When the Golden Knights returned home Feb. 7, they had an 11-point lead over the fourth-place team in the Pacific Division and were set to play eight of their next nine games at T-Mobile Arena.
A playoff spot seemed a foregone conclusion, and if they were going to gain ground on the division leaders, this was the time to do it.
Instead, the Knights find themselves in an unexpected battle for third place.
Reilly Smith scored two goals, including a between-the-legs tally in the second period, and Shea Theodore had the lone conversion in the shootout Thursday night to lift the Knights to a pivotal 6-5 victory over the Florida Panthers.
“We battled back. We didn’t quit,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “I know we can play a lot better game than we did tonight, but again, we didn’t quit and found a way to battle back in the second