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Knights look to solve 3rd-period woes with busy week ahead

The Golden Knights have a quick one-day trip for a 1 p.m. game Monday in San Jose.

Perhaps the early start will help keep the Knights alert through the entire three periods. They haven’t been great at finishing games lately.

On Saturday, the Knights (31-17-6) were tied with Carolina before allowing a short-handed goal 19 seconds into the final period and an insurance goal six minutes later in a 3-1 loss.

That came on the heels of Monday’s loss to Minnesota when the Wild scored twice in a 61-second span to turn a 2-2 tie into a 4-2 deficit in what would eventually become a 5-3 loss.

“We got outplayed and gave up what I thought were easy goals,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of what those third periods had in common.

It’s a trend the Knights will most certainly have to turn around as they prepare for the stretch run — and they may want to figure it out soon.

After having four days off before Saturday’s game, the Knights are about to get busy again with three games in four days, starting in San Jose and continuing with home games against Nashville on Tuesday and Toronto on Thursday.

The Sharks (15-34-5) may be the right opponent at the right time for a Knights team looking to get straightened out.

San Jose has lost three of four and remains the worst team in the Pacific Division. Only lowly Chicago has fewer points among all NHL teams.

The Sharks will be seeking their first win against the Knights this season in the fourth meeting between the rivals.

Despite the Knights’ recent struggles to finish games, one line has been working very well.

Jonathan Marchessault scored again Saturday and has a team-high 28 goals this season. No other Knights player has reached 20.

He has been particularly effective recently playing alongside center Nic Roy, with Ivan Barbashev on the other wing.

The lone goal in Saturday’s game came when Barbashev and Roy created some chaos to spring a rush that eventually led to a loose puck in front of the net on a rebound that Marchessault punched in for a goal. He has now scored in three straight games.

Roy has a point in eight straight contests, and Barbashev has 13 points in his last 10 games.

“It’s nice (for our line to produce) and we’ve been doing it for a few games, but I still think we have to get better,” Barbashev said. “In the last couple games, we’ve scored in the first period, and then it kind of slows down a little. I think it’s something we have to take a look at and try to get better.”

They haven’t been alone in that regard.

Cassidy pointed out after Saturday’s game that the team did a good job getting to the net against Carolina early in the game, which was the game plan the team had discussed because of the Hurricanes being vulnerable to rebounds.

But he noted that the Knights did that less and less as the game wore on, which was part of the reason they weren’t able to finish it out.

Barbashev agreed.

“I felt like we got to the net in the first period way more than in the second and third,” he said. “(Carolina) is a really good team, but I think we just kind of slowed down a little bit.”

Now that the third period of the regular season is approaching, the Knights need to be careful they don’t slow down late in the game.

Defenseman Nic Hague is confident the team can figure it out.

“We know what makes us a good team,” he said. “We’ll look at it and learn what we have to and take that and try to get back to our game more.”

Their first chance to do that is against the Sharks.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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