Updated November 2, 2019 - 10:43 pm
The Golden Knights’ games Thursday and Saturday mirrored each other almost identically.
The Knights hosted Canadian teams playing for the second time in two days in both. They had two-goal third-period leads in both. And they frittered those away in both and lost in overtime.
On Saturday night, it was Winnipeg Jets left wing Kyle Connor who ended the game with 1:38 remaining in overtime. He gave his team a 4-3 victory and sent the announced crowd of 18,276 at T-Mobile Arena home with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.
The loss came two days after the Knights (8-5-2) led 4-2 in the third period against the Montreal Canadiens and ended up losing 5-4 in overtime.
The Knights scored three straight goals by Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty and Nate Schmidt to take a 3-1 lead 8:30 into the game. Then the Jets (8-7-0) outshot them 27-12 from the time of Schmidt’s goal until center Mark Scheifele’s game-tying tally with 6:43 to play.
Scheifele’s goal angered the Knights’ bench, which thought the play should have been whistled dead for icing. But coach Gerard Gallant said while he disagreed with the call, it wasn’t the reason his team lost.
“I’m not going to blame the referees for this game,” Gallant said. “I’m going to blame the way we played the last 25 minutes of the hockey game. If they wouldn’t have scored there, they probably would have scored somewhere else because we didn’t play our game. We backed off. We were too loose. I’m disappointed.”
Here’s what else stood out in the loss:
1. Tuch hurt
The Knights lost right wing Alex Tuch in the second period.
Tuch, playing his second game of the season, was slammed into the glass by Jets forward Adam Lowry at 2:10 of the second period.
Tuch skated right to the locker room and did not return. Gallant said Tuch suffered an upper-body injury and the team will know more Sunday. Lowry was not penalized on the play.
“I thought it was a major penalty,” Gallant said.
Lowry was playing in his first game since serving a two-game suspension for boarding Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington. He fought right wing Ryan Reaves after the faceoff following Tuch’s exit.
2. Subban does his best
While his team was slipping, goaltender Malcolm Subban tried his hardest to keep the Knights ahead.
Subban looked sharp in his second start of the season, even though he was tagged with the loss. He stopped 35 of the 39 shots he faced and gave his team a chance to win.
He stopped 26 consecutive shots between Jets left wing Mathieu Perreault’s first goal 2:19 into the game and Perrault’s second that made it 3-2 with 9:58 to play. The Knights didn’t provide the same level of effort in front of him.
“I was real happy with his performance,” Gallant said. “The second half of that game, he was outstanding.”
3. Home ice advantage slipping
The Knights earned four points of a possible eight on the four-game homestand. That’s OK, but it doesn’t live up to the lofty standards the team has set for itself at T-Mobile.
The Knights are 4-3-2 at home, earning an average of 1.11 points per game. They were 29-10-2 in 2017-18 (1.46) and 24-12-5 in 2018-19 (1.29).
Nine of their first 15 games were at T-Mobile, and they didn’t take advantage. They now leave for a four-game trip in fourth place in the Pacific Division.