The Vegas Golden Knights secured their sixth win of the year with a 4-2 come-from-behind victory against the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night at SAP Center.
Vegas scored three unanswered goals in the third period, including two in the span of 62 seconds, to improve to 6-2-0 on the year.
But the night belonged to Phil Kessel, who made history with two impressive milestones.
First, he broke the NHL ironman streak, skating in his 990th consecutive game.
He then scored the 400th goal of his career for good measure.
It was a sweet victory for Adin Hill, who faced his former team for the first time since getting dealt in the offseason. Hill remains undefeated in three starts with Vegas after stopping 29 of 31 shots for a .935 save percentage.
Fittingly, it was Kessel who opened the scoring, skating around Sharks defenseman Matt Benning and lifting the puck over James Reimer’s shoulder to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead 15:51 into the opening frame.
Kessel scores No. 400 on the same night he breaks the ironman streak. What a night for Phil The Thrill #VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/4TF2mNl6TT— Jillian Wagner (@JillianSydney) October 26, 2022
Brett Howden tallied the lone assist on the play, giving the Golden Knights’ new-look third line (with Michael Amadio) two goals in two games.
It was an otherwise-quiet first period in which the Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 14-6.
But San Jose came storming back in the second, outscoring the Golden Knights 2-0 and outshooting Vegas 16-7 (16-5 at 5-on-5). San Jose also held a 5-1 edge in high-danger Corsi with an 88.94 percent expected goal share at 5-on-5.
Needless to say, the second period belonged to the Sharks.
San Jose’s eighth shot of the frame got past Hill to even things up at 1-1. Nico Sturm was parked in front and scored on a deflection off a point shot by Kevin Labanc.
Nico Sturm puts the Sharks on the board pic.twitter.com/IOcfVxyI5Y— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) October 26, 2022
Matt Nieto gave the Sharks their first lead of the night with just 35 seconds remaining in the period. A sluggish shift by the Misfits Line followed by a sloppy change by Alex Pietrangelo — who also failed to tie up Sturm’s stick on the Sharks’ first goal — allowed Nieto to get behind the Vegas defense. Collecting a stretch pass from Tomas Hertl, Nieto skated in alone, picked a corner and ripped one over Hill’s glove for his first of the season.
Primetime TV:— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 26, 2022
Nieto @ Knight pic.twitter.com/HYhUOaYzgU
But the Golden Knights bounced back and took control of the game in the third period. Bruce Cassidy shortened the bench in the first back-to-back of the season, and the top six delivered.
For the second game in a row, Vegas struck early in the third, this time courtesy of a Shea Theodore wrist shot that found its way through traffic to even things up at 2-2 just 55 seconds into the frame.
Shea Theodore flings one home through traffic to tie it up at 2 for Vegas!#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/b4hFSIgGDR— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) October 26, 2022
The turning point came in the final seven minutes when Vegas scored two quick goals to complete the third-period comeback, taking a 4-2 lead with 5:45 remaining.
First, William Karlsson made a gorgeous deke at center ice to blow past Erik Karlsson before burying a short-side shot for his third of the year.
William Karlsson— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 26, 2022
Erik Karlsson pic.twitter.com/Y96b05eURe
Just 62 seconds later, Mark Stone scored on a tap-in off a beautiful and patient feed from Chandler Stephenson to give Vegas a two-goal lead.
Mark Stone beats Couture to the net and doubles the VGK lead!#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/Z7RKqcaaAH— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) October 26, 2022
The Sharks pulled Reimer with 4:15 to go, but Vegas held the Sharks to the perimeter, closing out the game in methodical fashion.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Golden Knights took control when it mattered, capitalized on key opportunities and held San Jose to just two high-danger chances in a decisive third-period effort.
In the end, 10 different Golden Knights skaters found the scoresheet, including Alec Martinez, who recorded his first point of the season with the secondary assist on Karlsson’s game-winning goal. Theodore finished the night with two points.
Next up for the Golden Knights is a Friday matinee against the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena.