The Vegas Golden Knights completed the sweep of their three-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Vancouver Canucks Sunday at Rogers Arena.
Vegas blew a two-goal lead in the third period and scored an own goal to give Vancouver the equalizer, but Shea Theodore had the last word with the game-winning overtime tally to give Vegas the all-important second point to keep up in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Golden Knights have won five games in a row for the first time since mid-December, the club’s best month of the campaign.
Robin Lehner was back in the crease for the first time since March 8, interrupting an eight-game string of Logan Thompson starts.
He played fairly well in his return to action, finishing the game with 26 saves on 28 shots for a .929 save percentage. He was particularly clutch with a big stop on Bo Horvat less than 10 seconds into overtime.
The own goal was questionable, but it was Alec Martinez who made the misstep.
The Golden Knights played one of their strongest periods in a while in the opening frame, and they were rewarded with a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Both goals were scored on fantastic shots.
Alex Pietrangelo scored his 13th of the year after beating Thatcher Demko with a high short-side shot.
Picking Corners: Part 1 pic.twitter.com/jnqaPNrztc— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 4, 2022
Chandler Stephenson and Jack Eichel recorded the assists on the goal.
Jonathan Marchessault doubled Vegas’ lead at 12:31 after Vancouver gave him a little too much space up the middle; he also scored top-shelf on Demko’s glove side for his 28th of the year, his highest goal total with the Golden Knights (he scored 30 with Florida in 2016-17).
Picking Corners: Part 2 pic.twitter.com/rD0p4uAdhy— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 4, 2022
The Canucks responded with a much better effort in the second period, but Lehner came up with several big stops to preserve Vegas’ two-goal lead.
However, the Canucks would not be denied in the third.
Vancouver came out flying after the second intermission, and it took just 1:42 for the home team to get on the board.
J.T. Miller beat Lehner on a one-timed blast from the slot off a feed from Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Miller one-timer pic.twitter.com/poJCaroGNO— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) April 4, 2022
The Canucks later tied the game on one of the stranger goals of the season.
William Karlsson won a faceoff in the Vegas end, and as the puck made its way back towards the net, Martinez tipped the puck through Lehner’s pads. The blip gave Vancouver its second goal in exactly eight minutes.
So that's how it went in pic.twitter.com/bdNUUdLQkK— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) April 4, 2022
It was awarded to Horvat, who lost the faceoff, and technically counted as a power-play tally, as it crossed the goal line two seconds after Brayden McNabb got called for delay of game.
The Canucks used the momentum to take control of play in the second half of the period, but neither team was able to get the go-ahead goal in regulation (despite Tyler Myers getting a glorious opportunity at the buzzer).
Both teams had dangerous chances early in overtime, and Lehner was forced to make a huge stop on a Horvat breakaway off the opening faceoff.
But it was Theodore who made his opportunity count.
The play started off with Marchessault wiping out in the Vegas end, but he quickly got back on his feet, won a board battle and helped lead a 3-on-1 for Vegas.
Theodore caught Marchessault’s cross-ice feed and proceeded to slam it home for the game-winner.
Shea Theodore (@stheodore17) scores the @BevyLongDrink OT winner for the @GoldenKnights! pic.twitter.com/N36cM429oG— NHL (@NHL) April 4, 2022
It was his 11th goal of the season; he has scored in three straight contests.
The win improved Vegas’ all-time record to 10-0-2 against the Canucks.
The Golden Knights didn’t play a perfect game but found a way to win, preserving their chances in a tight playoff race in the Western Conference. They currently sit in the second wildcard seed with 82 points, though Dallas is in action tonight.
The Golden Knights will look to extend their winning streak to six games when they host the Canucks on Wednesday.