LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Logan Thompson is 2-for-2 as the Golden Knights’ starting goaltender. Two games, two victories.
“It’s awesome,” said Thompson on Thursday night after stopping 27 shots as the Golden Knights won their home opener, 1-0 over the Chicago Blackhawks before an announced crowd of 18,467 at T-Mobile Arena.
“He was excellent tonight,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Thompson, “but so was their guy. Both goalies were the stars of the show tonight. Full credit to Logan He knew he was going the first two, and he responded very well.”
Thompson won the goaltending job coming out of training camp, and he’s got the Knights off to a 2-0 start. Paul Cotter scored the lone goal midway through the second period, and Thompson made it stand up.
Alex Stalock stopped 36 shots for Chicago, but he couldn’t make the grab on Cotter’s glove-side wrist shot off the rush at 8:44. Zach Whitecloud drew the lone assist, firing an outlet pass to Cotter, who kept the puck on a 2-on-1 and finished nicely for his third NHL goal.
Cassidy thought the Knights had some good chances but didn’t seem to be either accurate or lucky enough around the net, with several near misses. “It seemed there was a lot of those that just rolled off our stick,” Cassidy said.
When the Blackhawks had their chances, Thompson was superb to notch his second NHL shutout.. He was especially good in the opening period, stopping a wrist shot through a screen by Patrick Kane and a breakaway by Andreas Athanasiou. Both chances came about five minutes in.
He also stoned Colin Blackwell midway through the period, turning aside a backhand shot as the Chicago center cut in all alone and crashed into the goal.
A few minutes later, when defenseman Connor Murphy grabbed a loose puck after a scramble in front of the Knights’ goal, a prone Thompson stacked his pads for the save.
“They were pretty good scoring chances,” Thompson said. “When you save them, keep them out of the net, it’s a confidence booster.”
Left wing Reilly Smith, who had several chances for the Knights, praised Thompson, an undrafted free agent getting his chance to be a No. 1 netminder because Robin Lehner is out for the season after hip surgery.
“He made some key saves when we needed it,” Smith said. “He’s got a lot of confidence. … He’s come to camp and he wanted to prove himself to everyone. I think he’s done that.”