Golden Knights aim to get back on track vs. Bruins
BOSTON -- Saddled with the first losing streak of their brief existence, the goalie-starved Vegas Golden Knights visit the Boston Bruins on Thursday night for their third road game in four nights.
The Golden Knights, who left Nevada with an 8-1-0 overall mark after finishing a 6-1-0 homestand, were blanked in a two-game trip into New York. They lost 6-3 to the Islanders in Brooklyn on Monday after leading 2-1 late in the second period and then squandered a two-goal third-period lead and fell 6-4 to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Maxime Lagace finished the game against the Islanders after Oscar Dansk became the third Knights' goalie to go down with an injury -- joining Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and former Bruin Malcolm Subban (lower body).
The club summoned Dylan Ferguson from the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, where he was playing the first season of a three-year entry level contract after being acquired from the Dallas Stars.
Fleury, Subban and Dansk all posted wins in the fast start and it looked like Lagace might have joined the list in his first NHL start on Tuesday night.
"Max played great. He played fine," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He gave up five goals (the sixth was an empty netter) but they weren't on him."
Gallant liked the way his team played for two periods against the struggling Rangers, but said the Knights then "played like an expansion team."
Vegas yielded just 19 goals in the 8-1-0 start.
While the Knights have lost two straight, the Bruins have taken points in three of their last four games but are just 1-0-3 over that span. Tuukka Rask, who has lost five straight, fell in a shootout on Monday after his team rallied from three goals down to force overtime and is just 21-29 all-time in the talent competition.
"Sometimes you need that ugly truth," Patrice Bergeron said of the start to the game. "Every second of that first period we didn't like. We didn't compete, we didn't play well. We got back in the game, but then maybe we would have had more if we started from the drop of the puck. Hopefully we can learn from that."
This loss came two nights after Rask and the Bruins (4-3-3) were stunned by a last-second overtime defeat that saw the Los Angeles Kings score off a faceoff in the Boston zone with nine-tenths of a second remaining.
The Bruins, who have been dealing with all kinds of injury and illness, learned on Wednesday they would be without veteran David Backes, who is having surgery to remove part of his colon after his bout with diverticulitis.
With David Krejci (back) still not on the ice for practice Wednesday, Jordan Szwarz was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League. Zane McIntyre was recalled on an emergency basis because backup goalie Anton Khudobin is battling a lower-body injury.
Rask won his first start of the season and has gone 0-3-2 since. He has a 2.93 goals-against average and .898 save percentage -- neither stat pointing to a good start.
Former Bruins Reilly Smith and Colin Miller make their return to the TD Garden with the Knights. Smith scored two goals against the Rangers and has four goals and five assists, while Miller, a defenseman with a big shot, has two goals and six assists and is a minus-1.
The Knights continue their road trip at Ottawa in a Saturday matinee, while the Bruins host the Washington Capitals that night.
Updated November 1, 2017