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Golden Knights fall to Bruins 4-3 for first loss of season

Updated October 8, 2019 - 11:20 pm

If the Golden Knights were feeling a little full of themselves following two straight wins to open the season, they were knocked down a peg Tuesday.

The Knights were unable to hold an early two-goal lead and fell 4-3 to the Boston Bruins at T-Mobile Arena in a matchup of the past two Stanley Cup runners-up.

Mark Stone (power play) and Reilly Smith scored in the opening 8:20 of the first period before Boston responded with four unanswered goals.

Max Pacioretty added a power-play goal with 5:18 to play for the Knights (2-1), who didn’t register a shot on goal in the third period until 8:28 remained.

“They played for 60 minutes, and our little bit of a lapse there in the beginning of the second and the end of the first is the difference in the game,” Pacioretty said. “We’ll learn from that and make sure that, especially against an offensive team like that, that we never take our foot off the gas.”

Here’s what stood out from the Knights’ loss:

1. Speakers on blast.

Boston left wing Brad Marchand was asked by the Bruins TV network before the game about the crowd noise at T-Mobile Arena and said, “They just have louder speakers than everybody else. That’s all it is.”

The renowned agitator then managed to quiet the announced crowd of 18,223 with the help of linemates Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. The trio combined for seven points (three goals and four assists).

The Knights tried to match the defense pairing of Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb against the Bruins’ top line, but they weren’t the only victims.

Boston’s first goal came with the pairing of Deryk Engelland and Nic Hague on the ice, as Marchand threaded a pass through Hague’s legs to Pastrnak for a backdoor tap-in.

Marchand converted on a power play late in the first period to tie the score 2-2. He then put the Bruins ahead 3-2 after 33 seconds of the second period when he broke free down the left wing after Pastrnak banked a pass off the boards.

“When you play a team like Boston who has a line like that, you really have to focus on shutting them down,” Smith said. “I don’t think we did a good enough job tonight.”

2. Turnovers prove costly.

Puck management wasn’t a problem for the Knights in their first two games, but it showed up like a pimple on a first date against the tenacious Bruins.

Engelland’s clearing attempt was picked off along the boards by Bergeron, leading to Boston’s first goal at 11:21 of the first period.

Theodore was victimized by Marchand for the third goal when his dump-in was intercepted by Pastrnak inside the Bruins’ blue line and Boston quickly transitioned. Torey Krug put the Bruins ahead 4-2 early in the second period after the Knights lost possession in their own zone.

“Three of their four goals come off our sticks,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “We had the puck, and we didn’t clear the puck and we made bad dumps. Three of the goals are directly our fault. We didn’t manage the puck well. That was the biggest reason for the loss.”

3. Third line struggles.

Center Cody Eakin is close to returning from his lower-body injury, and the Knights could use him on the third line.

The trio of center Paul Stastny, right wing Valentin Zykov and left wing Brandon Pirri combined for a woeful 40 percent shot share (eight attempts for, 12 against) during 5-on-5 play against the Bruins, according to the website NaturalStatTrick.

Once Eakin returns, changes are inevitable. Eakin could skate with Pirri and Zykov, or maybe rookie Cody Glass gets another look at wing.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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