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Kahun, Jarry lead Penguins past Vegas 4-3

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Game # 46
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 3 Penguins Hockey Forum 4
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 4 hours ago

LAS VEGAS -- The 

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 had a season-low 16 shots on goal against the 

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, and that was enough to get a victory.

 

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 had a goal and an assist, 

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 made 32 saves and Pittsburgh opened a three-game road trip by beating the Golden Knights 4-3 Tuesday night.

 

In bringing Vegas' season-long four-game win streak to a halt, the Penguins extended their winning streak to three straight. Pittsburgh has won six of seven on the road (6-1-0).

 

"It's always good to beat a team that's that good," said Pittsburgh defenseman 

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, who is one assist shy of becoming the first defenseman in franchise history to record 400 in a career after registering two against Vegas. "They were playing really well as of late. We all know it's a tough building to come into and win games, so it's good to get that one."

 

Pittsburgh, which has won 17 of 23 against Western Conference teams, improved to 12-3-1 since Dec. 4. Its 12 wins and 25 points during that span are tied with Tampa Bay for most in the NHL.

 

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, 

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 and 

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 also scored for the Penguins, who are 16-6-4 in the 26 games that captain 

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 has missed due to injury this season.

 

Jarry improved to 14-6-1 on the season, and 10-1-1 against Western Conference foes, including a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1).

 

"We've got a great group of players," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "This is a players game. Those are the guys that go out there and get the job done.

 

It's not always pretty; tonight was an example of it. But for the most part, our guys have played pretty competitive hockey and have deserved a lot of the points we've accumulated at this point."

 

As has Pacific Division co-leading Vegas, which dipped to 15-7-3 since Nov. 17. The Golden Knights' 33 points are tied for second in the NHL with the Penguins in that span.

 

It marked the second straight game the Golden Knights fell behind 3-0 and looked to rally in front of a sellout crowd. But unlike Saturday, when they came from behind to beat defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis in overtime, Vegas' effort came up short in front of an announced 18,298 in attendance.

 

"I thought we played good," said Vegas goalie 

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, who made 12 saves against his former team. "Obviously, we were down quickly, and we battled back in the game. For my part, I feel like I let the guys down. I let too many goals in on not many shots. That can't happen."

 

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 scored his team-high 19th goal, while 

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 scored a goal for the second straight game, his 12th of the season.

 

Pacioretty (9) and Stastny (6) combined for 15 of Vegas' 35 shots, nine more than Vegas' top line of 

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, 

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 and 

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.

 

Turnovers hurt the Golden Knights, who had eight giveaways, including three in the first period.

 

"There were some self-inflicted wounds for sure," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "Made some mistakes and they got some turnovers and they buried the puck in the back of the net. We've played really good hockey lately, tonight we made some early mistakes and it ended up in the back of the net."

 

Malkin got the Penguins on the board early with his 12th goal of the season, and Hornqvist extended the lead when he collected a rebound from 

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's slap shot from the top, swept around and tucked it between Fleury's skate and the post.

 

Vegas faced its second straight 3-0 deficit when Kahun finessed a backhand from the slot through Fleury's pads early in the second period.

 

Tanev's swoop across the crease and wrap around past Fleury's right pad in the third proved to be the winner, as Smith made things interesting with a late goal in the third.

 

Despite coming in with the league's third-best power play at home, the Golden Knights couldn't capitalize when Pittsburgh committed a penalty and Vegas went on a 6-on-4 advantage with Fleury pulled.

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Kempe helps last-place Kings stun Golden Knights 4-2

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Game # 47
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 2  Kings Hockey Forum 4

By
Associated Press
Updated: 13 hours ago

LAS VEGAS -- It doesn't take much to get 

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 goaltender 

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 fired up to play inside T-Mobile Arena.

 

"You don't have to get amped -- you're in Vegas. It's showtime," he said.

 

Campbell stopped 44 of the 46 shots he faced, 

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 scored two goals and the Kings surprised the 

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 5-2 on Thursday night.

 

"It's pretty fun to play here and be in this city and the fans they have and team they have," said Campbell, whose first career win was also in Vegas, in 2018. "You don't have to try to psyche yourself up, it's just such a fun place to play."

 

The Kings, who entered the game in last place in the Western Conference, used four first-period goals to set the tone before Campbell held off the Pacific Division co-leading Golden Knights the rest of the way.

 

"He, for some reason, plays well here," Kings coach Todd McLellan said of Campbell. "And to come out of this building with a win, you're probably saying your goaltender played well because that's a quality team over there."

 

The Golden Knights outshot the Kings 36-5 over the last two periods but were unable to overcome the four-goal deficit.

 

It was the seventh time in 10 games the Golden Knights allowed at least four goals in a game, and fifth straight game Vegas allowed its guest to score the first goal of the game.

 

It was also the third straight game in which the Golden Knights' opponent scored the first three goals of the game.

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, 

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 and 

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 also scored for the Kings.

 

"You can't say enough about our start," said Campbell, who improved to 2-1-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average lifetime against Vegas. "When we score first, it's amazing how well we can play. I know they made a big push in the second period, but we showed a lot of character coming back in the third. It's just a big win."

 

Los Angeles' victory coupled with Anaheim's loss to Dallas and allowed the Kings to leapfrog the Ducks out of the West cellar.

 

Since opening the season 11-18-2 -- third worst in the NHL with 24 points -- Los Angeles is 7-6-2 with 16 points, tied for 10th-best in the league.

 

"When we focus having a good start, it's amazing how well you can play," Campbell said. "Some games have gotten away from us early, especially on the road early in the season.

 

We've kind of cleared that up as of late. We've turned the corner there, but to be a really good team in this league you gotta make sure you're bringing that every night."

 

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 and 

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 scored for Vegas. 

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 made 18 saves and dropped to 6-3-1 in his last 10.

 

Martinez started the first period scoring barrage for Los Angeles when he gathered a failed clearing try off the boards by Vegas defenseman 

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 and sent a one-timer past Subban from the point.

 

Hutton extended the lead less than two minutes later. He collected a pass from Toffoli and fired a slap shot a few feet in front of Martinez's goal, making it 2-0.

 

Toffoli got in on the action when he scooped up the puck off a face off and fired a wrist shot past Subban's glove. Moments later it was Kempe burying a lingering rebound in the crease with 1.7 seconds left in the period.

 

The Kings' four first-period goals tied for the most goals scored in one period against Vegas this season, matching Philadelphia, which did it on Oct. 21.

 

Coincidentally, it marked the second time this season Los Angeles netted four goals in a period, which it also did on New Year's Eve against Philadelphia.

 

"Same old story isn't it? No excuse, we can't be ready," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "We were down 3, 4-0 in the game. The first period was awful. It's embarrassing"

 

The Golden Knights clawed their way back into it, cutting the lead in half with two second-period goals, but it wasn't enough with Campbell playing outstanding in net.

 

Kempe added his second goal of the game, and 10th of the season, with eight seconds left.

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Merzlikins gets first shutout, Blue Jackets beat Vegas 3-0

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Game # 48
 
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 0 Blue Jackets Hockey Forum 3
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 14 hours ago

LAS VEGAS -- It’s only fitting 

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 earned his first career shutout at T-Mobile Arena.

 

After all, the 

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 goaltender was named by his late father after the iconic entertainer who once starred on Las Vegas Boulevard.

 

Merzlikins made 27 saves to lead the Blue Jackets past the 

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 3-0 Saturday night.

 

"When I power napped, I was dreaming for idea. Why not? Would be fun to make first shutout of career, here in Vegas," said the 25-year-old rookie, who was filling in for injured starter 

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. "It was just a dream. It feels good. But still now, I have to enjoy it then just move on."

 

Merzlikins, who improved to 5-6-4 in 17 games, decorates different areas of his locker every game with religious pieces, the main one sitting at the top, a piece given to him from his grandmother in remembrance of his father.

 

"I'm really superstitious. During the game, I talk all the time (to him)," said Merzlikins, who has almost no memory of his father, Vjaceslav, whom he dedicated his shutout to afterward.

 

"I believe he is helping me from up there. I never kind of met him, because I was three years old.

 

For me, it is really important because that is somebody is helping me from up there because I really believe in that."

Elvis Merzlikins has started seven straight games for Columbus, and since taking the bulk of the starts with Korpisalo’s injury, he’s gone 5-2-0, with his five wins since Dec. 31 -- the second-most in the NHL.

 

He has a .943 save percentage and 1.88 goals-against average since New Year’s Eve, which both rank fourth among goaltenders with a minimum of three games played.

 

"He was solid," Columbus coach John Tortorella said of his young netminder. "He made key saves at key times. I think he just let the game come to him."

 

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, who ranks fifth in the league with 98 blocked shots, came up with five huge blocks to assist Merzlikins in the win.

 

Since Nov. 6, the Blue Jackets' 2.26 goals-against average is best in the NHL, having allowed 70 goals in 31 games.

 

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, 

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 and 

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 scored for Columbus.

 

The Blue Jackets are 11-2-4 since Dec. 9, one point behind Tampa Bay for most in the NHL during that span.

Vegas' 

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 made 19 saves.

 

First period woes continued for the Golden Knights, who allowed the first goal for the sixth straight game. Bemstrom scored on a power-play one-timer to make it 1-0 late in the first.

 

The Golden Knights -- who ended a seven-game homestand losing three straight -- have been outscored 10-0 in the first period over their last four games.

 

"There was no contact tonight," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "It was a soft game and we gotta play harder than that. It's a tough way to end our homestand, but it is what it is and we gotta move on. We gotta play a lot better than that to win."

 

Vegas fell behind 2-0 for the fourth straight game when 

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's shot from the point was deflected by Dubois 2:06 into the second period. Columbus finished the scoring when Wennberg notched his first goal since Oct. 21.

 

The Golden Knights continued to struggle on their power play, going 0 for 3. Since Dec. 5, Vegas has converted on 18.4% of its power plays (7 of 38) -- 21st in the league.

 

The closest Vegas came to a goal was about two minutes into the third period, when T-Mobile Arena's entertainment staff prematurely blew the goal-horn and blasted smoke from the top of the glass at each end after 

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 streaked in on the right side and clanked the puck off the crossbar.

 

"I thought we came out and started the game good, the first five, six minutes," Gallant said. "We didn't score on our power play, they scored on their power play and the game changed after that."

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Eichel's end-to-end rush sparks Buffalo's 4-2 win over Vegas

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Game # 49
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 2 Sabres Hockey Forum 4
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 7 hours ago

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- 

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 shrugged off a sloppy, turnover-filled second period to deliver a breathtaking goal in showing continued signs of how much he's maturing into the Sabres leader in his fifth NHL season.

 

Rather than displaying tell-tale signs of frustration as he's done in the past, Buffalo's captain responded by scoring the go-ahead goal on an end-to-end rush 7:57 into the third period in a 4-2 win over the 

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 on Tuesday night.

 

"I definitely made some bad turnovers," said Eichel, including one that led to goalie 

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 making an acrobatic save to stop 

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 set up in the slot.

 

"Give Linus credit. He made some huge saves for us," Eichel added. "But we just stuck with it. It's a gutsy win.

 

We needed that win."

 

Eichel put the game in his hands with Vegas caught in the Buffalo end.

 

Building a head of steam, Eichel drove through the neutral zone to create a two-on-one break. Cutting to the left wing, Eichel burst past defenseman 

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, cut to the net and shifted from his backhand to forehand to flip the puck over 

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's glove.

 

The goal was Eichel's career-high-matching 28th of the season and sixth game-winner. And it came in a game in which he added an assist to become Buffalo's first player in 27 years to reach the 60-point mark in 46 or fewer games.

 

The last Buffalo players to have 60 points in fewer games were Alex Mogilny, who did it in 33 games in 1992-93, and 

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, in 34 the same season.

 

Teammate 

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 could only marvel at how Eichel regained his focus.

 

"I thought the way he came back in the third showed a lot of leadership on his part," Okposo said. "It showed a lot of character. When the game was on the line, he took it over, and that was great to see, special to see."

 

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 had a goal and two assists, and Okposo and 

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, with an empty-netter, also scored.

 

Ullmark finished with 24 saves, and the Sabres won for the fourth time in six games.

 

The loss didn't sit well with the Golden Knights, who have dropped four straight.

 

"It's tougher, especially when you're losing to teams you know that you're better than," forward 

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 said, referring to Vegas entering the game with four more wins and seven more points than Buffalo.

 

"We're a better hockey team. We just have to find ways to put the puck in the net. We've kind of gotten stale the last bunch of games."

 

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 and 

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 scored for the Golden Knights, whose skid matches their longest streak without a point in the franchise's three-year history. Vegas lost four in a row during an 0-4-1 skid from Nov. 7-16.

 

Fleury stopped 22 shots, while missing a chance to earn his 458th career win and move into a tie for fifth on the NHL list with 

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.

 

Fleury blamed himself for giving up the short side by anticipating Eichel to pass rather than shoot on the decisive goal.

 

"You always think you can do much more," Fleury said. "I feel I opened up too much for him to get the goal there."

 

In reality, the Golden Knights squandered too many scoring opportunities and were undone by a penalty-killing unit that allowed two goals on three opportunities.

 

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 missed scoring into a wide-open net midway through the second period, while 

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 had a shot beat Ullmark, only to have the puck slide through the crease and wide with under three minutes left.

 

The teams traded one-goal leads in the second period, and Eichel's goal regained Buffalo's momentum after Smith tied the game at 2 with a power-play goal 1:43 into the third period.

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Golden Knights beat Senators in DeBoer's debut with Vegas

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Game # 50
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 4 Senators Hockey Forum 2
 
 

By
Associated Press
17 hours ago

OTTAWA, Ontario -- 

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 scored a goal and picked up an assist in his return to Ottawa, leading Vegas to a 4-2 victory over the Senators on Thursday night in Peter DeBoer's debut as the Golden Knights' coach.

 

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Knights, who fired Gerard Gallant on Wednesday. 

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, 

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 and 

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 also scored for Vegas.

 

Stone, playing his first game in the city where he spent most of his first eight NHL seasons, was traded to Vegas last February.

 

Stone received a video tribute during the first TV timeout, with Senators fans giving him a standing ovation. Stone took to the ice to thank the fans and gave them a thumbs up.

 

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 stopped 33 shots for Vegas, tying the 

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' 

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 for fifth place on the NHL's career list with 458 wins.

 

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 made 39 saves in his first game since Jan. 7, but the Senators extended their losing streak to nine games (0-5-4). Ottawa has scored just 19 goals through the winless drought.

 

 

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 and 

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 scored for the Senators.

Vegas led 1-0 before Stone scored late in the second period on a wraparound effort.

 

Vegas made it 3-0 early in the third as Stephenson scored a short-handed after 

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 had a giveaway.

 

Ottawa got on the board one minute later when 

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 found Namestnikov down low for a one-timer.

 

Vegas made it 4-1 after Anderson was caught behind the net and couldn't get back in time to stop Reaves from picking up his sixth of the season.

 

The Senators cut the lead in half as Brown scored on the power play.

 

Vegas opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the game when Stastny and Stone had a little give-and-go with Stastny beating Anderson for his 13th of the season.

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Tatar scores in shootout, Canadiens beat Vegas 5-4

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Game # 51
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 4 Canadiens Hockey Forum 5
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 15 hours ago

MONTREAL -- 

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 went from dejection to jubilation in a matter of minutes.

 

Price and the 

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 squandered a two-goal lead late in the third period, but 

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 scored in the fourth round of a shootout for a 5-4 victory over the 

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 on Saturday night.

 

Vegas scored twice in the final two minutes to force overtime with 

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 on the bench for the extra skater.

 

When Price conceded the equalizer to 

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 with 8 seconds left in regulation, he smashed his stick in anger.

 

After an end-to-end overtime, Price stopped Smith with his pad in the fourth round of the shootout for the victory. The Canadiens goaltender jumped, raised his arms and swarmed his teammates in celebration.

 

"It was important for (Price) to win that game," coach Claude Julien said.

 

"That was all that mattered to him. It's frustrating that they scored twice in the final two minutes.

 

It wasn't pretty, but it was exciting. We got two points and we'll take it."

 

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 scored against his former team with a shot from the blue line through traffic with 1:57 left in regulation before Smith tipped 

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's shot past Price.

 

"(Vegas) was carrying a lot of momentum at the end of that game," said Price, who made 31 stops for his fourth consecutive victory. "They were making a push. We pushed back well in the overtime and found a way to do it in the shootout."

 

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 scored twice, and 

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 and 

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 each scored once for the Canadiens (22-21-7), who have won four of their last five games.

 

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, Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty and Smith each scored for the Golden Knights (25-20-6) in their second game under new coach Peter DeBoer. Fleury stopped 28 shots.

 

"We're getting off to slow starts and teams are capitalizing," said Smith, who has 20 goals this season. "We have to find a away to turn that around. It's too hard to come back in every game."

 

Down 4-2, Vegas scored twice in the game's final two minutes to force overtime with Fleury on the bench for an extra skater.

 

Fleury made highlight-reel saves on 

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 and Kovalchuk on odd-man rushes in overtime to force the shootout, where Kovalchuk and Tatar scored.

 

Montreal took a commanding 3-0 lead on nine shots after the first 20 minutes.

 

The Canadiens went ahead at 5:51 on Cousins' sixth of the year. Weise sent a backhand pass from behind the net to Cousins, who slid the puck under Fleury's outstretched pad.

 

Kovalchuk was coming off a two-goal performance in Montreal's 4-1 victory in Philadelphia on Thursday, and the 36-year-old scored his fourth in a Canadiens uniform at 12:33.

 

Fleury denied Kovalchuk's initial shot in close but he couldn't stop the Russian's second effort.

 

The goal was Kovalchuk's first at the Bell Centre since 2011. His first three goals since joining Montreal came on the road.

 

The Canadiens went up 3-0 when Armia deflected 

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's shot and beat Fleury between the pads for his career-high 13th of the season.

 

The Golden Knights scored twice in the second period. Unguarded, Marchessault tallied from the slot on a pass from Smith from behind the net at 9:08.

 

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 and Armia were unable to clear their crease and the veteran Stastny jammed a loose puck past Price to make it 3-2 at 14:47.

 

Cousins scored his second of the game on a 2-on-1 with Weise at 9:40 of the third to give Montreal a 4-2 advantage. Fleury overcommitted to the shot, and Weise passed to Cousins for his seventh of the season.

 

"We've been playing some pretty good hockey," Price said. "If we can continue to do that and understand what's making us successful, we have to carry that momentum after the break."

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Krejci has goal, assist for Bruins in 3-2 win over Vegas

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Game # 52
 

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 3  

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 2
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 16 hours ago

BOSTON -- Down a goal entering the third period with a long layoff ahead, the 

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 rallied their way to a win before the All-Star break.

 

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 tied it early in the third period and 

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 got the go-ahead goal with 7:42 remaining, and the Bruins held on for a 3-2 victory over the 

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 on Tuesday night.

 

"We can enjoy the break a little bit more now," said Krejci, who had a goal and an assist in his return after missing two games with an upper-body injury.

 

Krejci also assisted on 

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's first goal of the season. 

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 stopped 27 shots and picked up an assist as Boston entered the All-Star break with a win following a 1-2-1 stretch.

 

With a bye week following this weekend's All-Star festivities, the Bruins don't have another game until Jan. 31.

The Bruins can relax -- at least a little -- during the extended break with a record of 29-10-12, alone in first place in the Atlantic Division.

 

"We know how we want to play. We know if we play good or bad," Krejci said. "At the end of the day, we've got 70 points. We're sitting on top of the division now, so obviously we're happy where we're at but we know that the (playoff) stretch is going to be the most important."

 

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 scored 1:24 into the game for Vegas and 

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 added his first career goal.

