The Vegas Golden Knights continued their winning ways against the Vancouver Canucks Friday, beating their division rival, 6-3. Despite three goals against, Marc-Andre Fleury had a tremendous game, stopping 30-of-33 shots for a .909 save percentage.
Tomas Hyka kicked off the scoring in the first period with his first NHL goal. From there, William Karlsson came up big with the next two goals, Jonathan Marchessault had the game-winner, Tomas Nosek ended the second period on a hot note and David Perron "scored" an own-goal from Vancouver. He'll take that one. Reilly Smith also assisted on three of Vegas’ six goals. After tonight, every player who has played for the Golden Knights this season has registered at least one point.
The Knights got point No. 86 on the season in this win as well. However, Nosek swapped spots with Erik Haula midway through the game, which may be something to watch in the coming days.
Another thing to watch: Luca Sbisa was scored on twice at even strength and then took a penalty. This wasn't his first bad game back from injury, either. With Brad Hunt available and Shea Theodore likely returning soon, the Knights may look elsewhere for defense in the coming games.
Hyka scored a goal he became known for with the Chicago Wolves in the first part of this season:
That's one way to score your first NHL goal! pic.twitter.com/zeQHga5Kqo— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) February 24, 2018
He takes the original shot, then, as Cody Eakin keeps the play alive, Hyka comes back for the rebound. He gets around the net, without taking a stride. Without a single stride. He does it with speed, as well. Hyka’s first goal is something special, which makes sense, considering he's something special.
Unfortunately, Vancouver did this in short order:
Canucks take advantage of a neutral zone turnover to tie the game up. It's 1-1. pic.twitter.com/jm5OmfLwIt— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) February 24, 2018
First one, Sbisa takes himself out of the play by throwing himself to the ground. While it's clear he's trying to break up the pass, he gets nowhere close. Brayden McNabb isn't able to get back to help break up the play because he wasn't expecting Sbisa to, well, throw himself on the ground.
The second one, Sbisa should throw himself on the ice to block the shot, but he doesn't. This one can also be blamed more on Haula's reaction speed, so I'm less tempted to blame Sbisa. Still, it's interesting that in both 5-on-5 goals against, Sbisa is one of the two defensemen on the ice.
Luckily, Karlsson starts his scoring and ends the first period with this goal:
That's a dirty snipe and a momentum swinger. Smith behind the net has Anders Nilsson‘s attention, and Karlsson gets no attention from the defense, setting up for a crisp chance for the centerman. That's not what Vancouver wants, but that's what Vancouver gets, and they're effectively out of the game after this goal.
After Karlsson sends a chance set up by Smith and Marchessault through Nilsson, Marchessault cleans another one up:
Alex Tuch gets the puck back in from the corner, and Karlsson gets a scoring chance. Nilsson makes the save, but doesn't collect the puck, which bounces out to Marchessault who tucks it into an empty net. That's a combination of puck luck and skill, and that's what the Knights have become known for.
After Nosek crashes the net hard and gets another shot through Nilsson, this happens:
The Canucks just scored on themselves pic.twitter.com/EkDpMkIbkf— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) February 24, 2018
Perron gets credit? I guess? For what is entirely a Vancouver mistake. The Canucks don't complete a pass, and as a result, the puck goes from the Knights' circle all the way to the Canucks' net. This was really fun, especially once the Knights got past the first period. For reference, here's puck possession during the game:
The Knights don't separate themselves until the second period, after giving up possession at the end of the first. Fleury stepped up big.
The Golden Knights finish this seven-game homestand with a 5-2-0 record and will look to take that momentum into an home-and-home back-to-back with the Los Angeles Kings starting Monday. Hopefully one or both of Theodore or James Neal will be healthy enough to get back in on the fun the Knights are having.