The Vegas Golden Knights completed the weekend series sweep with a 5-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center Sunday afternoon. The Knights finished their four-game road trip with four wins, and the Knights have now won six games in a row for the second time this season.
The two points move Vegas into a first-place tie with Colorado atop the West Division standings, though Colorado has the edge in points percentage.
The Knights now have more wins (31) than any other team in the league.
Today’s contest wasn’t quite the dominant effort Vegas displayed in Friday’s game, but it was another strong team-wide effort by the Knights, who continue to find ways to win.
Marc-Andre Fleury was back in the crease and was stellar once again, stopping 33 of 35 shots for a .943 save percentage.
The Knights weren’t at their best, especially early on, but Vegas capitalized on scoring opportunities and ultimately outscored Anaheim 2-1 in each of the first two periods, adding an empty-net goal late in the third to seal the win. Vegas has now won six of seven games against the Ducks this season.
The Ducks came very close to opening the scoring early on, but Mark Stone kept the puck from crossing the goal line.
thaaaaaaat was close pic.twitter.com/bIRspHuDIp— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 18, 2021
The Knights built on that good fortune and quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Max Pacioretty scored his 22nd of the season just 3:25 into the game. Pacioretty scored on a deflection off a point shot by Alec Martinez.
But the Ducks put up much more of a fight in the first period than they did in Friday’s contest, and Vegas’ familiar foe evened things up just under six minutes later.
Max Comtois has been excellent against Vegas all year, but this time he had the benefit of cashing in on a 4-on-1.
An untimely pinch and a subsequent missed pass by Alex Pietrangelo set up the odd-man rush. Pietrangelo made a last-ditch effort, sliding through the zone at the tail end of the play, but Martinez and Fleury were left out to dry on the tic-tac-toe play.
Pietrangelo made up for it later in the frame when he regained the lead for Vegas, making it 2-1 with just over five minutes left in the period. It was just Pietrangelo’s fourth goal of the season, but he looked like the Pietrangelo of old as he took advantage of the open ice he was afforded and sniped one short-side by John Gibson.
In Friday’s game, Vegas outshot Anaheim 15-6 in the first period, but it was Anaheim that led the way in this one, finishing the opening 20 minutes with a 12-6 edge in shots. The Knights went 11 minutes between shots, but both shots happened to end up in the net.
Vegas continued to take advantage of its scoring opportunities for the rest of the game.
The Knights extended their lead to 3-1 when Nicolas Roy scored for the second straight game and third time in his last four games, beating Gibson short-side early in the second period.
The Ducks pulled back within one later in the frame, as Danton Heinen beat Fleury on a one-timed shot from the right circle just over 14 minutes into the period. It’s one Fleury would like to get back.
However, Stone made it 4-2 late in the second period with the Knights’ first power-play goal against Anaheim this season.
After receiving Shea Theodore’s gorgeous breakout pass at the blue line, Stone was in alone and made no mistake as he fooled Gibson and slid the puck into the net.
The pass:— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 18, 2021
The finish: pic.twitter.com/ATCTRYQUap
The goal helped Stone hit the 50-point threshold in his fourth consecutive multi-point effort, which ties a career-high.
Fleury recorded the secondary assist on the play for his first point of the year.
The Knights gave the Ducks two power plays in the third period, but Vegas’ penalty kill finished the game 4-for-4. The Ducks have the worst home power play in the league, but the penalty kill came up big in the third and limited Anaheim to just three shots (five total in the game).
The Ducks pulled Gibson with just under three minutes left in the game, but the Knights locked things down to protect the lead. Alex Tuch added an empty-net goal at 18:33 to seal the win.
Pacioretty, Stone, Roy and Martinez finished the game with two points.
Unlike Friday, the Ducks led in shots (35-29) and Corsi (49-39), but while the Knights didn’t dominate the possession game, they made the most of their scoring chances.
The Knights never trailed in the game.
The only line that finished with a Corsi For percentage above 50 was the second, but once again, the bottom six contributed.
The acquisition of Mattias Janmark has bolstered Vegas’ third line, and the bottom six has found the scoreboard much more frequently of late, taking some of the burden off the top forwards on the team.
Vegas will finish up the season series against the Ducks next Saturday.
The Golden Knights head back home for a two-game set against San Jose starting tomorrow night; Janmark, who has yet to lose a game with Vegas, will play his first home game as a Golden Knight.
The Knights could be without Reilly Smith, though, as he missed most of the third period.