 

 

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 had two assists for the Golden Knights, who fell to 1-1-1 under new coach Peter DeBoer.

 

"There was some good tonight, but we weren't good enough overall to come in to a place like this and win," DeBoer said. "Boston's a team where you have to do everything right."

 

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 made 34 saves, helping the Knights successfully kill five power-play opportunities for the Bruins in the first two periods.

 

DeBrusk tied it on a wrist shot 4:26 into the third off a slick pass from Halak. Krejci then scored on his own rebound after tipping a point shot by 

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.

 

"They had the lead there and it seemed like they were pushing pretty good," DeBrusk said. "We understood that we just needed to tie the game and I thought we started off the third period actually really well."

 

Hague one-timed a slap shot off a pass from Schmidt for a power-play goal 10:59 into the second period to put the Golden Knights up 2-1.

 

"That's a goal scorer's goal. He's got an absolute bomb of a shot," Stone said.

 

Lauzon, recalled from Providence of the AHL earlier in the day, got his slap shot past Fleury 11:40 into the first period to tie it at 1.

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Tuch's tiebreaking goal lifts Vegas over Carolina 4-3

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Game # 53
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 4 Hurricanes Hockey Forum 3

By
Associated Press
Updated: 16 hours ago

RALEIGH, N.C. -- 

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 scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 2:28 remaining in the third period to lift the 

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 to a 4-3 win over the 

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 on Friday night.

 

The Hurricanes had tied the score with a goal by 

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 on a power play of their own just 70 seconds earlier. But Aho was called for a hooking penalty with 2:34 remaining, and the Golden Knights won a faceoff and scored the winning goal with just 6 seconds elapsed on the penalty.

 

"That was a key moment obviously at 3-3 where they had all the momentum, and I liked our response," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said.

 

"We got back on our toes, we started to attack, drew a penalty, scored on the power play. So big goal, big win, important start to the road trip."

 

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 had a goal and an assist in the opening 10 minutes as Vegas got off to a fast start after a nine-day layoff. 

 

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 and 

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 also scored for the Golden Knights. 

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 assisted on both first-period goals, and Vegas improved to 2-1-1 since DeBoer replaced the fired Gerard Gallant as coach.

 

Aho and 

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 each had a goal and one assist, and 

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 also scored for Carolina, which had won two in a row. 

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 made 33 saves as the Hurricanes overcame their slow start but couldn't finish.

 

"It's terrible," Hurricanes coach 

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 said. "It's not acceptable to play like that for two periods -- two and a half periods -- to be honest with you.

 

They were good, I give them a ton of credit. They played desperate, they played fast.

 

They did everything we said they were going to do and we just weren't ready to...match that, and that is what you get."

 

With both teams playing for the first time since Jan. 21, the Golden Knights looked fresh while the Hurricanes were sluggish in the opening period.

 

Vegas had 13 of the first 15 shots on goal, and Stastny opened the scoring by slamming home a goalmouth feed from Smith just 3:52 into the game.

 

Marchessault made it 2-0 at 9:59 when he caught Carolina flat-footed during a line change, received a pass from Smith just past the Hurricanes' blue line and wristed a shot into the net on Mrazek's glove side.

 

"It's a key time of year," Smith said. "I think we just came out with a little more jump than they did, and took advantage of the opportunity on a couple bounces that we were able to get in the first period."

 

Teravainen halved the deficit with the only goal of the second period when he converted the rebound of a miss by 

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.

 

Schmidt extended the Vegas lead to 3-1 in the third period before McGinn and Aho quickly answered to tie it. The crowd came to life as the home team suddenly had an opportunity to win after trailing for almost the entire game.

 

But the Golden Knights weren't rattled and struck back for the game-winner.

 

"Obviously at 3-1 in the third period, you want to close that game out," Marchessault said. "But they're a hard-working team. You've got to give credit to them. They came back, but good teams find a way to win. And we did."

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Fleury makes 19 saves, Golden Knights beat Predators 3-0

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Game # 54
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 3 Predators Hockey Forum 0
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 17 hours ago

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- 

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, 

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 and 

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 scored, 

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 made 19 saves and the 

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 beat the 

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 3-0 on Saturday night.

 

The Golden Knights have won two straight, including at Carolina on Friday night. Vegas held Nashville to its lowest shots on goal total of the season at 19 and ended the Predators' two-game winning streak.

 

“I thought we were good, that was a really solid 60,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “We talked last night about building on the good things we did in last night’s game. I thought we did that tonight for 60 minutes. It started with our defensive play.”

 

Fleury finished his third shutout of the season and 59th in his career, breaking a tie with Nashville's 

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 and tying 

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 for 18th all-time. Rinne stopped 36 of 38 shots.

 

Prior to Saturday, Fleury last played Jan. 21.

 

“The first period was a little slow, especially coming off of the break,” Fleury said. “Sometimes it’s good to see a few shots to get into it to get the rhythm back. That’s how it was. I can’t complain. The guys were playing so good in front of me.”

 

Stephenson scored at 5:14 of the second period. In front of the Vegas bench, 

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 sent a pass to Stephenson to start a breakaway, and Stephenson beat Rinne high to the stick side.

 

Rinne kept Nashville close even as Vegas outshot the Predators 14-2 in the first period. Nashville went 16:32 between shots on goal. Shots were 15-6 in the Golden Knights' favor in the second period.

 

“Right now, the biggest thing is every game for us is playoffs,” Rinne said. “We’re battling for our lives and we’ve got to realize that it’s not going to be easy. But these games are massive.”

 

Nashville’s best scoring opportunity came with 6:48 remaining in the second when Rocco Grimaldi’s backhand wraparound attempt slid across the crease.

 

“There was not a lot of time and space and we didn’t fight for our time and space,” Nashville coach John Hynes said.

 

“When we did get out of our own zone and we went through the neutral zone and then we got in the offensive zone, our puck pressure wasn’t what it needed it to be as a five-man unit.”

 

Roy scored at 11:16 of the third on a rebound of a wrist shot from 

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 from the top of the right circle. Roy’s skates were on the goal line as he lifted the shot just underneath the crossbar. The goal was Roy’s third of the season.

 

“The angle was pretty tiny there, but it was a good shot from (Reaves),” Roy said. “I was lucky to get a goal there.”

 

Smith added an empty-net goal at 18:58 of the third.

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Stamkos leads Lightning to 4-2 win over Golden Knights

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Game # 55
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 2 Lightning Hockey Forum 4
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 7 hours ago

TAMPA, Fla. --

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 tipped in his 24th goal of the season in the third period and led the 

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 to a 4-2 win over the 

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 on Tuesday night.

 

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 made 28 saves and extended his streak of consecutive games without a regulation loss to 16 games, matching the franchise record set by 

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 in 2002-03.

