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Golden Knights crush Capitals in 6-2 blowout to snap three-game losing skid

Vegas finishes its seven-game homestand with a 3-4-0 record.

Washington Capitals v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights came out flying and scored early and often in a lopsided 6-2 victory against the Washington Capitals Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

The win snapped Vegas’ season-long three-game losing streak in the final installment of a seven-game homestand (3-4-0).

It was a dominant effort by the Golden Knights, who did it by committee against a Capitals squad missing captain Alex Ovechkin, who was a late scratch with a lower-body injury.

The Capitals were listless for most of the night, but the Golden Knights played with high energy and confidence from the get-go, scoring six goals on just 27 shots while holding Washington to 22. It was the fourth time this season Vegas lit the lamp at least six times (Nov. 5 at Montreal, Nov. 10 at Buffalo, Dec. 13 at Winnipeg).

The Golden Knights never trailed and scored first for just the second time this month and second time in the last 11 games. Vegas got goals from five different goal-scorers, including Alec Martinez, Nicolas Roy, Michael Amadio, Byron Froese and Paul Cotter, who scored twice.

Martinez’s first of the year kicked things off just 2:17 into the contest.

Just over five minutes later, Roy made it 2-0 off the rush thanks to a saucer feed from Jonathan Marchessault.

The opening frame was the Golden Knights’ best period in quite some time; at 5-on-5, Vegas led 8-3 in shots, 20-6 in shot attempts and 9-3 in scoring chances with an 88.47 percent expected goal share. The Golden Knights did not allow a high-danger chance.

The second period featured much of the same.

Chandler Stephenson found a wide-open Amadio in front of the net to make it 3-0 just 2:15 into the period.

It was Stephenson’s second assist of the night as he snapped a five-game pointless streak.

It was a rough night for his former club, though, particularly in net.

Darcy Kuemper allowed four goals on 18 shots before getting pulled just over 12 minutes into the second period, and Charlie Lindgren gave up a goal on the first shot he faced; both finished the game with .778 save percentages.

Froese’s first goal as a member of the Golden Knights (and first NHL goal in nearly two calendar years) chased Kuemper from the Washington crease.

The Golden Knights proceeded to score on their first shot on Lindgren, as a Capitals turnover just inside the blue line set up Cotter, who skated in and casually slid a backhand shot five-hole.

T.J. Oshie ended Logan Thompson’s light shutout bid, making it 5-1 with 1:40 left in the second period.

The second period was another one-sided frame, as the Golden Knights led 11-4 in scoring chances and 5-1 in high-danger chances with an 83.75 percent expected goal share at 5-on-5.

The Capitals added another goal at 10:41 of the third period when Marcus Johansson tipped Trevor van Riemsdyk’s point shot past Thompson.

But not before Cotter netted his second of the game and eighth of the season. The goal was exceptionally similar to his second-period tally and gave Cotter his second two-goal game of the season (Dec. 5 at Boston).

Vegas took its foot off the gas a bit in the third period, as the Capitals held the edge in shot attempts (16-9), scoring chances (9-5), high-danger chances (4-2) and expected goal share (66.22 percent) at 5-on-5.

However, the Golden Knights were in control the entire night and had no trouble closing out the 6-2 victory in front of the home crowd.

It was a team-wide effort from start to finish, something the Golden Knights desperately needed after losing three straight and delivering uninspired performances throughout the seven-game homestand.

Vegas’ defensive play was drastically improved, which helped the Golden Knights in all three zones. Vegas won puck battles and races and had a very strong transition game. The Golden Knights took advantage of Washington’s mistakes and poor goaltending and capitalized against a team missing its best player and leader.

Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo were reunited on the back end, and it made a massive difference from the very beginning of the game. The two were on the ice for each of Vegas’ first five goals and finished the night with plus-five ratings while teaming up for three points.

Vegas’ fourth line of Cotter, Roy and Keegan Kolesar had a stellar evening, combining for two goals and six points as well as a 65 percent Corsi share, 76.92 percent shot share and 65.44 percent expected goal share in 9:19. Roy recorded the first three-point game of his career with a goal and two assists.

Though Jack Eichel did not record a point in Vegas’ offensive explosion, it was an important bounce-back game for the top line, which scored two goals and finished the night with a 66.67 percent Corsi share (16-8), 75 percent shot share (6-2) and 80.55 percent expected goal share.

Thompson stopped 20 of 22 shots for a .909 save percentage in his 19th win of the year and first since Jan. 2 against Colorado.

The Golden Knights have a quick turnaround with a road tilt against the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night.