LAS VEGAS--The Colorado Avalanche nearly erased a four-goal deficit but fell 7-6 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday at City National Arena in both teams' first game of the 2018 Vegas Rookie Faceoff.
Colorado tallied four times in the third period in a valiant comeback effort, but it was Nicolas Hague's power-play goal at 4:26 of the final frame that was ultimately the game-winner for Vegas.
VIEW: Avalanche vs. Golden Knights gamesheet
"I think that was a big difference. Special teams was a big part of today's game, with all the penalties being called," said forward Logan O'Connor. "We have to sort of figure it out for tomorrow night and build on our penalty kill and power play because tonight neither was good enough and not up to the standards we need them to be."
The Golden Knights scored four markers on six power-play opportunities in the contest, including three in the first period.
The Avalanche went 1-for-6 overall on the man advantage, with Brandon Saigeon tallying the lone power-play score 24 seconds into the third stanza that made it a 6-3 game. Saigeon added a second goal nearly four minutes later and 16 seconds after Hague tallied his second of the night.
"We didn't come out the way we wanted to, but I'm obviously proud of the way the guys came back there and made a push right to the dying seconds," said Saigeon. "It showed a lot of character with our group, we'll try and carry that into the next game."
Matthew Boucher and O'Connor also scored in the third period for the Avs. O'Connor finished with two goals and an assist, while linemate Ty Lewis also had a multi-point outing with a goal and an assist.
Colorado's J.C. Beaudin, Sergei Boikov, Josh Dickinson and Vladislav Kamenev each recorded an assist on the night.
Both of the Avalanche's goaltenders saw action in the game, with Petr Kvaca starting and finishing with 15 saves on 21 shots. Justus Annunen entered at 10:16 of the second period in a pre-determined switch and made seven of eight saves.
Colorado outshot Vegas 35-29 overall and by a 25-14 margin in the final two periods of play.
"The whole tournament is an evaluation process," said Avs assistant general manager Craig Billington. "The guys worked hard, stuck with it. We have a couple more games to go, and we'll continue that evaluation."
The second game of the rookie tournament for the Avalanche is Sunday when the club takes on the Anaheim Ducks at 6 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed live for free on ColoradoAvalanche.com (blackouts apply).