 

“The record, that’s good, but a better place in the standings, even better,’’ said Vasilevskiy, who hasn’t lost a regulation game since Dec. 14 and helped the Lightning move in to second place in the Atlantic Division, seven points ahead of third-place Florida.

 

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 and 

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 also scored, and 

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 had two assists as Tampa Bay won its seventh consecutive home game, the second-longest active streak in the league. 

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 added an empty net goal with 44.7 seconds remaining.

 

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 and Willilam Carrier scored for Vegas, which lost for just the second time in regulation in six games under new head coach Peter DeBoer. 

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 finished with 13 saves.

 

Stamkos was in front of Fleury when Point wheeled around from the high slot and sent a shot on net that Stamkos deflected just inside the right post at 10:36, extending his scoring streak to seven games.

 

“I was hoping (Point) would just spin and fire it because I knew I had good position in front of the net,’’ Stamkos said. “Anytime you do tip it you (are trying) tip it but it doesn’t always happen, but it was nice to see that one go in.’’

 

Point opened the scoring with his 19th goal of the season, scoring on a wrist shot from between the circles at 10:57 of the first period. Carrier pulled Vegas even at 15:42.

 

He took a pass from 

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 and sent a wrist a shot past Vasilevskiy for his sixth goal of the season.

 

Tampa Bay regained the lead late in the period on a double deflection. Ondrej Palat’s shot first hit the blade of Anthony Cirelli’s stick and then the shaft of Johnson’s stick, finding the back of the net at 17:57.

 

Vegas failed to take advantage of three power-play chance in the second period as the league’s fourth ranked penalty kill unit limited the Golden Knights to one shot on goal and four total attempts during the 5:07 of total time with the man advantage.

 

“You come in here and you’ve got to do everything right,’’ DeBoer said. “You’ve got to win the special teams, you’ve got to be opportunistic, you’ve got to work hard and try to limit them.

 

We did a lot of those things, but there’s a reason their record is what it is. They don’t need a lot of looks to stick pucks in the net.”

 

Vegas scored a tying goal early in the third period as Stastny tipped a shot from 

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 and tucked it inside the left post at 3:47.

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Stone, Fleury lift Golden Knights over Panthers 7-2

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Game # 56
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 7  Panthers Hockey Forum 2
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 19 hours ago

SUNRISE, Fla. -- 

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 scored two goals and had three assists, 

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 recorded the 460th win of his career and the 

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 beat the 

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 7-2 on Thursday night.

 

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 had two goals and an assist, 

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 scored a goal and had an assist, and 

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 and 

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 each also scored goals.

 

Fleury stopped 23 shots to pass the 

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' 

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 for sole possession of fifth place on the NHL all-time list for victories.

 

Stone tied his career high with five points.

 

“He’s a good player every night, but that was another level tonight,” coach Peter DeBoer said. "Not just offensively, but defensively, too. I thought he was great.”

 

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 had a goal and an assist and 

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 also scored for the Panthers.

 

 

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 allowed six goals on 29 shots before being relieved by 

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 with 11:07 left in the third. Montembeault made nine saves. 

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 had two assists.

 

Leading 3-2, the Golden Knights put the game away with four goals in the third.

 

They stretched their lead to 4-2 when Schmidt’s shot from the blue line bounced off Bobrovsky and went into the net 17 seconds in.

Theodore scored a short-handed goal at 4:11 to make the score 5-2.

Marchessault’s goal at 8:53 made the score 6-2 and chased Bobrovsky.

 

Pacioretty’s second goal with 4:44 left made it 7-2.

 

“At the start of the third, we think we have a shot, then we give up a goal and it went downhill quickly after that. Not fun to watch,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said.

 

With the score tied at 1, Stone’s second goal gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead. Stone used some slick stickwork in the slot and put the puck high into the net at 1:49 of the second.

 

“That goal to start the third period really deflated their bench and gave us all the momentum to take over the game," Stone said.

Trocheck tied it at 2 on his wraparound goal at 11:52 of the second when he came from behind the net and tucked the puck just inside the post during a power-play.

 

“It’s a 2-2 game against one of the best teams in the league,” Trocheck said. “We come out that next shift, that’s one of the most important shifts of the game, we get outworked on that one.

 

Fourth goal, get outworked again. Fifth goal, bad play, penalty kill. Every goal we gave up, they outworked us.”

Vegas answered 26 seconds later on Pacioretty’s goal.

 

Pacioretty grabbed the puck in the slot and pounded it against Bobrovsky’s pads until it trickled through to make it 3-2.

Stone gave Vegas a 1-0 lead 2:15 when he grabbed a rebound in the low slot and poked the puck past Bobrovsky.

Hoffman tied it at 1 on his power-play goal. Trocheck passed from in front of the crease out to Hoffman in the right circle and his shot beat Fleury at 16:22 of the first.

 

Vegas challenged for goalie interference by Trocheck, but the goal stood.

 

Florida’s 

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 missed a penalty shot at 6:40 of the second. Fleury became the second goaltender to make at least 20 penalty shot saves, joining 

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 (29).

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Carolina tops Vegas in shootout, spoils DeBoer's home debut

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Game # 57
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 5 Hurricanes Hockey Forum 6 SO
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 16 hours ago

LAS VEGAS -- For a brief moment, after the jumbotron inside T-Mobile Arena played a highlight reel and 

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's name was announced the same way as when the forward starred for the 

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, the veteran got a bit emotional as an announced crowd of 18,417 gave him a standing ovation.

 

Then it was back to business.

 

Haula had a goal and an assist, 

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 and 

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 scored in the shootout, and the 

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 notched a 6-5 victory over Vegas on Saturday night.

 

"It felt good," Haula said. "The reception from the fans, obviously a big thank you to the Golden Knights making me feel welcome.

 

This will always hold such a special place in my heart."

 

Carolina erased a two-goal deficit twice in the third period, scoring four goals in the final frame.

 

"Games are a little crazy sometimes and just little sparks can get your team going," said Haula, who snapped a nine-game drought without a point.

 

"In the third there, I don't know what happened. We were a different team and we played well, we played how we want to play."

 

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, 

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, 

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 and 

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 scored in regulation for the Hurricanes. 

 

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 made 31 saves, including 12 in the third period, when the fireworks began.

 

With Vegas leading 3-1, Aho punched in a loose rebound from his initial shot, sneaking the puck between 

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 and the post.

 

Less than a minute later, Vegas' 

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 broke free on a breakaway and notched his second short-handed goal of the season to push Vegas back in front by two goals.

 

The lead wouldn't last, though, as Haula ignited the Hurricanes and triggered three unanswered goals before Vegas' 

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 tied it at 5-all with his first goal since Nov. 23.

