Story by Alan Snel Photos by J. Tyge O’Donnell
Pregame: The Colorado avalanche blew into Las Vegas amid a dust storm, high winds and a cold front sweeping across southern Nevada. The defending Stanley Cup champions are 2-2-1 this season, while the Golden Knights have won four of their first five games, their only loss coming north of the border to the Calgary Flames.
Just the facts: Colorado Avalanche 3 Vegas Golden Knights 2
VGK scorers: Jonathan Marchessault (5), Chandler Stephenson (2)
Vegas record: 4-2-0 for 8 points
Script: Colorado dominated the first period, Vegas controlled the third period, but VGK are “still working on the issues,” according to VGK captain Mark Stone.
Next game: Monday at 7 p.m. c. Toronto
It was a packed arena tonight with the Colorado club in Vegas on a Saturday night.
The Avs prevailed against the Golden Knights in the first period, but Vegas must have felt lucky to escape the first 20 minutes with a 1-1 draw.
Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon hit an Ovi-Stammer style hitter from the left circle past VGK goaltender Logan Thompson on the power play to open the scoring for the night.
But in the last minute of the period, the Knights tied Colorado’s power play goal with their own power play when Jonathan Marchessault fired a shot from Avs goaltender Alexander Georgiev.
It was 1-1 after one.
Brett Howden was awarded a penalty and Colorado conceded another power play goal. It was another slapshot from the left circle that looked a lot like MacKinnon’s goal in the first period. This time, it was Evan Rodrigues who threw the puck past Thompson.
And the Avs led the VGK, 2-1, in the middle of the middle stanza.
T-Mobile Arena center scoreboard period stats and time not working in the second period. Fans could follow the time and numbers on the video tape board that wraps around the arena between the lower and upper bowls.
MacKinnon was awarded a penalty with just one second remaining in the second half.
Thus, the Knights will open the third period with a power play.
After two periods, the Avs led Vegas 2-1.
The Knights failed to convert on a power play chance and it cost Vegas.
Shortly after Colorado killed the penalty, the Avs’ talented Valeri Nichushkin skated around the VGK players on the ice and fired a shot into the top right corner of the net to give the Stanley Cup champions a lead. 3-1 midway through the third period.
VGK responded with a goal to cut the deficit to 3-2 when Chandler Stephenson cruised in front of the Avs net and received a short pass from Jack Eichel and slid the puck past Georgiev.
The Knights had a few chances to tie the game up, but weren’t successful.
Final: Colorado 3 Vegas 2