Ryan Reaves made a comment after the Golden Knights’ practice Saturday that games with 4 p.m. starts often have a weird feel.
The right wing proved to be correct.
The Knights carried play for the first 25 minutes Sunday but couldn’t crack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and lost 5-0 to the New York Rangers before an announced crowd of 18,236 at T-Mobile Arena.
Georgiev finished with 38 saves to halt the Knights’ five-game point streak. Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.
The Knights had scored at least one goal in 52 consecutive regulation games, the third-longest active streak in the NHL behind Boston (84 games) and Florida (55). The last time the Knights were shut out was Feb. 18 at Colorado.
“There were some tough breaks, no doubt,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “I thought we played pretty good for 25 or 30 minutes, then I wasn’t happy with the last 30. The push stopped when it shouldn’t have stopped.”
Knights rookie center Cody Glass left with 3:13 remaining in the second period and did not return after taking an elbow to the side of the head from New York’s Brendan Lemieux.
The Rangers scored 14 seconds apart in the first period to go up 2-0 and cashed in on a double-minor to Reaves for high-sticking Lemieux when Trouba put in a rebound at 7:14 of the second period.
“Some nights you can play extremely well and be on the wrong side of the goals,” defenseman Deryk Engelland said. “We’ve got another game in a couple days. We’ve got to rebound and get ready for that one.”
Here’s what stood out from the loss:
1. Tilted ice
The advanced stats from the first period are more confusing than a Peloton commercial.
The Knights generated 2.25 expected goals at all strengths to 0.45 for New York and had 73.68 percent of the shot attempts in the first 20 minutes. They also held massive advantages in scoring chances (23-4) and high-danger chances (13-3), according to NaturalStatTrick.
Yet, the Rangers led 2-0 after scoring on two of their first four shots.
“It wasn’t our worst effort,” Reilly Smith said. “We had a lot of chances, we just couldn’t find the back of the net. And it seemed like they capitalized on all of theirs. Sometimes the hockey gods just don’t work out for you.”
2. Bad break
The Knights bookended the first period with their best scoring chances, as Smith cut in on Georgiev in the first 10 seconds off a set play on the opening faceoff. Chandler Stephenson had a short-handed breakaway in the final 15 seconds but sent the rolling puck wide of the net.
In between, the Knights were victimized by some unfortunate luck for the Rangers’ second goal.
Defenseman Shea Theodore slashed Chris Kreider’s stick in an attempt to prevent a scoring chance. Instead, Theodore’s stick broke in half and Kreider knocked in Ryan Strome’s feed.
“If we bury one or two of those (chances in the first 10 minutes), it’s a completely different game,” Knights right wing Mark Stone said. “Funny league. You win some that you deserve to lose, and you lose some that you deserve to win.”
3. Subban gets call
Malcolm Subban received his seventh start in the past 14 days, as the Knights don’t want to rush back Marc-Andre Fleury following his personal leave from the team. He made 20 saves and gave up a season-high five goals.
The Knights lost for the sixth time time in their past nine games at home and fell to 7-6-3 at T-Mobile Arena. They haven’t scored more than two goals in four straight home games.