It was a low-event game in which both teams combined for just 48 total shots, but Los Angeles’ second line scored three unanswered goals to get the win and bring the Kings within three points of Vegas in the Pacific Division standings.
The Golden Knights also suffered yet another injury, as Alec Martinez got hurt blocking a shot in the second period and did not return.
After a sluggish start for both teams coming out of the holiday break, Gabriel Vilardi opened the scoring to give the Kings a 1-0 lead nearly 12 minutes into the opening frame. But a power play less than a minute later set up Michael Amadio’s fourth goal of the season and third goal in his last three games.
THREE GAMES IN A ROW FOR MIKE!!! pic.twitter.com/vjdPSze2Ra— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 28, 2022
He has scored a goal in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
The goal, which evened things up 13:08 into the game, was Vegas’ 14th power-play strike of the month.
The Golden Knights and Kings exchanged goals in the second as well, but it was Vegas that took the lead this time around when Reilly Smith delivered a gorgeous between-the-legs pass to the breaking Brayden McNabb, who pushed the puck into the yawning cage for his first goal of the season.
Offensive Defenseman Brayden McNabb pic.twitter.com/Qbb9MX53aE— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 28, 2022
It was McNabb’s first goal in 46 games and first against his former club. Brayden Pachal recorded the secondary assist on the play for his second career point.
But much like the first period, the lead was short-lived, and McNabb’s goal proved to be the final Vegas tally of the night.
Los Angeles generated sustained pressure in the Vegas end and ultimately cashed in 3:15 later to even things up at 2-2. Viktor Arvidsson skated behind the net and sent a crisp wraparound pass to Philipp Danault for the tap-in.
Vegas had a great opportunity late in the second, but Kings netminder Pheonix Copley stretched out to make the sliding save on Jake Leschyshyn off a fantastic feed from Amadio.
The third period was all Kings.
Los Angeles scored the game-winner 8:36 into the frame.
Mark Stone lost an edge in the neutral zone, setting up a 3-on-2 for Los Angeles; once again, Arvidsson was the setup man, this time sending a perfect cross-ice feed to Alex Iafallo, who beat Logan Thompson short-side.
The Golden Knights had several scoring chances in the third period but were unable to get the equalizer; Los Angeles scored on the empty net with 27 seconds remaining to seal it.
The Kings’ second line of Danault, Arvidsson and Iafallo combined for three goals and eight points on the night.
Though the Golden Knights didn’t do enough offensively, it was a tightly-checked game that was relatively evenly-matched. The difference came down to a bad break on the 3-on-2.
Thompson gave up three goals on 24 shots for an .875 save percentage, while Copley stopped 23 of 25 (.925).
The injury bug continues to plague the Golden Knights. However, Vegas was fortunate not to lose two defensemen, as Daniil Miromanov took a puck to the face in the second period but returned to action sporting a bubble shield for the start of the third.
Bruce Cassidy did not have an update on Martinez following the game but said that he suffered a lower-body injury and would be reevaluated tomorrow.
The Golden Knights will wrap up the back-to-back set against the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night.