 

Both teams had opportunities in overtime, particularly Carolina, when Svechnikov hit the crossbar and 

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 hit the post. With less than a minute remaining, Fleury stopped Aho on a breakaway, while Reimer stopped 

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's one-timer.

 

Carolina, playing its third road game in five nights, came back from a two-goal deficit for the second straight game, as it defeated Arizona 5-3 on Thursday after falling behind 2-0.

 

The win moved the Hurricanes into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 67 points, one point back of the 

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. Carolina will conclude a four-game road trip by riding a 5-2-1 win streak into Dallas on Tuesday.

 

"There's no quit in our team," said Aho, who has recorded a point in six straight games, including a goal in each of the last five. "They played really good (in the) first period and we were kind of off maybe.

 

But we went to work and we never stopped believing. And when we got the one, you could feel it on the bench we would get a second one and another one, and that's a good feeling to have."

 

The loss spoiled the home debut of Vegas coach Peter DeBoer, who was hired Jan. 15 and coached his first seven games with the Golden Knights on the road.

 

Vegas was also playing its first home game in 28 days after two four-game road trips that sandwiched the All-Star break and the team's midseason bye week.

 

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, 

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 and Theodore also scored for Vegas. Fleury made 29 saves.

 

The Golden Knights committed two costly penalties in the third period, and Carolina, which came in with the 12th-best road power play, scored both times.

 

Vegas, meanwhile, came in with the league's third-best home power play and went 0 for 2.

 

"Strange game," DeBoer said. "I was worried a little bit about the game coming off the road. I thought we really started well, I liked our first period. ...

 

I thought the second and third we didn't manage the game well. They pushed and we turned pucks over and took some penalties. Some uncharacteristic things.

 

We've been playing some real solid hockey for a while and the second and third, I thought, we were our own worst enemy."

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Fiala has goal, 2 assists, as Wild beat Golden Knights 4-0

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Game # 58
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 0 Wild Hockey Forum 4 
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 6 hours ago

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- 

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's potential has largely gone unfulfilled, a fast-skating, slick-handed forward with not nearly enough goals to match his skills.

 

He's only 23, though, and a recent landing on Minnesota's first line has helped bring out his best.

 

Fiala kept up his recent surge for Minnesota with a goal and two assists, and the Wild matched their season high with three power-play scores on the way to a 4-0 victory over the 

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 on Tuesday.

 

"I hope he can be like this every night. I mean, if he can, then great, he's come of age," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's just that right now, he's in a good place, and I don't want to bug him."

 

Fiala, who arrived in Minnesota around the trade deadline last season in a deal with Nashville for 

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, has five goals and five assists in the last five games.

 

"This year we're such a bigger family, closer to each other, like each other more," Fiala said. "It's more fun this season for sure to come to the rink."

 

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, 

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 and 

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 scored with the man advantage, giving the Wild an NHL-leading 15 power-play goals in 33 opportunities over their last 11 games.

 

Parise has six during that span, also the most in the league. The majority of those contests have been at home, where Minnesota has the third-best power-play conversion rate in the NHL (27 for 93) at 29%.

 

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 stopped 26 shots for his third shutout of the season, making him 12-5-3 in his last 20 decisions as he keeps pushing to become the team's top goalie.

 

The Golden Knights had 12 goals in their previous two games.

 

"They were just hungrier than we were around our net," coach Peter DeBoer said.

 

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, making his 10th start in the Vegas net in the last 11 games, was pulled after stopping 16 shots through two periods. 

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 relieved him.

 

The Wild went on their first power play just 3:37 into the game. 

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's shot glanced off the right post and rolled along the goal line behind Fleury before 

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 knocked it away.

 

The crowd roared as if the puck had crossed over, but no replay review was initiated.

 

With some players believing they'd scored, 

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 started a breakaway for the Golden Knights that Stalock denied with a backhanded save.

 

Unfazed, the Wild took the lead with seven seconds remaining on the man advantage when Eriksson Ek knocked in his first career power-play goal.

 

"I think everybody in the building could see that we weren't ready to play tonight," Smith said. "We've got to change that and change that quick."

 

Spurgeon scored about seven minutes later, swooping in for a rebound of a shot by Fiala. The Golden Knights have given up a whopping 62 first-period goals this season in 58 games.

 

Fiala, who tied 

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 and the just-traded 

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 for third on the team with 14 goals this season, matched his career high with three points while playing with Staal and Parise.

 

Zucker was dealt on Monday to Pittsburgh for left wing 

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, a prospect and a draft pick, but the Wild didn't flinch and won for the seventh time in 10 games.

 

The Golden Knights entered the night in control of third place in the Pacific Division, but they're now just four points ahead of Wild, who have played two fewer games than them in the crowded Western Conference wild-card race.

 

Despite dealing the productive Zucker, general manager 

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 said he still expects the Wild to contend to the end for the playoffs.

 

"Not only a locker room-favorite guy, but a community and city and a state favorite got sent out of here," Stalock said.

 

"That kind of sends a little wave through the locker room. I think we know we have almost like a deadline. We need to prove that we want it."

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Marchessault's OT goal lifts Golden Knights past Blues 6-5

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Game # 59
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 6 Blues Hockey Forum 5 OT
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 13 hours ago

LAS VEGAS -- 

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 had the best game of his young NHL career -- even if his thoughts were understandably far from the ice.

 

Sanford scored four goals in St. Louis' 6-5 overtime loss to Las Vegas on Thursday night, the Blues' first game since teammate 

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 collapsed from a cardiac episode on the bench during a game earlier in the week.

 

Emotions ran deep for Sanford, St. Louis' 25-year-old first-line wing whose father died of a heart attack in 2018 and was missing from the Blues' annual father's trip.

 

His big scoring performance helped get everyone's minds back on hockey a bit, even in defeat.

 

"I didn't know how they would come in after going through something like that," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said.

 

“That's something that's traumatic. It's traumatic watching it as an outsider, I can't imagine being there. I give them a lot of credit, I thought they came out and they were ready to play.

 

"They didn't look distracted and they really played a good game considering the circumstances.”

 

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's power-play goal in overtime lifted the Golden Knights to the victory as Vegas tied a franchise record with four goals with the man-advantage -- including two by Marchessault and one each by 

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 and 

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.

 

Pacioretty also had an even-strength goal, as did 

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. 

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, making just his third start in 2020, made 19 saves for Vegas.

 

"The crowd was awesome for us," Marchessault said. "We wanted to get them on our side again. We owed them a couple of wins there. It’s good to get the first one."

 

But on a night the Golden Knights notched a much-needed win after being shut out in Minnesota on Tuesday, improved to 5-3-2 under DeBoer and continued to fight for a playoff spot in the jam-packed Pacific Division, thoughts were heavy.

