The shots came from far and wide, from one wing and then another, but they didn’t seem to bother Duck’s goalkeeper John Gibson at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. There was a shorthanded breakaway and then another, and Gibson took care of that too.
At the other end of the ice, the goalkeeper of the Golden Knights, Marc-Andre Fleury, hit Gibson shot after shot, scored a chance for a goal and won 2-1 as William Karlsson late in the third Half-time scored the decisive goal and Max Pacioretty scored seven goals seconds in overtime.
Fleury kept the Golden Knights within striking distance in game three by knocking out Rickard Rakell on a direct backhand attempt and then Ryan Getzlaf when the Ducks tried unsuccessfully to gain a precarious one-goal lead. The ducks’ inability to make it 2-0 cost them dramatically.
« We fought hard, » said Ducks coach Dallas Eakins. “We were played off for parts of the game. We have our feet under us and I thought we frustrated them by the third period. But we just wasted an amazing goalkeeping performance by Gibby. Another couple of quick mistakes and it’s on your network. »
Karlsson’s goal came with Fleury on the bench in favor of a sixth attacker at 6:38 p.m. the third as he slipped into close defense against Gibson. A failed face-off to work overtime resulted in a 2-on-1 goal and Pacioretty’s goal at the seven-second mark.
« I have to see it, » said Ducks center Sam Steel of Pacioretty’s crucial faceoff loss. “It happened pretty quickly. I took a second hit on it. I’d have to see it, but we have to fix something there because we can’t do without a 2-on-1 right after the draw. »
The ducks fell 2-9-3 against the Golden Knights, including 1-5-2 in Las Vegas. They may have liked one point last season or the previous season, but the ducks’ standards have risen for them and they were not happy with the result on Saturday.
It was unacceptable to lose after Gibson held the lead by one goal for more than half the game and to lose even more like they did. Eakins was upset at the end of the game, but was pleased to hear some angry voices in the locker room.
« We left the rink a lot last year and maybe you would have given up the lead or lost the game and it seemed like we were ready for the next game, » said Eakins. “The great thing for me tonight was that there was some trouble in that locker room.
Max Comtois gave the Ducks a 1-0 with his third goal in two games to start the season, a tap-in from a pass from defender Jacob Larsson who took a 3-on-1 break at 7 : 45 completed the second period. Each of Comtois’ goals were up close, a sign he is dying to get online.
Fleury had no chance of preventing the goal. Neither did Vegas defender Zach Whitecloud. Larsson, who ran on the right wing, forged both by handing Comtois a no-look pass on the opposite wing that would have made LeBron James proud.
Comtois became the first Ducks player to score each of his team’s first three goals to start a season, and only the 15th in NHL history to do so. Connor McDavid was the last to do so when he scored the first three goals for the Edmonton Oilers to start the 2017-18 season.
It says a lot about Comtois, but also about the ducks’ lack of point depth and their over-reliance on Gibson. Like the 5-2 loss to the Golden Knights on Thursday, the Ducks had plenty of good moments on Saturday but not enough to win.
« He sure was the reason we were in the game, » said Steel of Gibson. “We let it dry a few times too often. He’s going to do big saves, which he did and they got one late (to tie the score) but none of the fault is his. He kept us there the whole game. »
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