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Golden Knights 5, Senators 4: 3 Takeaways

Maxime Lagace's first NHL win boosts Vegas to 9-4-0.

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Just what the doctor ordered, that's what this game was.

The Golden Knights rode two goals from Erik Haula and the first NHL win of goalie Maxime Lagace to defeat the Ottawa Senators, 5-4, on Saturday.

After losing the first three games of a lengthy, six-game eastern road trip, the victory puts Vegas back in the win column.

9-4-0 through 13 games, regardless of the recent skid, is pretty darn good.

Here are three immediate takeaways from today's game.

Video: VGK@OTT: Karlsson pots slick wraparound goal

 

1. Golden Knights quick responses

To their credit, the Senators repeatedly fought their way back in this game.

A 1-1 tie became 2-1 Vegas and a 2-2 game became 3-2 Golden Knights before three straight goals opened it up to 5-2 Vegas in the third period.

What the Golden Knights were able to do each time the Senators tied the game was respond quickly.

After Mark Stone tied the game 1-1, it took Erik Haula only 3:56 to restore Vegas' lead. When Alex Burrows tied it for Ottawa again, Jonathan Marchessault scored the go-ahead goal 5:25 later.

 

Video: VGK@OTT: Tuch opens scoring with power-play goal

 

As a result, Ottawa was chasing this game all afternoon, despite the proximity in the score. The Senators may have been able to pull ahead, but as soon as they fought so hard to get even again, they got kicked back down the ladder another rung.

The timeliness of these Golden Knights goals allowed Vegas to maintain the momentum in a game it significantly outplayed the opposition.

Today, as much as it was about how many, it was about when the goals were scored. Where even though the Senators fought back to make it close late, Vegas had the upper hand all afternoon.

 

Video: VGK@OTT: Marchessault rips in rebound for PPG

 

2. Lagace in the win column

Since Oscar Dansk went down to injury during Monday's game against the Islanders, Vegas had done nothing but lose.

Three straight defeats, with rookie Maxime Lagace taking each loss in the team's longest losing streak of the season.

For a goalie who had never played in the NHL at this time last week, you'd have to imagine that his confidence may have been suffering, despite a strong performance on Thursday in Boston.

 

Video: VGK@OTT: Lagace slides across to deny Phaneuf

 

Lagace wasn't spectacular on Saturday, but was good enough. He stopped 24 of 28 shots, and earned his first NHL win in the process.

For a young goalie who still seems like he'll play another few games for Vegas, this could give him a tremendous boost moving forward. Simply winning a game and getting his feet on the ground, that is.

Vegas also became the rare team to use four goalies to get nine wins. Most teams don't get wins from more than two goalies all season.

Lagace's effort was a testament to the depth in the Golden Knights organization.

 

Video: VGK@OTT: Haula finishes nice pass for second goal

 

3. Nipped in the bud

After losing three straight games to start this road trip, Vegas could've been in trouble. Especially heading into playing three games in four days still away from home, including tilts with difficult Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs teams.

It seemed to have the ingredients that could've spiraled out of control for the Golden Knights.

That just didn't happen.

 

Video: VGK@OTT: Haula fires rebound into wide-open net

 

Vegas not only defeated Ottawa, but did so while holding a decided edge in play.

And while the two remaining games - Monday in Toronto, Tuesday in Montreal - could change the flavor of this trip, for better or for worse, it's worth noting that the team's longest road trip of the season is in its final stages.

And as this end and a return to the friendly confines of T-Mobile Arena nears, the Golden Knights are 9-4-0. Which is still the third most points in the Western Conference, behind only the Los Angeles Kings (21 points) and St. Louis Blues (21 points), entering Saturday night.

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