Updated February 5, 2022 - 6:10 pm
The Golden Knights’ stay in their home All-Star Game ended up being short-lived.
The team’s four representatives — coach Pete DeBoer, captain Mark Stone, left wing Jonathan Marchessault and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo — were eliminated in their first game with the rest of the Pacific Division on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena after losing to the Metropolitan Division 6-4.
The Metropolitan went on to win the event and its $1 million prize by defeating the Central 5-3 in front of an announced crowd of 17,419. Metropolitan captain Claude Giroux was named the MVP and won a truck by scoring three goals in two games. The Central defeated the Atlantic 8-5 in the semifinals.
Early exit Saturday aside, it was still a successful weekend for the Knights. Pietrangelo won the breakaway challenge at Friday’s skills competition, and the team cemented its status as a hockey city by hosting one of the NHL’s premier events.
“First year we didn’t know if we were going to win 10 games, and we didn’t know if we were going to have a sold-out barn and all that stuff, and look where we are now,” Marchessault said. “This city, the organization came a long way. We did a lot of good things. It’s great for the city that it came here.”
Saturday’s event started out well for the Knights.
T-Mobile’s typical pregame theatrics were on display before puck drop with dazzling on-ice projections, a performance by the DJ Zedd and skaters dressed like the Rat Pack and Elvis. The crowd roared when the Pacific starters were announced, because DeBoer went with Stone, Marchessault and Pietrangelo for the three-on-three competition.
“It was cool to look around and see our fans,” Stone said. “They’re so passionate. They love coming to the games and watching us. It was good to have the three of us there and get a start together.”
Unfortunately for the pro-Knights crowd, the air was taken out of the balloon quickly. Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson scored 13 seconds into the game with the three Knights on the ice.
The Metropolitan increased its lead to 3-1 by the first intermission. The Pacific rallied for a 3-3 tie, with Marchessault scoring one of the goals, but the Metropolitan then scored three straight goals. Stone scored with 22 seconds remaining, and Marchessault almost got another goal as time expired, but it was ruled past the buzzer.
Stone and Marchessault finished with a goal and an assist each in their first All-Star Game. Pietrangelo, playing in his third All-Star Game and second at home, got an assist on Stone’s goal.
“It was nice to get one,” said Stone, who was breaking in a new pair of skates. “I don’t think you want to come here and get skunked. (Marchessault) said (Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian) Aho just lifted his stick to let us get one. The game was over, so some charity for us.”
The Central won the second semifinal after a four-point performance from St. Louis Blues right wing Jordan Kyrou, who won the fastest skater competition Friday. The Central’s offense then fizzled out in the championship game against Metropolitan goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Tristan Jarry.
Giroux, New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski each had two points in the final for the Metropolitan. It capped a wild two days, which, along with skating Elvises, featured magicians, celebrities and some “sick moves,” as Marchessault put it.
It showed that despite the partnership looking unlikely not so long ago, the NHL and Las Vegas make a pretty good pair.
“The fact it’s in Vegas allows you to take chances and do things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do as far as the events and production,” DeBoer said. “It was awesome. It’s the way the game’s going, the way we want to market it, the way we want to sell it.”