There were two penalty shots, multiple odd-man rushes, numerous outstanding saves and one Ryan Carpenter video tribute Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.
It was certainly entertaining, but didn’t do much to quell the Golden Knights’ mounting frustration.
The Blackhawks scored five straight goals and sent the Knights to a 5-3 loss before an announced crowd of 18,324.
It was the fourth straight loss and seventh in the past nine games for the Knights, who fell to 4-4-2 at home. They didn’t lose their fourth game in regulation at T-Mobile Arena last season until Jan. 10.
“It’s tough. We’re losing, so we’re trying to find ways to get out of it,” right wing Mark Stone said. “We’ve got to get back to our style of hockey.”
Defensemen Calvin de Haan and Erik Gustafsson scoreds in a 45-second span of the second period to give the Blackhawks the lead.
Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome each finished with a goal and an assist and goaltender Corey Crawford made 39 saves to help Chicago beat the Knights for the first time in eight meetings.
“We put too many chips all-in tonight,” defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “I thought we did too many things where we were gambling on plays … and sometimes you’ve got to live to fight another day.”
Here’s what stood out from the Knights’ loss:
1. New look up front.
Knights coach Gerard Gallant made sweeping changes to his forwards, moving Max Pacioretty to the first line with William Karlsson and Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault to a second line with Cody Eakin and Mark Stone.
Also, Alex Tuch returned after a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury and joined Paul Stastny and Cody Glass on the third line.
William Carrier and Karlsson scored to stake the Knights to a 2-0 lead 6:29 into the first and they finished with a 72-44 advantage in total shot attempts, but the Knights were unable to build on the lead.
Eakin left after taking one shift in the third period and Gallant said he had “a cramp” that will be re-evaluated Thursday.
“For two periods, I thought our energy was good, our line changes were good,” Gallant said. “The only thing that wasn’t good was the opportunities we gave up. … There were a lot of individual mistakes that cost us.”
2. Sudden change
Tuch appeared to give the Knights a 3-1 lead early in the second period when he streaked down the right wing and wristed a shot past Crawford.
However, after a review, officials ruled the puck went off the crossbar and stayed out.
The Blackhawks tied the game 20 seconds later on de Haan’s goal and took the lead with their second goal in a 45-second span when Gustafsson slipped in from the point and sent a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury.
“That is a tough swing,” Smith said. “Obviously, if we go up 3-1 there it makes a big difference.”
3. Loosey goosey
When the Knights visited Chicago three weeks ago, they faced a dump-and-chase team that struggled to generate offense. But last week, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton went back to the system he implemented when hired last season, keeping the weak-side forward higher in defensive coverage to provide more options off the rush once they exit the zone.
The Blackhawks’ high-risk style led to a wide open first period that stretched the Knights defense. Chicago held an 8-4 advantage in scoring chances at 5-on-5, according to the website NaturalStatTrick, despite getting outshot 16-8 overall.
Chicago’s Zack Smith was awarded a penalty shot 44 seconds in when he got behind defenseman Nic Hague. Jonathan Toews was denied on a breakaway shortly after Patrick Kane’s goal, and the Blackhawks had three 2-on-1 rushes, as well.