The Vegas Golden Knights nearly blew a three-goal lead but survived Anaheim’s rally to secure a much-needed 5-4 win against the Ducks Friday night at Honda Center.
Vegas scored four goals in the second period en route to collecting a critical two points.
The Knights had won just two of their previous eight games, which left them hanging on to a playoff seed as the second wildcard team in the Western Conference standings. They temporarily move back into third place in the Pacific Division with the win.
It was Vegas’ best offensive output since scoring five goals against Buffalo on Feb. 1, and it came one night after the Knights struggled to generate much of anything offensively in a 5-2 loss to Boston.
It was the second time this season that the Knights and Ducks found the back of the net seemingly at will (Anaheim defeated Vegas 6-5 back on Dec. 1).
But this time the Knights prevailed, closing out their back-to-back on a high note.
Nicolas Roy led the way with the first two-goal game of his career, while Michael Amadio recorded his first three-point performance.
It was a rough start for the road team, though, as the Knights gave up a brutal goal in the first five minutes of the contest.
Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring at 4:47 of the first on a shot taken from the goal line that caught Laurent Brossoit off guard.
Jakob Silfverberg sneaks one home from the goal line to open the scoring up for Anaheim!#FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/xTF2xN0KAe— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) March 5, 2022
It’s a goal that Vegas cannot afford to give up at this stage of the season, though Brossoit followed it up with a key save on an unchecked Ryan Getzlaf in the slot.
But the Knights responded quickly, as Ben Hutton bested his former team by potting his second goal of the season — and the 100th point of his NHL career — just 2:13 later.
Ben Hutton gets his 100th career point with this goal and ties it up 1-1! pic.twitter.com/AO3QJnK7wr— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) March 5, 2022
Hutton scored top-shelf from the slot off a feed from Amadio; Evgenii Dadonov was credited with the secondary assist, his first point since Jan. 20.
The Knights broke out with four goals in the first half of the second period, starting with Jonathan Marchessault’s 23rd of the season just 18 seconds into the frame.
On the stick and off the stick for Jonathan Marchessault (@JMarchessault18). pic.twitter.com/g1glu1N1bO— NHL (@NHL) March 5, 2022
Marchessault has five points on his current four-game point streak as the Misfit Line scored yet another full-line goal.
But Anaheim erased that lead just over two minutes later when Nicolas Delauriers beat Brossoit on a slap shot from the point.
Nicolas Deslauriers gets one of his own to respond quickly, tying it up at 2 for Anaheim!#FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/JhnsN1sU1T— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) March 5, 2022
The Knights were out of gas and got caught flat-footed, and the shot found its way through traffic to make it 2-2 at 2:23 of the second.
From there, the Knights went on to score three straight.
First up was Roy, who emphatically snapped a 15-game goalless drought, putting Vegas back on top less than 90 seconds later.
THE GOAL THAT GAVE US THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/7f5lxdKdEe— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 5, 2022
The goal set a new career high, but he wasn’t finished.
He added his second of the game just over three minutes later for his 10th of the year.
ANOTHA ONE ☝️ pic.twitter.com/BSIFjj8gAH— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 5, 2022
Both goals came on second-chance opportunities.
Amadio scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 9:44 of the second, tipping home a centering feed from Chandler Stephenson to make it 5-2.
still smiling about this tho pic.twitter.com/5ckLNerEYE— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 5, 2022
The Knights were more aggressive around the net, and they were rewarded multiple times. It was Amadio’s fifth goal of the year and third point of the night after assisting on Hutton’s goal and Roy’s second, making it the most productive game of his career.
But not surprisingly, Anaheim didn’t go quietly.
Trevor Zegras scored with just 1:22 remaining in the second to cut the deficit to two.
Now that's a Zegras zinger. pic.twitter.com/FITNDEmBKo— NHL (@NHL) March 5, 2022
The puck found its way to Zegras, who roofed it over Brossoit’s shoulder to set up an interesting third period.
The Ducks scored their second power-play goal of the game just 6:39 in to the third as Troy Terry netted his 28th of the year.
The Knights had been on the power play, but a Reilly Smith tripping penalty cut Vegas’ man-advantage short and ultimately put the Ducks in a position to pull within one goal.
Troy Terry cuts the @AnaheimDucks' deficit to one pic.twitter.com/7Q5GjT9C8E— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) March 5, 2022
Terry had time and space as he got behind the Vegas defense, made a move and beat Brossoit far-side on the backhand.
Though the Ducks got yet another power play in the final 17 seconds of regulation, William Karlsson won a key faceoff late as the Knights escaped Anaheim’s rally with the 5-4 win.
It’s a game the Golden Knights had to have, and they got it done. It might not have been as straightforward as it should have been, but there were some positive takeaways.
The Vegas offense looked a lot more confident, and the new line combinations seemed to do wonders for several players. Roy and Dadonov were able to snap their goalless and pointless droughts, and Amadio stepped up with a huge performance.
It’s difficult to know how much was Vegas and how much was Anaheim, but it’s a good sign to see chemistry building throughout the lineup. It was especially clear that Roy enjoyed his new assignment on the top line with Jack Eichel.
#NHL GameScore Impact Card for Vegas Golden Knights on 2022-03-04:#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/A1DTUdYnhq— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) March 5, 2022
At the same time, the Knights have won three times in the last nine games, and those wins have come against San Jose and Anaheim. Plus, Vegas nearly blew a three-goal lead, and this game came down to the wire.
While the offensive outburst was a sight for sore eyes, some of the same concerns about Vegas’ game surfaced throughout the night.
The power play continues to be an issue. It didn’t cost Vegas the game, but it might have against a better team or if the Ducks had scored on any one of their three posts.
The timing of the power plays is especially relevant; the Knights had two opportunities in the first period but failed to capitalize on early chances yet again.
But the one of note came near the end of the third period when Vegas was fighting to hold on to a one-goal lead in a must-win game.
That’s when the power play has to come through.
With just over six minutes left in the third, the Knights could have scored a huge goal to pad their lead. Instead, the two minutes came and went.
Killing off two minutes on the clock is not insignificant, but for a Knights team that is supposed to be a Cup contender and has to compete against teams hitting their stride, it’s something that has to be addressed. It will be especially crucial for games against stiffer competition.
Brossoit had a tough night after playing very well in recent starts; he got enough goal support to pick up his 10th win of the season, but he stopped just 20 of 24 shots for an .833 save percentage.
Coming into tonight’s game, both Vegas and Edmonton had 64 points in 55 games, though the Oilers owned the tiebreaker.
The two points from tonight’s win give Vegas a temporary edge over Edmonton; the Oilers will have a chance to respond tomorrow against Montreal.
Vegas next plays Sunday against Ottawa before heading out on a five-game road trip. The next three games — at home against Ottawa and on the road in Philadelphia and Buffalo — are must-win’s for the Knights.