within a goal with 7:27 remaining. The Knights, despite needing two goaltenders to do it, shut the door from there.
They blocked 32 shots, one off the franchise record. Defenseman Alec Martinez had four in the final five minutes. Quick did his part by making a great save on Mangiapane with 1:18 left.
That gritty defensive work gave the Knights an impressive win. They will have to see what the price of those two points ends up being.
“(Thompson) was great all game long,” left wing Ivan Barbashev said. “It’s just a tough bounce for him.”
Here are three takeaways from the win:
1. Roy’s return
Thompson wasn’t the only returnee for the Knights.
Center Nicolas Roy scored the decisive goal in his first appearance since Feb. 21. He missed the previous 14 games with a lower-body injury. He joined a new line with left wing Chandler Stephenson and right wing Phil Kessel, who extended his point streak to three games on Roy’s goal.
Rookie left wing Paul Cotter was a healthy scratch with Roy rejoining the lineup.
“I felt really great,” Roy said. “Obviously, playing with two great players with Kessel and (Stephenson), it helps a lot, too.”
2. Amadio’s milestone
Amadio’s goal was his 12th of the season, a career high.
His line with left wing Brett Howden and center Teddy Blueger continues to produce for the Knights. They have been on the ice for a goal in three straight games since Cassidy put them together.
3. Smith exits early
Smith’s final shift came 2:54 into the third period. He never hit the ice again. The injury cut short one of the best stretches of his Knights’ tenure. Smith entered Thursday with a career-best nine-game point streak, tied for the longest in franchise history.
Contact Ben Gotz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.