(Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

Las Vegas–Tonight was the highly anticipated matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights and Ottawa Senators on Park Avenue.

The last time that the Golden Knights met up with Ottawa was back during the early stages of the season where they took their game away from T-Mobile Arena and into the Eastern Conference time zone for the first time in club history.

That road trip however, was hell for Vegas as they only saw 1 win and 5 losses collectively. Their only victory was against the Senators that featured a 5-4 final score.

In tonight’s battle just three days removed the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline, the Golden Knights jumped out to an early lead by top line forward Reilly Smith. On the scoring play, William Karlsson was given a turnover gift by Ottawa defenseman Ben Harpur in the offensive zone.

Karlsson took the puck and dished it out to Jonathan Marchessault in the slot with Smith on the doorstop and number 19 ended up beating Senators goaltender Craig Anderson for his 22nd of the season just 58 seconds into the contest.

However for the Golden Knights and the crowd of 18,269 at T-Mobile Arena, that lead was short lived and the visiting Senators answered back with a goal of their own as it was Mark Stone scoring the equalizer marker on Marc-André Fleury at 2:19 into the opening period.

With less than 2 minutes left in the first the Golden Knights would retake the lead as Vegas played the d to d game between Brad Hunt and Colin Miller while Vegas was on their first power play of the game.

After the two blueliners played a little catch, the former Bruins defenseman fired his long range wrister and beat Andersen low glove side for a 2-1 score. This gave Miller his 8th of the year with the Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights would take that lead into the first intermission of the game.

But in the middle frame, the Senators offense would come out as it was led by two former Western Conference players in Bobby Ryan and Matt Duchene followed last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs young stud in J.G. Pagaeu.

It was the former Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan that started things off for the Senators when he connected on a long stretch pass from Stone. Ryan behind the Golden Knights defense went in on a breakaway and beat the 3-time Stanley Cup Champ five hole and scored the game tying marker for a 2-2 hockey game.

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For the Senators their offensive onslaught on the Golden Knights would not let up it was the former Avs Duchene their next man up and gave Ottawa the lead for the first time in the game. His go ahead goal was from a cross ice feed by Thomas Chabot as he went farside on Fleury and gave the Senators a 3-2 lead over Vegas, 10:45 into the 2nd period.

At 14:41 of the middle stanza Sens rising star Pagaeu would extend the Ottawa lead over the Golden Knights as he unloaded a one timer blast from 2-time Norris Trophy Winner Erik Karlsson that Fleury had no chance at stopping.

In the third period of the game, the Golden Knights would have some push back of their own as it was Vegas’s Karlsson closing the gap on the Senators and as he scored his 35 goal of the season and brought the quiet crowd at “The Fortress” back to life after their sub-par second period. His goal made it a 4-3 game at the 3:35 mark of the period.

It wasn’t until the Ryan Carpenter‘s goal that T-Mobile erupted loudly. Carpenter with great individual effort scored their fifth shorthanded goal of the season. Since coming over from the San Jose Sharks via the waiver wire he recorded his 7th of the year in a Golden Knights uniform before the eighth minute of the 3rd.

Less than a minute later after Carpenter tied the game up at 4-4 for Vegas, the former Vancouver Canucks Alexandre Burrows would put the dagger in the heart of the Golden Knights and their fans by scoring the 5th and last goal of the game for the Senators at 11:05 remaining in regulation.

Burrow’s goal who be the deciding factor of the game as the Senators got their revenge on Vegas for their loss back on November 4 where the Golden Knights beat them the same final of tonight 5-4.

This 5-4 loss gave the Golden Knights their third straight defeat since the deadline after picking up forward Ryan Reaves and Tomas Tatar.

After his first game back since his throat infection Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore was complimentary with his comments on Sens bleuliner Erik Karlsson.

“He’s good, he moves the puck really well. He keeps our guys backed up because he can beat so many guys with a pass. He’s a good player.” Theodore on the Senators Captain.

For Fleury this marked the 10th loss against the Ottawa Senators in the playing career with his 33 save performance. His overall record of this season, put him at 21-8-3.

“Tough one. I think the third period, that was probably our best. I think we played hard, obviously got a few goals and made our way back into the game. So it’s good that we showed some character. But that’s not the type of game that we want to play, and that we’ve been playing to have success, myself included. Can’t be losing those games now.” Fleury mentioned.

With William Karlsson having a two point night for Vegas, Carpenter’s shorthanded goal was another positive for the team in the loss and for Theodore he recognized that and talked about it with us.

“Yeah, he’s been playing great for us. That was a pretty key goal to score shorthanded like that. He’s been really good the past couple games for us.” Said Theodore.

Last year during the NHL Awards and Vegas Draft, the Ottawa Captain mentioned the excitement of getting the opportunity to play in Sin City at the Red Carpet event before the Golden Knights historic night at T-Mobile.

Well for him that finally happened tonight and he commented on what the experience was with the in-game entertainment, atmosphere and “The Fortress” itself.

“I think it was great. The atmosphere was unbelievable, all the way from warm-up until the end. Didn’t really know what to expect, we heard really good things about it. You know I think it was a really cool experience. They’ve done a tremendous job with the rink, and obviously the entertainment is on point.” Said Senators Karlsson on playing in Vegas for the first time.

Vegas would post a 41-18-5 record after the defeat and as they would be third overall in the NHL behind the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning in the standings stuck at 87 points.

3 Stars Of The Game

Ottawa Senators: Erik Karlsson (2 assists)

Ottawa Senators: Alexandre Burrows (game winning goal)

Vegas Golden Knights: William Karlsson (1 goal and 1 assist)

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