weather icon Partly Cloudy

Golden Knights resemble expansion team in loss at Boston

Updated November 2, 2017 - 10:35 pm

BOSTON — It took 12 games, and a historic beginning, and playing more goalies in less than a month than most teams use in years, but the Golden Knights on Thursday night finally resembled that famous Dennis Green quote.

They are what we thought they were — at least for 60 minutes.

Difference is, they didn’t let Boston off the hook.

They just got beat, is all.

The losing streak has reached three for the Knights, who fell to the Bruins 2-1 before 17,565 at TD Garden, and yet more than at any other time this season appeared to be the sort of side most had forecast from the season’s outset.

Which is to say one that, when combining strong goalkeeping and attentive defensive play, would compete in low-scoring games that could fall either way in the waning minutes.

As needed and memorable and exhilarating and impressive as an 8-1 start was for the Knights and a mourning Las Vegas in the wake of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival, it absolutely concealed the expansion side of the ledger.

It pushed reality out of the picture for a week or so.

Folks began to forget that part.

This six-game trip should return it front and center.

The fact that three goalies are on injured reserve and Maxime Lagace as a fourth option has started two straight games — he played by far his best hockey Thursday — makes things difficult enough.

But when you also play as shoddy defensively as the Knights did to open this trip with losses against the Islanders (6-3) and Rangers (6-4), success is an impossible goal to achieve.

They were much better on that end Thursday.

The only difference between what most thought the Knights would look like at their best this season and this game was the guy under the goalie mask.

It wasn’t Marc-Andre Fleury, still out with a concussion, but in stopping 26 of 28 shots, Lagace more than held his own in the large shadow cast by the absent face of the franchise.

No one knows when Fleury might return — I’m not sure the CIA has a security clearance level high enough to match an NHL team’s classified approach when it comes to updating the status of injured players — but the Knights can win games with the performance Lagace offered Thursday.

Ditto when those in front of him communicate as they did and don’t fall asleep.

“We were better in the defensive zone, not giving up point-blank shots like the two previous games,” said center Cody Eakin, who scored the team’s goal. “Pretty solid game. Spent more time in their zone. On the road, a few bounces can change things, and we were on the wrong side of them.

“Things have been a little chaotic, but we were better tonight in front of (Lagace). We have to build off that. Take the good with the bad and not dwell on it. Just get to the next one.”

Something to build on as the Knights head into Canada for the first time this season, now staring at games against Ottawa (Saturday), Toronto (Monday) and Montreal (Tuesday): They had been, before Thursday, pretty close to awful in the third period of games, having been outscored by eight goals and offering a minus-51 on shots differential.

But not for a fortunate Boston bounce at 9:53 of the third period that allowed Sean Kuraly to score the winning goal, the Knights probably would have departed here with at least a point, if not two and a win.

It really came down to this: The bounce Boston received in the crease resulted in a goal.

The one Tomas Nosek got for the Knights didn’t.

That close of a game.

Much like what we assumed would be a consistent effort from the Knights, only with Fleury on the ice.

“I thought the guys really battled against a big, strong Boston team,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “Real evenly played hockey game. Well-officiated game. We just fell a little short. We obviously didn’t have as much offense as we have had — each team could have had three or four goals — but that was because of good goaltending. (Lagace) was really strong and looked confident.

“We would have loved to get a point or two out of it, but it’s over. We just have to go back and work hard and get better.”

When at its best, this is how most games of an expansion team usually go.

Tight, low scoring, the Knights struggling to score on the power play (0-for-5 Thursday), the outcome still in doubt in the final minutes.

For the first time all season, they are what we thought they were.

It won’t be the last time, either.

It’s more reality than 8-1.

The key is to be the guys with 2 instead of 1 when that final horn sounds.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights, Raiders Unite for Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
Golden Knights and Raiders players alike were more than excited to join together in a charity softball game to raise money for pediatric cancer. Players from both teams cannot wait for the Raiders to arrive in Las Vegas so more joint events can take place.
Golden Knights and Raiders Raise over $100K in Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
In the first-ever Battle For Vegas Charity Softball Game, the Golden Knights and Raiders raised $136,000 for the Tyler Robinson Foundation. At the end of the nights, it was the Raiders that raised the Battle For Vegas trophy, after beating the Golden Knights 20-16. Take a look at some of the highlights from the game!
Golden Knights' Reilly Smith Ready to Battle for Vegas - Video
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is ready to Battle For Vegas in a charity softball game that will feature various celebrity athletes, including teammates Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves and Erik Haula. Smith's team will face off against former Raider Marcus Allen and his teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, Josh Jacobs and Maurice Hurst. The charity softball game is set to take place on Saturday, June 15th at the Las Vegas Ballpark.
Golden Knights Will Have a New Home in Henderson - Video
The Golden Knights are saying goodbye to the Henderson Convention Center and hello to the team's new hockey facility that will be located in the second largest city in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly McCrimmon Gets Promoted to Golden Knight General Manager - Video
The Vegas Golden Knights have announced that Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted to General Manager of the team, effective September 1, 2019. Regarding his new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the NHL's General Managers Meetings and will be the point of contact for other league GMs.
UNLV’s Tony Sanchez embraces new Fertitta Football Complex

Already, the new UNLV football complex has paid off with several commitments for the 2020 recruiting class, pledges from the sorts of players who likely would have never considered the Rebels if not for such dedication to an on-campus facility.