In an incredibly tight game against the Dallas Stars, the Vegas Golden Knights were able to pull out a 2-1 win, bringing their record to 7-1-0 in the last eight games.
The Knights (39-27-5) were the beneficiaries of excellent goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 40 saves on 41 shots. The only shot that beat him came off the stick of Dallas rookie Roope Hintz, who scored for the third straight game and the second straight game between these two teams. However, Max Pacioretty and Ryan Reaves lit the lamp as the Knights doubled up the Stars.
In a game that didn’t feature many goals, there were certainly a lot of penalties. But Vegas’ stellar work on the penalty kill ended up being a huge factor in the win as it stepped up to kill off five penalties throughout the night.
Further, the Knights allowed just two shots on the penalty kill, zero from the high-danger area, which is what led to the tremendous success.
While that’s great work done by the shorthanded units, spending 10 minutes on the penalty kill is definitely something the Knights need to avoid in the future.
However, the Vegas power play could have been a good deal better in this game. The Knights got just two opportunities on the man advantage, and they went without a shot on the first.
Though this was Vegas’ first game since Sunday, the Knights got off to a quick start as Pacioretty gave Vegas a 1-0 lead on Vegas’ first shot of the game, just 18 seconds into the contest. It was the fastest goal to open a road game in franchise history.
Beautiful release from Patches. pic.twitter.com/9dnNv4wonP— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 16, 2019
But Dallas evened things just up a few minutes later when Hintz took advantage of a sloppy and careless turnover by Deryk Engelland in his own zone.
This basically sums it up:
Yikes. pic.twitter.com/CNt2DPXC2H— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 16, 2019
The second period featured the first career penalty shot for William Karlsson, though it was thwarted by Dallas netminder Anton Khudobin, who made 35 saves in the losing effort.
Aaaaaand he's denied. pic.twitter.com/HdahGoH0Vb— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 16, 2019
Reaves put Vegas a back on top when he grabbed what turned out to be the game-winning goal just 2:37 into the third period. The tally ended a 25-game goalless streak for Reaves, who also snapped a seven-game pointless streak.
In addition to scoring the game-winning goal, the fourth line had a strong game overall, managing an 85.71 percent Corsi and 87.5 percent shot share.
However, even apart from Pacioretty’s quick-strike goal, the second line was Vegas’ best throughout this game. The trio of Mark Stone, Paul Stastny and Pacioretty teamed up for the Knights’ first tally but also had an 85 percent Corsi and 77.78 percent shot share at 5-on-5.
Both lines are important for driving play, though, and they achieved that aim in this game.
The team itself dominated possession with a 55.88 percent Corsi and 52.73 percent shot share but lost the high-danger battle, as the Knights allowed 12 high-danger chances and generated just nine at 5-on-5. Fortunately for Vegas, Fleury made 11 stops on those 12 chances and stopped all 16 shots he faced in the final frame.
This win could get Vegas back on track after a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Calgary Flames on Sunday. Considering Vegas’ last victory over the Stars (Feb. 26) was the start of a six-game winning streak, the Knights are hopeful tonight’s win will lead to similar results.
Vegas currently sits six points ahead of the Arizona Coyotes and 10 points behind the Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division standings, so a string of wins in the coming games could certainly provide some breathing room.
Vegas will head home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.