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The Nashville Silencer: How Vegas Turned A Game Around In .3 Seconds

Read the thoughts of players on the Golden Knights' last-second tying goal against Nashville on Wednesday

by Gary Lawless and Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights /

Sometimes a season needs a shakeup. A kick in the pants or a pat on the back. A moment which becomes larger as time marches forward. For the Vegas Golden Knights, Wednesday night's 4-3 overtime victory possesses all the earmarks of a season-defining game.

The Golden Knights were on the verge of defeat and heading home to Vegas with a sub-.500 record and a place in the standings beneath the playoff line. A two-goal lead had turned into a one-goal deficit and another loss was looming.

And then an incredible series of events, tremendous individual efforts and ultimate teamwork combined to create a near miraculous win which is now fixed in the pantheon of greatest VGK moments.
The Scene: 
Before the puck even dropped, Gerard Gallant explained how important scoring the first goal of the game would be for the Golden Knights. Vegas hadn't lit the lamp first since Nov. 19 against Toronto and had lost all three games since then. Mark Stone scored to end that slump and Reilly Smith piled on for a 2-0 lead. The Predators battled back as Mikael Granlund and Ryan Ellis scored to tie the game before Matt Duchene's go-ahead goal in the third period gave the homeside a 3-2 advantage.
With 8.1 seconds to play and goalie Malcolm Subban on the bench for an extra attacker, Jonathan Marchessault dumped the puck into the Nashville zone. All six Golden Knights on the ice darted over the blueline to set up for a final strike. Dan Hamhuis collected the puck with 6.2 seconds to go and he wheeled behind his net looking for support. Marchessault tied him up along the boards allowing Smith to steal the puck with 2.9 seconds left. He flipped it Mark Stone who caught the pass on his backhand, made a half-turn toward the middle of the ice and shoveled the puck to a wide-open Max Pacioretty. Stick and puck connected with .7 on the board and the rubber hit the twine with .3 to go as the last gasp of regulation filled Vegas' lungs.
As the game entered overtime, the Golden Knights seemed to forget their recent overtime struggles. After an early chance for William Karlsson came up short, Nate Schmidt made a steal in the Vegas zone, stormed down the ice with Paul Stastny and the duo connected to seal off the victory that almost never was.

Thoughts on your role in the game-tying goal…
I knew there was not a lot of time left, so I was just trying to get on my horse and put (the puck) in a place that maybe we could recover it and just try and forecheck. Then Smitty came and helped me out there, put it in front, Stoney had an amazing heads up play and Patch was able to finish the job as usual.
Thoughts on how the team played tonight…
Honestly, that's the way we want to play. I think we played well. They had a good push in the second. We came back in the third. We played amazing. Subban made great saves on Forsberg twice and honestly it was awesome to get the win for him too.
Thoughts on the come-from-behind win…
Given the circumstances, knowing what's at stake, it just felt so good. I thought we played a strong game. There's a lot of things to be happy about: getting Subban a win, being able to come back, battle back and really play a strong three periods plus is really important for out group, especially in a building like this that's really hard to play in. We've had situations like this before where we had a game that we want to rally behind, and this is definitely one of them.
Thoughts on the coaches fighting to get the extra second added to the clock…
Yeah, they definitely tried to let that clock lag a little bit, so good for the coaches and the coaches in the room to catch that. And, like you said, that clock expires if they don't catch that. Had to use every last second of it and we had everyone on board tonight. It just felt like eventually we were going to break through and win.
Thoughts on Marchessault getting the puck across the ice with 14 seconds left…
That's the hardest part of the six-on-five is when they dump it out, being able to come back and attack and get control of it. It was definitely an icing, so I didn't touch it, but him having the awareness of the clock and then coming up like he was shot out of a cannon, that's an unbelievable play. And that right there could be a play that we look back on in the season and say that started because of Marchy's hard work there. Smart play not to try to make a pass at the blue line, know that everyone is flat-footed, get in there deep, get some speed and get the turnovers. It started with him. Obviously, he didn't get rewarded on the scoresheet, but that's why we have a good team in here. We have selfless players that are going to make the right play for the team.
Thoughts on the game and the win…
There were times it was kind of a back-and-forth game. It's always tough playing guys, especially here, that are active D-men. A few times I think we got caught a little bit in the D-zone, kind of watching each other a little bit, but we kind of never gave up. The spirit on the bench was always the same. We always stuck with it, and, like you said, sometimes it takes that last second. You could break down every play, but starting with Marchy working his tail off to get to puck to go all the way to Smitty on the forecheck, to Stoney making that pass, to Patch not even dusting it off because if it hits the goalie or if he just takes that .1 second it doesn't count. Talk about every second counts. It was one of those games today.
Thoughts on the end of the third period…
It felt like it was 10 seconds, you know. It was just happening in slow motion, like we obviously know the clock is running down, there is still time. You can see the play developing and everything. And you know it kind of just kicks out in front and we score. It was amazing. It was an unbelievable feeling. An unbelievable experience for sure.
Thoughts on his first win of the season…
Yeah, I mean, you know you take them any way you can. You know it's just amazing the way the boys battled back from being up from 2-0, they made some nice plays and came back. Other than that though we played an unbelievable game. We kept them to the outside a lot. A lot of their shots were from outside the dots and stuff. So, it was good on that part. For us to come back and score that goal against a good team. It was unbelievable, and then to get the overtime winner. I just blacked out after that.
Thoughts on the performance throughout the game…
It was an awesome start of the game for us. I thought we competed well. You know, we really stuck to the game plan. We made a few tweaks in our game that I think you can see maybe cost us a couple goals just from second guessing, but we are coming along. That's the type of fight we need from our group. That never say die attitude. We got a couple big saves on the penalty kill. A power play gets us a bit of little momentum leading into it, and you know we just stick with it with 0.3 seconds left, tie it up and get an awesome defensive play from Nate that led into a great offensive play.

Thoughts on how great of a win this game was…
Yeah, it's awesome. These are types of things that can spark us, and we need to use it. We need to continue to play the right way. Play our style of hockey. That's the type of team we want to be known for. No give up. Be the hardest working team on the ice whether it's a back-to-back, on the road, at home. We want to be the team known for having those tough rumble games.

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