 

The Blues' game Tuesday night against Anaheim was postponed after the 36-year-old Bouwmeester collapsed on the team's bench in the first period.

 

A defibrillator was used on the veteran defenseman before he was taken to a hospital, where he continues to undergo tests.

 

St. Louis, mired in a 2-6-2 slide, hit the ice for the first time since the scary incident and got off to a fast start with their teammate on their minds.

 

Sanford opened the scoring just 25 seconds into the game when he fired a shot from the circle that beat Subban.

 

Sanford's father Michael died in his sleep in 2018 and never got to see his son play in an NHL regular-season game in person.

 

And the only father's trip Michael Sanford was able to attend, his son was recovering from a dislocated shoulder in 2017.

 

Sanford's lifelong friend from New Hampshire, Brett Glendye, is on the trip.

 

"I'm glad he could be here and enjoy this with me and thanks to him for coming out," said Sanford, who now has 13 points in his last nine games.

 

"Obviously I'd really want to have (my dad) here. I think he was watching over tonight and maybe helping out a little bit, too."

 

After Sanford's first goal, the Golden Knights fired right back as Pacioretty scored back-to-back goals to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.

 

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 also scored for St. Louis and 

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 made 46 saves. Binnington came in 2-0-0 against the Golden Knights and had allowed just three goals in two starts against them.

 

It marked the 10th straight game the Blues allowed three or more goals, and seventh time in that span they allowed four or more.

 

St. Louis ranked fourth in the NHL in goals-against through Jan. 13, allowing just 2.60 goals per game. In the 10 games since then, the Blues rank 31st in the league, allowing 3.82 goals per contest.

 

The Golden Knights were just 3 for 26 on the power play in their first nine games under DeBoer, but finished 4 for 5 on Thursday night.

 

"That was a tough one, especially having the lead multiple times," St. Louis alternate captain 

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 said.

 

"Got to find a way to shut the door.

 

It was tough. Some things we did well, but we didn't play a great game, we gave up way too much.

 

I don't think the calls went our way a lot. I don't think it was officiated great tonight, but still they had some good bounces on the penalty kill and on their power play gave them confidence. It killed us."

Edited by Brewin Flames

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Fleury gets 60th career shutout, Vegas blanks Islanders 1-0

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Game # 60
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 1 Islanders Hockey Forum 0
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 14 hours ago

LAS VEGAS -- 

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 defenseman 

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 said he missed the gold goalie pads 

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 was set to sign and let the team auction off for charity.

 

For the past couple of weeks, he had been pushing the veteran goaltender to dust them off.

 

"Schmidty talked to me about it, so I found them in the closet; there's (been) a lot of goals scored lately, so I said might as well bring them out and see what they can do," Fleury said.

 

All they did was help Fleury get his 60th career shutout as 

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 scored late in the second period, and the Golden Knights beat the 

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 1-0 on Saturday night.

 

"About time, right?" said Fleury, who improved to 26-11-6 with five shutouts in his career against the Islanders.

 

"I don't know if it was the gold pads, but I think my teammates played awesome. They had the puck a lot ... (and) when they were in our zone they defended well."

 

The wins are the third-most against any opponents for Fleury, while the shutouts are tied for second-most.

 

Fleury's fourth shutout this season helped Vegas keep pace with Edmonton for second in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

 

However, the Oilers, who beat Florida 4-1 on Saturday, have two games in hand and face the Golden Knights three more times this season.

 

"I think a lot of guys stepped up defensively; I think we had a lot of key blocked shots, especially on the (penalty-kill), I thought we really limited that," Vegas defenseman 

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 said.

 

"Things are coming down pretty tight in the standings and guys are really stepping up, guys are getting in the lanes. (Fleury's) been playing great back there and that's always nice to have."

 

Vegas is now 6-3-2 since coach Pete DeBoer replaced the fired Gerard Gallant on Jan. 15.

 

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 finished with 42 saves for the Islanders, who were shut out for the second straight game after being blanked in Nashville 5-0 on Thursday.

 

New York is clinging to third place in the Metropolitan Division, just one point in front of Columbus and Philadelphia.

 

Until Smith's goal with 34 seconds left in the second, the most exciting moment took place just 3 seconds into the game when fourth-line bruisers 

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 and 

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 dropped gloves at the opening puck drop and sent the announced crowd of 18,444 into a frenzy before the first shot on goal.

 

Johnston and Reaves traded several haymakers to the delight of a sold-out crowd. Reaves said the two agreed to fight specifically because British heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury was at the game.

 

"He asked me to go, I said, 'well let me go run somebody first' and he goes 'no Fury's here' and I was like 'yeah that's true, we'll do it," Reaves said.

 

"I like to get one shift in me, but it's alright. Those are fun ones, especially a big boy like that."

 

With Vegas fighting for a playoff spot, the Golden Knights' motivation exponentially increased after the scoreless and physical first period that included two fights and a combined 25 hits.

 

The second period didn't match the physicality, but did include a highlight save when Vegas' 

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 fired a backhand at what appeared to be a wide-open net, but his shot was stymied by Varlamov, who got his blade over in time to keep the game scoreless until Smith's 22nd goal of the season gave Vegas momentum for the third period.

 

After giving up five goals to the St. Louis on Thursday, when the Golden Knights allowed several second and third shots on 

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, they did a much better job in keeping New York's opportunities limited.

 

"We talked about giving up five even-strength goals last game," DeBoer said. "We wanted to clean that up. Coming down the stretch, playing playoff hockey, you have to win 1-0, 2-0."

 

Vegas, which leads the NHL in shots per game with a nightly average of 34.6, outshot the Islanders 43-19.

 

"We needed more chances," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "But you're not going to get any chances when you spend the whole second period in our end."

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Vegas beats Caps for 3rd straight win; Ovi stuck on 698

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Game # 61
 
Golden Knights Hockey Forum 3 Capitals Hockey Forum 2
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 8 hours ago

LAS VEGAS -- 

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 looked out at 

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 and the 

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, and the veteran goalie had just one thought regarding Ovie's bid for a historic goal.

 

"Not today, not today," Fleury said.

 

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 scored his team-high 27th goal, Fleury made 24 saves and the 

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 beat Washington 3-2 Monday night.

 

Ovechkin remained stuck on 698 career goals after being held without a point for the fifth consecutive game, his longest drought of the season.

 

Ovechkin has 24 career goals against Fleury, tied for the most he's scored against a single goaltender in his career, along with the 

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' 

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.

 

"I'm sure he'll get it soon," said Fleury, who earned his 462nd win to move three victories ahead of Lundqvist for fifth on the career list.

 

"I'm just happy I'm not gonna be the goalie on SportsCenter, 48 times showing that goal."

