The Vegas Golden Knights are coming off an impressive 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings at the T-Mobile Arena. Still trailing the Kings by one point in the Pacific standings, though (with two games in hand), a win against the Anaheim Ducks would potentially propel Vegas to the top of the division.
There’s only one problem — they had to play the Ducks at the Honda Center.
Vegas’ dominance at home has been well documented. And, granted, an 8-1-0 record at the T-Mobile Arena is nothing to dismiss. But the Golden Knights’ 4-5-1 record on the road is certainly nothing to gloat about. For Vegas to truly be regarded as one of the top teams in the Western Conference, they’d have to prove they’re capable of winning on the road.
And that’s exactly what they did against Anaheim.
The Golden Knights came out firing on all cylinders in the contest’s first 20 minutes. Vegas dominated Anaheim with 20 shots on goal and made things easy for netminder Maxime Lagace, who only faced seven shots in the first period. But as things would turn out, it was the Ducks who would get on the board first, thanks to an unbelievable effort from defenseman Josh Manson near the 10-minute mark of the period.
While the Golden Knights had their fair share of quality scoring chances, Ducks netminder John Gibson simply couldn’t be beaten early on, which proved to be Vegas’ biggest obstacle all evening.
The story remained much the same for the majority of the middle period as well. Once again, the Golden Knights outshot Anaheim (12-5) in the second 20 minutes of play, but the Ducks still managed to make the most out of the few shots they were able to put on net. Derek Grant registered his fifth goal of the season on the man advantage after Brayden McNabb was sent to the box to give Anaheim a comfortable two-goal lead.
However, the Golden Knights were finally able to solve Gibson on a power play tally of their own. With under a minute remaining in the second period, David Perron found a wide open Jonathan Marchessault, who made no mistake getting the Golden Knights on the board. Shea Theodore, who spent the last two seasons as property of the Ducks, earned a secondary assist on Marchessault’s tally.
All of a sudden, the momentum had shifted back in Vegas’ favor. A less-than-routine win on the road was once again in reach for the Golden Knights. In the third period, Vegas’ luck finally started to even out. Just over two minutes into the final third, Colin Miller got one past Gibson, thanks in large part to a screen by Erik Haula.
Later, it was James Neal finding twine with a greasy goal from the slot to give the Golden Knights their first lead of the game.
Then, the icing on the cake, William Karlsson registered his 10th goal of the season to give the Golden Knights a 4-2 lead in the waning minutes of the contest.
With their win over the Ducks, the Golden Knights now sit atop the Pacific Division with 27 points in just 20 games. Despite their season-long struggles on the road, the Golden Knights looked as dominant against the Ducks as they have in any game they’ve played thus far, which is certainly a step in the right direction for a team (surprisingly) in pursuit of a playoff spot.
Vegas’ next game will take place Friday against the San Jose Sharks at the T-Mobile Arena. Stay with Knights On Ice for more news and notes on the Golden Knights.