Despite opening the scoring from an unlikely source, the Ducks finish 2019 with a 5-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Korbinian Holzer punched in Anaheim's opening goal today at the 8:13 mark of the first period, but the Ducks were burned on multiple turnovers that led to Golden Knights goals.
Holzer's goal, his first of the season - and the first since the 2018-19 season finale vs. LA - came by way of a one-handed chop that lifted the puck over Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and across the stripe.
Video: ANA@VGK: Holzer lifts home loose puck for opener
Anaheim's lead lasted eight minutes until Vegas forward Mark Stone pounced on a turnover in the offensive zone for his 16th goal of the season. Then, with 20 seconds left in the period, Alex Tuch gave Vegas a 2-1 lead when the Ducks tried to push the puck beneath John Gibson for a whistle. Unfortunately, the puck was never covered and was tapped across the stripe.
"They were the better team for 60 minutes," said Jakob Silfverberg, who scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season today. "Getting that one towards the end of the third, you get a little bit of life. You never know what's going to happen. Gibby was terrific tonight, but the rest of the team didn't play as good. It was a tough game."
Reilly Smith gave Vegas a 3-1 lead when he jumped on another Ducks turnover for his 15th goal of the season late in the middle frame.
Jonathan Marchessault made it 4-1 on a penalty shot after getting slashed by Josh Manson midway through the third period.
Silfverberg pounced on a rebound in the high slot with 5:30 remaining in the third period to make it 4-2. Silfverberg yesterday was named to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. It marks his first career All-Star selection as part of the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis from Jan. 24-26.
Video: ANA@VGK: Silfverberg fires home wrister from the slot
Marchessault put the game out of reach with an empty-net goal in the closing minutes of regulation.
Gibson finished the game with 36 saves on 40 shots, including a handful that could make the highlight reel. At the other end, Fleury turned aside 26 shots.
The Ducks fell to 16-19-5 (37 points), while the Golden Knights improved to 22-15-6 (50 points).
When asked what he'd like to see when the near year begins, Silfverberg stressed consistency. "At times, we've played some really good hockey, but it's way too inconsistent. Every night has to be a hard-working night. Hopefully we can string some games together."
The Ducks will look to get back in the win column on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.