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Knights squander early lead, open 2022 with OT loss to Winnipeg Jets

Updated January 2, 2022 - 6:18 pm

The Golden Knights opened 2022 with one of those half-glass-full or half-glass-empty results, depending on your perspective.

There’s the positive: Two goals by Mattias Janmark in the third period, including one with 8.1 seconds remaining that tied the score and rescued a point.

But the Knights also squandered a two-goal lead and missed out on a second point in the standings when Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor scored with 2:21 remaining in overtime and handed the Knights a 5-4 loss on Sunday at T-Mobile Arena.

“Overall, it’s a game we should have won and want to win,” Janmark said. “We kind of gave that one up, but also you can look at it we came from two goals down, so it’s a good point in that way.”

Former Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt and forward Paul Stastny made their first appearance at T-Mobile Arena since each was traded in October 2020, and Stastny hurt his former club when he scored on a deflection early in the third period that put Winnipeg on top 3-2.

Andrew Copp scored 1:48 later, Winnipeg’s fourth straight goal, before the Knights rallied.

Goalie Laurent Brossoit faced his former team for the first time since he signed as a free agent and stopped 32 of 37 shots.

Michael Amadio opened the scoring in the first period when a rebound went right to his stick. He also assisted on Evgenii Dadonov’s goal on a two-on-one that put the Knights ahead 2-0 late in the period.

Winnipeg, which was playing for the first time since Dec. 19, found its legs in the second period and tied the game with goals 20 seconds apart. Jansen Harkins made a move around Chandler Stephenson before he beat Brossoit from the slot, and Kristian Reichel pounced on a loose puck in the right faceoff dot and fired home his first NHL goal.

“For me on a night like tonight if you get four on Hellebuyck, you should find a way to win the game,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “Full marks to find a way to get a point. I think that’s the silver lining in it. But obviously wasn’t our best 60-minute effort.”

Here are three takeaways from the game:

1. OT streak ends

The Knights have been one of the league’s best teams beyond 60 minutes under DeBoer but couldn’t get it done against the Jets when Connor flew past Jonathan Marchessault in the neutral zone and beat Brossoit from the right circle. It was the Knights’ first loss in extra time since dropping a shootout at Minnesota on April 1.

The last time the Knights lost a game that was decided in overtime was Dec. 19, 2019, at Vancouver, snapping a streak of 14 consecutive victories. The Knights were 9-0 in games that ended during the three-on-three play last season and 1-0 this season prior to Sunday.

“We have been good but it’s not realistic that you’re going to win every single overtime game,” DeBoer said. “I think the overtime was probably indicative of how the good stretches of the last 40 minutes went. We did some good things but not enough and they stuck one in the net.”

2. Janmark heating up

This was Janmark’s first multigoal game in the regular season since Jan. 20, 2018, with Dallas when he scored twice against Buffalo.

After a 10-game scoring drought, he has produced four goals in the past three games and also had a penalty shot turned away Friday against Anaheim.

Janmark got behind Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo and beat Hellebuyck one-on-one with 6:23 remaining in the third and then deflected in the tying goal with his skate.

Janmark’s line with center Nicolas Roy and winger Keegan Kolesar was the most effective, as the Knights had 77 percent of the shot attempts and outchanced Winnipeg 6-2 from high-danger areas when they were on the ice at five-on-five.

“I think all of us is playing pretty good at the moment,” Janmark said. “That helps when everyone is having the puck and making plays and playing good individually.”

3. Pushing the right buttons

DeBoer inserted Amadio on the fourth line ahead of Adam Brooks, who scored in the New Year’s Eve victory over Anaheim. The move paid off on offense, as Amadio was involved in both goals in the first period.

He scored his first goal since Dec. 8 against Dallas to put the Knights ahead 1-0 at 13:05 of the first and teamed with Dadonov for the second goal, which took a fortunate bounce off Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey.

Amadio, who was picked up off waivers at the end of October, has three goals and six points in 19 appearances.

“I think each game I’ve been gaining more confidence. I’ve been making more plays and just feeling more comfortable around the guys,” Amadio said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play with some good players out there who have helped me out. It’s been a good ride so far.”

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

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