The Vegas Golden Knights will be out to try and snap a two-game losing streak when they host the defending Pacific Division champion Calgary Flames on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Since opening the season in impressive fashion with back-to-back lopsided wins over the San Jose Sharks, the Golden Knights have sputtered. Vegas blew an early 2-0 lead by allowing four goals in the span of 10 minutes in an eventual 4-3 home loss to the visiting Boston Bruins on Tuesday. They followed that up with a lackluster 4-1 loss at Arizona on Thursday.
Both defeats were highlighted by a number of turnovers in their own end and at times surprisingly lethargic play.
"We didn't have any intensity, we didn't have enough," a clearly agitated Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said after the loss to the Coyotes. "We lost the game in the first period (when Vegas fell behind 2-0). We've got to be better."
Center Jonathan Marchessault was even more blunt.
"We were awful," Marchessault said. "It was a little bit like (the Boston loss). We turned the puck over the whole game. ... Just a bad game.
"There's no excuses for our team. We have a good team. We'll never find excuses. It's only solutions from here. Got to turn the page tonight and make sure we get the next game."
When apprised by the media that Marchessault had called the team's efforts the past two games unacceptable, Gallant replied, "We've got to move on, but you don't want to be saying this too many nights after games. We said it the other night after Boston and we said it again tonight so let's show me now.
"We weren't good enough. We weren't even close to good enough," Gallant added. "So, they've got their chance to take care of things against Calgary next game."
The Flames began a three-game road trip with a 3-2 come-from-behind shootout victory at Dallas on Thursday. Johnny Gaudreau backhanded a shot past Ben Bishop for the winner in the shootout while goaltender David Rittich continued his hot start to the season with 34 saves, including one on a penalty shot by Alexander Radulov in overtime.
"The big save on the penalty shot, I think, was huge obviously," Calgary coach Bill Peters said.
"It's the biggest confidence boost you can get, I think, as a team," Flames captain Mark Giordano said of Rittich's play. "He's been dialed in right from camp. Man, he's been really good this year, carried over from last year. Just a calm goalie, talks a lot. He's really having a great start for us."
A joking Rittich told the media not to look at his record in shootouts after improving to just 1-4 in his career.
"Don't even look it," Rittich said with a smile. "I'm glad I got my first win in a shootout. So don't look at the record.
"It was a good game for us and I'm glad we got two points. We played the right way from the beginning. Made a couple mistakes but that's part of hockey. ... We were hungry. We didn't give up."
--Field Level Media