That’s five in a row for the Vegas Golden Knights. This one wasn’t the easiest in that stretch.
From a 3-1 lead that quickly turned 3-3, the Golden Knights appeared to be on the verge of letting one squander away. Then, William Karlsson worked his magic, via the shorthanded variety.
Karlsson scored the game-winning shorthanded goal with 6:25 remaining in regulation to give the Golden Knights a 4-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Thursday. Vegas is now 14-12-1 with their fourth division win in five games — lest we forget the thrashing in Calgary that may turn out to be the turning point of this season.
The Golden Knights were a man down at 11:52 of the third period after Alex Tuch was called for interference. Reilly Smith forced a turnover in the neutral zone, maintained possession along the left side and had a 2-on-1 with Wild Bill. With a bit of patience by Smith, along with some terrible awareness to get back on defense by the Canucks, 19 found 71 for the winner.
It’s Karlsson’s third straight game with a goal. Look who’s catching fire all of a sudden.
Smith’s outstanding helper offset the fact he was the primary reason for Vancouver tying the game at 8:48 of the third period. Brock Boeser scored his second goal of the game after getting away from Smith and getting enough of the puck off Marc-Andre Fleury’s skate for the score.
Boeser didn’t play in the first meeting on Oct. 24 in Vegas, nor did Elias Pettersson. Those two combined for the play of the game at 9:46 of the first period. The electrifying rookie forced a turnover on Brayden McNabb and was tripped by Nate Schmidt when he had a chance in front. While going to the ground, Pettersson suddenly developed eyes in the back of his head, found a cutting Boeser down the middle and beat Fleury top shelf for the 1-0 lead.
But the Golden Knights responded the only way they could — the fourth line, of course. William Carrier scored his fifth goal of the season, tying a career-high, at 14 minutes of the first period off a rebound from Ryan Reaves, tying it 1-1.
Boeser scores goals, Pettersson is a magician, and the Golden Knights nearly blew a 3-1 lead. There’s your synopsis if we’re completely ignoring the human torch that is Max Pacioretty.
The hottest player on the Golden Knights extended his point streak to seven games with a power-play goal at 3:05 of the second period to give Vegas a 2-1 lead. But 67 wasn’t done. He recorded his third multigoal game in the past five with his 10th of the year at 1:13 of the third period to make it 3-1. The play started with Tuch on the forecheck, somehow finding the presence of mind to drop it off to Cody Eakin, who left it to Pacioretty for the blast.
This is just ridiculous work from Alex Tuch. Fights off the defender, one-hand passes it to Eakin, who then feeds Pacioretty for the goal. My god. pic.twitter.com/baWNORM3YB— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 30, 2018
Your daily update on how good the second line is: Pacioretty has nine points during his seven-game point streak (eight goals, two assists); Tuch has a five-game point streak (three goals, five assists); and Eakin has points in four of the past five games.
Max Pacioretty is now tied with Jonathan Marchessault for the team lead with 10 goals. What a time.
Alex Edler scored a minute after Pacioretty’s second goal, at 2:50, to make it 3-2.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for his sixth consecutive victory in net; his 417th in the NHL. He’s now six behind Tony Esposito for ninth on the League’s all-time list. Now, for those wanting Malcolm Subban in net, this was honestly the game to do it. Vancouver has now lost 10 of its past 11. They’re not the worldbeaters they appeared to be back in October.
That said, Fleury still did insane things that would not make you believe he’s tired.
Fleury loses his stick and makes a nice pad save to keep the game scoreless. pic.twitter.com/Sl6A6FZWP9— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 30, 2018
But math tells us that after back-to-back shutouts, Fleury has allowed three goals in consecutive games. To be fair, the goals (at least the first two) weren’t his fault. If he feels good for Saturday, he’ll be your expected starter Saturday in Edmonton.
At that time, the Golden Knights will look to extend their winning streak to six and inch closer to the Pacific Division lead. Dare I mention that the Golden Knights have a chance to go back home on Dec. 4 with a six-game winning streak ... against the Capitals?
We’ll get there. For now, the Golden Knights keep winning. Thursday might not have been pretty, but with a division this bad, take wins any way you can get them.
Enter Lou Bega reference here.