It’s not often that a player without a goal or an assist is named to the three stars of the game in a 5-4 contest. But that’s exactly what Brayden McNabb did on Thursday when he was named 3rd star in the win over Philadelphia.
McNabb posted a -2 rating, took just one shot, and was only on the ice for one of the Golden Knights five goals vs. the Flyers, yet there he was named among the three best players of the game for both teams.
McNabb earned his spot with his work in the dying seconds of the game. With the Golden Knights clinging to a 5-4 lead, a pair of penalties forced Vegas to have to kill off a 43 second 6-on-3 followed by a 45 second 6-on-4 in order to win the game.
It’s at the end of the game too and we’re up a goal it’s just a huge moment in a hockey game. -Brayden McNabb
McNabb made not one, but two massive plays in the first 20 seconds of the 6-on-3.
First, after a shot deflected perfectly to Shayne Gostisbehere, McNabb sprawled out to block a shot that very likely would have found its way past Marc-Andre Fleury.
In that situation it’s part of my role and any time you have a chance to get in front of a puck you do it, and you want to do it because Flower bails us out all the time so you want to make sure you can help him out as much as possible. -McNabb
Then, while tying up another player’s stick, McNabb uses his long reach to deflect a pass out of the zone and essentially kill off the remainder of the 6-on-3 power play.
It’s a big challenge, obviously, you are down 2 men and you can get momentum if you get a kill and it helps your team out a ton. It’s fun to be out there and go against that challenge. We’ve had 2 or 3 this year and they’ve scored twice and in that one they didn’t. The guys did a great job and Flower made some big saves. -McNabb
McNabb was on the ice for the final 2:46 of the game. He played 4:37 of the final 8 minutes of the game and took five shifts inside the last 12 minutes. McNabb led the team with 20 shifts and played 25:07 of total ice time, the 6th most of any Golden Knight this season.
That game seemed to have extra meaning to the Golden Knights, especially Mark Stone, as they battled back from allowing the first goal to beat a good team at home and cement their spot in 1st place at the NHL’s midway point.
It’s not all because of Brayden McNabb, but who knows where they would have been without him Thursday night.