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Maple Leafs 4, Golden Knights 3 (SO): 3 Takeaways

Vegas rallies late to earn point, loses in shootout.

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

It seemed unbelievable.

After the Maple Leafs stormed out to a 3-1 lead midway through the first period, it looked like the doors were going to get blown off for the Golden Knights.

But Vegas kept coming.

And coming.

And miraculously found a way to force this game into overtime.

A Mitch Marner shootout goal doomed Vegas in the end, which still cannot be entirely disappointed by clawing back to take another point in the standings in a 4-3 shootout loss in Toronto.

The Golden Knights are now 9-4-1, heading into tomorrow's road trip finale in Montreal.

Here are three immediate takeaways from tonight's game.

Video: VGK@TOR: Engellend blasts a game-tying goal

 

1. Shootout Coin Flip

As exciting as shootouts are, they can be a little bit of a crap shoot. It's more of a skills competition and a coin flip than it is a team game, which hockey normally is.

Shootout results rarely have any correlation to what happened in the preceeding game.

Tonight was Vegas' first shootout in team history, and it didn't go well.

Reilly Smith, James Neal and David Perron were all stopped by Frederik Andersen. And even though Maxime Lagace stopped 2-of-3 Maple Leafs shooters, it wasn't enough after Mitch Marner scored on Toronto's first attempt.

Game over, Golden Knights lose.

 

Video: VGK@TOR: Neal redirects the puck into the twine
 

2. So Much Credit Is Deserved

Against the high-flying Maple Leafs - the league's second best offense heading into the night - the start of this game was bad.

Really bad.

Toronto looked like an All-Star team, moving plays, showing speed and all sorts of razzle dazzle that Vegas couldn't seem to contend with.


Video: VGK@TOR: Smith rips PPG from point-blank range
 

Although after the 15:03 mark of the first period, Toronto didn't score again. Vegas buckled together as a team, and a second-period goal by Reilly Smith and third-period score by Deryk Engelland got the game to overtime.

Vegas did not win this one.

But the manner the Golden Knights came together in a game that almost got very ugly very quickly was impressive.

And one point in the standings is far better than nothing.

 

3. Lagace Stood Tall

 

Video: VGK@TOR: Lagace denies pair of shots with his pads

 

As Vegas was blitzed early in the game, it was the goalie, Maxime Lagace, who was hung out to dry. Although to be fair, he looked a bit outmatched himself, especially on two goals he surrendered to Nazem Kadri.

But rather than come unravaled, Lagace stopped the next 16 shots he faced, putting in a bona fide NHL performance and giving his team a chance to win.

Doing this in his first week in the NHL, on the big stage of Toronto, couldn't have been easy.

Although Lagace did, and it helped Vegas secure a valuable point in the standings.

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