period. Centers Cody Eakin and Pierre-edouard Bellemare, along with wingers William Carrier and Ryan Reaves, mixed it up to form a modified “bottom six” which managed to generate a spark for the Knights.
“I didn’t like our second period at all, and I just thought (about) trying to get the guys more into the game,” Gallant said Saturday. “It worked well tonight. They played pretty hard together.”
Eakin, Bellemare, Carrier and Reaves rotated in and out and managed to find chemistry quickly. Eakin and Bellemare had four scoring chances when paired in the third period and converted on one. Eakin onetimed a pass from Bellemare past Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with 10:39 left in the third to give the Knights a 3-2 lead.
“We kept it simple,” Eakin said. “We got three, four shifts together each and produced a couple chances, so it was good.”
The skaters negatively impacted by the change were forwards Valentin Zykov and Tomas Nosek. Neither played a shift in the third period after their line with Eakin had zero shots on goal through 40 minutes.
“I hope I don’t have to do it a whole lot of times,” Gallant said.
The Knights’ 4-3 defeat marked the third time this season they had a lead in the third period and lost in regulation. They also lost leads to Montreal on Nov. 10 and to San Jose on Jan. 10.
They have also lost twice in overtime after having a third period lead, but still rank eighth in the NHL in third-period goal differential at plus-eight. Their OT losses after leading in the third were to New Jersey on
Dec. 14 and to Montreal on Dec. 22.
“We had a chance to win