Updated October 31, 2019 - 11:14 pm
A raucous Halloween crowd was treated to a solid Golden Knights performance for more than 53 minutes Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena.
But the Montreal Canadiens saved a few tricks for the final 6:27 of regulation and escaped with a 5-4 overtime win.
Max Domi needed 26 seconds in the extra session to beat Marc-Andre Fleury for the winning goal after former Knight Tomas Tatar (13:33) and Brendan Gallagher (18:02) scored late goals to tie the game.
“It’s just not good enough for our group to have a two-goal lead and (not) close that out in the third period,” Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “At some point, you’ve got to give credit to the other team, but their goals were just kind of lucky, too. Tatar was off his chest and in. Gallagher was off his skate and in. It’s lucky goals, and I guess it’s not the lucky bounce we’re getting right now.
“It’s on us. The willingness to close out the game. We didn’t have that in the third period. There’s no excuses for our group. It’s not acceptable.”
Tatar’s unassisted goal came just after a Montreal power play expired, and Gallagher’s game-tying tally was seconds after the Canadiens (7-4-2) pulled goalie Keith Kinkaid for an extra attacker.
Cody Glass and Mark Stone had put the Knights (8-5-1) ahead with third-period goals.
William Karlsson and Alex Tuch each scored late in the first period to put the Knights ahead at the first intermission. Tuch was playing his first game after missing the first 13 with an injury suffered in the preseason.
Max Pacioretty got the assist on Stone’s goal for the 500th point of his career, which came against his former team, for which he was the longtime captain and recorded his first 448 NHL points.
The Knights complete their homestand against Winnipeg at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Here’s what stood out in the loss:
1. Welcome back
The third line hadn’t been providing much offense for the Golden Knights through the first 13 games.
Tuch’s return gave the group some firepower, and it paid immediate dividends. Tuch and Glass each scored, and Cody Eakin recorded his first two points of the season as the center on the line.
“He opens up a lot of ice,” Eakin said of Tuch. “He’s just flying out there. He’s pushing (defensemen) back. It allows everyone to play a little bit faster, be a little more stand up, be a little bit more aggressive.”
2. Early struggles continue
Phillip Danault scored to put the Canadiens ahead 1-0 2:35 into the first period, marking the fifth straight game the Knights have surrendered the first goal.
Four of those have come in the first five minutes of the first period, including three times at home.
Coach Gerard Gallant said at Thursday’s morning skate it’s the players’ responsibility to be ready when the puck is dropped.
“I played the game,” he said. “I got myself ready. I listened to my coach, and the coaches come in there and give you a little pep talk and get ready. But I took it upon myself to get ready for games.
“As a player, if you can’t come up there and get yourself ready for a game, there’s something wrong. That’s your job. I’m not going to jump in there with pompoms and cheerlead.”
3. Keep it clean
The Knights drew only one penalty, a hooking call on Tatar in the third period.
It was the first time this season they had fewer than three chances with the man advantage.
The Knights also snapped a streak of four games in which they had at least four power-play opportunities.
They didn’t do much with the one chance they had Thursday, generating two shots and failing to score. Montreal was 0 of 3 and got three shots out of its six minutes with an extra skater.
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