- Eric Martinez
Knights get a game winning goal before time expired in the third period to get the W over the Kings
The excitement of the North American opening night filled the newly named arena, Crypto.com, and fans are truly optimistic with the Los Angeles Kings possibility of making the 2022-2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The opponents also have a similar path in returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the Vegas Golden Knights seemed to disappoint last season.
The Kings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period when Gabriel Vilardi scored the first goal of the season for the LA Kings. It came off an assist from Quinton Byfield and Alex Iafallo. Registering the first goal for Vegas Golden Knights was Jonathan Marchessault assisted by William Karlsson. The goal came in the 19:41 minute of the 2nd period. Golden Knights displayed an incredible amount of organized pressure in the neutral zone and continued to keep the puck deep in the LA Kings zone resulting in a 2-1 lead when Jack Eichel scored in the 3rd period assisted by Chandler Stephenson and Reilly Smith. Credit to Los Angeles by responding immediately when Adrian Kempe tied the game with assists by Anze Kopitar and Sean Durzi. Vegas set the tone the remainder of the third period, taking a 3-2 lead with William Karlsson scoring off an assist by Alex Pietrangelo and Nicolas Roy on the power play. Momentum swung in the Kings favor late in the third period with Arthur Kaliyev of the Kings tying the game 3-3 sending the Crypto.com arena into a loud frenzy.
The music and singing from the crowd echoed even up in the 300 sections and can be heard as far as LA Live. LA Kings goalie, Jonathan Quick, did everything in his power to keep this a close game by registering 47 saves. With a mistake from the LA Kings defenseman sending a risky pass to a clogged neutral zone, the Vegas Golden Knights intercepted the puck and three players immediately joined Chandler Stephenson. Vegas’ Mark Stone let off a well-placed top shelf rocket above Quick’s right shoulder securing a 4-3 lead with 26 seconds left in the game. Notable game notes have to include Golden Knight’s goalie, Logan Thompson, had 27 saves. Vegas showed they have more than enough offense to contend, the question will be about consistency and how healthy that the team stays. First year Vegas coach, Bruce Cassidy starts his Golden Knights era with a victory.
Cassidy emphasized, “I thought we showed a lot of resilience. We kept pushing back whenever something didn’t go our way. For a coach, you’re always worried that when you don’t know your team that well it’s our first league game – what will happen when things don’t go well? It’s always, to me, a sign of good character in the room when a team is resilient, so that’s a big plus for me no matter how the score turned out.”