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Golden Knights 4, Kings 1: Vegas’ three-goal second period leads to victory

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The middle frame included two goals in 86 seconds.

Los Angeles Kings v Vegas Golden Knights
Zach Whitecloud and Tomas Nosek of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrate after Nosek’s goal against the Los Angeles Kings
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Monday at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights have taken four of the first five games from the Kings so far this season.

Jonathan Marchessault picked up two assists in the game. No other Golden Knight had more than one point.

The Golden Knights started the game slowly, as the Kings dominated the puck early in the first period — at one point outshooting Vegas 11-3. Los Angeles was able to build momentum after scoring the first goal as a Matt Roy shot from the blue line found twine after a faceoff. The Golden Knights had a 38 percent faceoff percentage in their last game against the Colorado Avalanche and 41 percent in this one.

The Golden Knights eventually came alive before the end of the first but wouldn’t score a goal in that opening period. They did, however, tie up shot attempts and take the advantage in expected goals by the end of the first period.

The first time Vegas’ offense truly clicked was on its first power-play opportunity. Reilly Smith broke an eight-game streak without a point as he scored the first goal for Vegas:

With an assist on the play, Mark Stone remains tied with Connor McDavid for most points in the NHL in the month of March. Vegas’ power play had five shots and 0.82 expected goals in 4:56 in this game. The Knights generated four high-danger chances and 11 shot attempts.

Tomas Nosek scored on a Zach Whitecloud rebound to give the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead before the end of the second period. It was Nosek’s seventh point in his last seven games.

Vegas’ fourth line continues to dominate the Kings in terms of quality. They generated 0.66 expected goals to 0.19 against in 7:40 at 5-on-5 in this game. They created three high-danger chances and allowed just one.

Nicolas Hague scored 86 seconds after Nosek’s goal to extend the lead.

An aggressive forecheck saw Marchessault eventually collect the puck. Marchessault saw Hague in the crease, fed the defenseman the puck, and the former CHL defenseman of the year fired the puck in.

Hague and Whitecloud also remain dominant as a pairing; they allowed just 0.14 expected goals against at 5-on-5 in this game. Each scored not just a point but a primary point in the effort.

Alec Martinez followed up a rebound from Keegan Kolesar to make the score 4-1 in the lightning-fast third period. Martinez’s fifth goal of the season ties him with Shea Theodore for the most among Golden Knights defensemen this season.

Theodore got an assist on Martinez’s goal, his 21st of the season.

Robin Lehner improved to six straight wins against the Kings. After being held out of both games against the Avalanche, Lehner won the first game of the set for the Knights. He made 24 saves on 25 shots after letting in the first shot of the game. He saved 1.68 goals above expected and made nine stops on 10 high-danger shots.

The Golden Knights’ bottom six lines were their best on Monday. Not only was the aforementioned fourth line solid, the third line took eight shots and allowed one at 5-on-5. They allowed just 0.01 expected goals against and generated 1.0. The Golden Knights got their depth producers to step up against the Kings, and that led to the victory.

The Golden Knights’ shorthanded units were nearly perfect in six minutes. They allowed just one high-danger chance and generated 0.07 expected goals to 0.28 against. The biggest note about Vegas’ penalty kill is that it took one shot and allowed one shot.

The Golden Knights improved to six straight wins at home, their longest home winning streak in two years.

The win helps Vegas remain in first place in the West Division by one point, as the Avalanche also won on Monday.

The Golden Knights face the Kings again at 7 p.m. Wednesday.