 

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 and 

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 also scored for the Golden Knights.

 

It was Vegas' third straight victory, including two over the last two Stanley Cup champions. The Golden Knights also improved to 7-3-2 since coach Pete DeBoer took over for Gerard Gallant, who was fired on Jan. 15.

 

When DeBoer took over, he said there would be non-negotiables he wanted to see from the Golden Knights, including a commitment to playing 200-feet of hockey nightly, making the extra effort to block shots, defending well and keeping pressure on opposing goalies.

 

Under DeBoer, the Golden Knights came into the game ranked No. 1 in the NHL with 37.2 shots and 26.6 shots allowed per game, fourth with 102 takeaways and seventh with 3.45 goals per game.

 

"We're real close, there's always an adjustment period," DeBoer said. "I think these guys have really embraced what we're asking them to do and they're getting rewarded for it, which helps speed up the process.

 

"I like how we're defending. I think we're going to be able to score goals. I don't think that's going to be an issue. If we can defend well and Flower plays the way he's played we got a chance to win every night."

 

The Capitals have lost four of five and are on the brink of dropping to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Vegas moved into a first-place Pacific Division tie with Edmonton, which has two games in hand and faces the Golden Knights three more times this season.

 

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 scored both goals for Washington in the third period. 

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 made 26 saves.

 

It marked the sixth straight game the Capitals allowed the first goal.

 

"You can't say one word or write something on the board that will kind of get that going," Oshie said. "That has got to be the guys in the room here ... all the leaders. It's on us to have the boys ready and prepared to go."

 

Vegas got on the board in the opening minutes of the game when Holden tipped a pass from 

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 for his fifth goal of the season.

 

Smith made it 2-0 later in the period when he sliced into the slot and chipped in 

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's pass over Holtby's shoulder. Pacioretty made it 3-0 when his one-timer slipped under 

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 and past Holtby.

 

Oshie ruined Fleury's bid for a second-straight shutout when his wrist shot from the right circle went far side, top shelf of the 11:13 mark of the third period.

 

Two minutes later, Oshie cut the deficit to one goal when his blistering one-timer on the power play put the Capitals back in the game.

 

But Vegas' defense was stellar down the stretch, as Fleury stopped five shots and his teammates blocked four others after Oshie's second goal.

 

"I think we're playing really good defensively, maybe it's our best defensive games all year over the last week or so," Smith said. "We're limiting teams to around 20 shots, or under 20 shots over the last two weeks.

 

We've done a great job keeping pucks to the outside and limiting teams to second opportunities.

 

"It's great for our team, it takes an effort and everyone to buy in."

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Vegas stops Tampa Bay's 11-game streak with 5-3 win

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Game # 62
 
Golden Knights Hockey ForumLightning Hockey Forum 3
 
 

By
Associated Press
Updated: 6 hours ago
 

LAS VEGAS -- Hours before making his Vegas debut, 

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 sat on the team bench, gazing onto a clean sheet of ice while collecting his thoughts inside an empty T-Mobile Arena, a place he called the loudest venue in the NHL.

 

The crowd of 18,376 roared when he was announced in the starting lineup.

 

"It's obvious I was pretty emotional at the beginning there, feeding off the fans," the veteran defenseman said. "I had to tell myself to settle down a little bit."

 

Martinez settled in nicely with a goal and an assist, and the Golden Knights stopped Tampa Bay's 11-game win streak with a 5-3 victory over the Lightning on Thursday night.

 

It marked the first time in 23 games Tampa Bay allowed more than three goals and the fourth time in seven games Vegas scored five or more.

 

"It's pretty incredible to be able to play with a hockey club of this caliber. I kept saying on the bench 'This is a fun group to play with," said Martinez, who was acquired in a trade with Los Angeles on Wednesday.

 

"It's a little different when you're on the same side, you kind of take notice at certain things that maybe you wouldn't when you're, obviously, on the other end of things."

 

Martinez tied the game late in the first period, delighting the electric crowd. It was Martinez's second goal of the season; he also scored at Vegas on Jan. 9.

 

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, 

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, 

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 and 

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 also scored for the Golden Knights. 

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 made 24 saves while improving to 21-13-4 against Tampa Bay.

 

Vegas earned its fourth straight win and improved to 8-3-2 under coach Pete DeBoer, who took over for the fired Gerard Gallant on Jan. 15.

 

The win pushed the Golden Knights into first place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of Edmonton.

 

Vegas' streak also includes victories over playoff contenders St. Louis, Washington and the 

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.

 

"That should give the group confidence because everyone's playing really good hockey right now," Pacioretty said. "When you look at the process, it's been there for the most part.

 

We've given ourselves an opportunity to be in the hunt down the stretch, and this is the hard time of year."

 

Under DeBoer, the Golden Knights rank first in the NHL with 36.2 shots per game and 26.7 shots allowed, fourth with 3.54 goals per game, and 12th in allowing 2.85 goals per game.

 

"I think our group is starting to believe in each other and playing with some confidence," DeBoer said. "It was a good team win for us."

 

Especially coming against 

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, who hadn't lost in regulation since Dec. 14 against Washington. Vasilevskiy, who entered with a franchise-record point streak of 21 games (19-0-2), stopped 28 shots.

 

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 had two goals for Tampa Bay, and 

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 also scored.

 

Tampa Bay jumped in front when Shattenkirk's blind pass deflected off Vegas defenseman 

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's skate and past Fleury 7:02 into the first. Martinez's one-timer tied the game, and Stastny got the lead for Vegas when he deflected 

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's shot to the far side early in the second period.

 

Stamkos answered on the power play with a one-timer over Fleury's stick, but Martinez helped Vegas take the lead for good about a minute later.

 

Martinez started an odd-man rush when he poke-checked the puck from Tampa Bay's 

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 at the blue line. Pacioretty raced into the zone and fed Stone, who deked Vasilevskiy with a forehand-to-backhand maneuver.

 

"We didn't manage the puck and to give them a breakaway to a pretty darned good player, that's the stuff we hadn't been doing in the run we're on," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "And obviously the first minute of the third was the backbreaker for us."

 

Vegas added a pair of goals less than a minute into the third. Reaves blocked a pass from Coburn, skated into the zone and blasted a shot past Vasilevskiy 10 seconds into the period. Pacioretty pushed the lead to three with his 28th goal.

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      Good game against the Kings...  Will be interesting once Nate can return - which from the sounds of it - is going to be very soon...
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      Very entertaining game! Goalie duel all the way and just when I think Robin Lehner of the Blackhawks was gonna pull off the shut out, the Knights tie it, send it into OT, then of course they win in the SO. I thought the Chicago goalie deserved better, but hey, kudos to MAF and his Knights....those guys just find ways to win games whether their offense is on or not.

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