There was some novelty to Thursday’s preseason game, in that it was being held in Salt Lake City, a place that had only hosted lower-level hockey in the past. Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer knows this, having played against the Salt Lake Golden Eagles during the IHL era.
âI haven’t been to Salt Lake in probably 20 years so I can’t wait to go back,â DeBoer said this morning.
His return to Utah was not triumphant. The Golden Knights scored a goal 1:48 of the game and never led, losing 3-1 to the Los Angeles Kings at Vivint Arena, home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz.
“Glad it’s over,” DeBoer said on the team’s website after the game. “There wasn’t much to like there.”
Here are three takeaways from loss:
Difficult night in defense
The Golden Knights exhausted a blue line that consisted of just four players with NHL experience – three who were in the NHL last season, two who were regulars last year, and none who played in the top four. The unit fought without its usual veteran presence.
The duo of Kaedan Korczak and Daniil Miromanov in particular struggled, conceding the Kings’ first two goals. Korczak lost his man in net in his first quarter of a game, and in the second half, Miromanov pinched himself in the defensive zone to allow a rush to Los Angeles.
In fairness to Miromanov, he also changed the scoreboard in Vegas’ favor. The Kings were a bit too focused on Nicolas Roy at the start of the third period, which allowed Miromanov to squeeze into the offensive zone and reclaim Roy’s pass. He cocked his shot and pulled the trigger, firing a missile from Los Angeles goalie and former Golden Knight Garret Sparks to reduce the deficit to 2-1 at 4:30 from the third.
Positive points of young players
Noteworthy is Dylan Coghlan’s role on the power play. DeBoer praised Coghlan all camp, saying he could lead the power play of several teams in the league. On Thursday, with both Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo absent from the roster, Coghlan had this chance to focus on the top unit and performed admirably, even though Vegas didn’t score.
Another young player who has stood out is top prospect Peyton Krebs, who has improved in each of his three preseason games this year. After two games in the last six and with other players battling for spots, Krebs landed a shot alongside two NHL locks, Nolan Patrick and Evgenii Dadonov.
Krebs’ speed is evident, and while he may not have a place in the opening night roster (Mattias Janmark looks set for the left wing alongside Patrick and Dadonov), he will be playing at T-Mobile Arena soon.
Two players leave early
In less positive news, Robin Lehner started the game in front of goal, but ceded the net to rookie Dylan Ferguson for the third period. DeBoer told camp earlier that he prefers goalies to play the entire game in the preseason, so Ferguson’s entry was surprising. DeBoer said after the game that it was not his intention to exit and that his withdrawal was “as a precaution”.
Lehner finished with 18 saves on 20 shots and Ferguson made three saves on four shots.
Another player who may have been injured is center Nicolas Roy. He left the game at the end of the third period after appearing to be in pain and abdominal strain on a face-off. He did not return to the game and DeBoer did not offer an update. .
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