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Secondary scoring, penalty kill lift Golden Knights to 3-2 win against Avalanche

Nicolas Roy scored twice, snapping a 17-game goalless drought.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights kicked off 2023 with an impressive 3-2 victory against the Colorado Avalanche Monday night at Ball Arena.

The Golden Knights trailed early but scored three straight to take a two-goal lead into the third period. Though a close call resulted in a goal for the Avalanche, Vegas held on for the win, its second in a row.

Nicolas Roy snapped a 17-game goalless drought and scored two goals in the second period, including the game-winner at 14:46. Michael Amadio extended his point streak to seven games, and Kaedan Korczak — making his season debut — recorded the first point of his NHL career.

Logan Thompson was fantastic, stopping 27 of 29 shots for his 18th win of the season, which is tied with Connor Hellebuyck for second overall in the NHL. Thompson and the Vegas penalty kill came through in a big way, going 5-for-5 on the night, including shutting down a late Colorado power play at 3-2.

For the fourth game in a row, the Golden Knights gave up the first goal.

In his first game in the lineup after an 11-game absence, Nathan MacKinnon wasted no time getting back in the swing of things, firing a laser off the post just 25 seconds into the contest.

But Thompson closed the door for the rest of the period (and for the next 50:42), and Vegas evened things up with just under three minutes remaining in the opening frame when Amadio netted his fifth goal in his last seven games.

It was a key moment in the game since it came immediately after MacKinnon hit the post at the other end. Amadio tipped a shot from Nicolas Hague, fresh off his overtime game-winner against Nashville, to make it a 1-1 game after one.

Amadio has five goals and nine points during his current seven-game point streak.

The middle frame was a dominant effort by Vegas.

Roy scored for the first time since Nov. 25, notching his sixth and seventh tallies of the season.

The first was the result of a hard-working shift by the fourth line, with Keegan Kolesar winning a puck battle along the boards before feeding Roy. Korczak recorded the secondary helper on the play for his first career NHL point in just his second game.

William Carrier got the primary assist on the second goal, giving the fourth line a combined four points on the night.

The goals came in the span of 7:32 and were part of three straight goals scored by Vegas following MacKinnon’s early strike.

Colorado had its best effort in the third period and cut the deficit to one with 8:53 remaining on a goal by Mikko Rantanen. The play required an extended review, but it was determined that the puck crossed the goal line before the whistle.

Though the Avalanche had more shots and more chances (overall and at 5-on-5) in the third period, the Golden Knights had a 5-2 edge in high-danger chances and managed a 72.49 percent expected goal share at 5-on-5.

Vegas took a late penalty to make things interesting, but Thompson and the penalty kill were solid once again, helping the Golden Knights pull out the 3-2 win.

Vegas was the better team for most of the night, and the Golden Knights had the majority of the threatening chances.

In fact, the Golden Knights finished the contest with a 67.5 percent scoring chance share, an 81.82 percent high-danger Corsi share and a 75.63 percent expected goal share at 5-on-5.

Though Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo recorded the secondary assists on Amadio’s goal and Roy’s second, respectively, the Golden Knights got three goals from secondary scorers, and the fourth line combined for four points, with all three members finding the scoresheet.

Over the last three weeks, the Vegas penalty kill has been lethal with a 90 percent success rate. That’s good for third overall in the NHL, and tonight’s game was no exception.

The penalty kill went a perfect 5-for-5, killing off back-to-back penalties eight minutes into the first period, a late penalty in the second and two more penalties in the third. Colorado generated 13 shot attempts on the man-advantage, but the Vegas penalty kill was able to neutralize a power play that has converted on more than 25 percent of its opportunities this season.

Two players made their season debuts.

Korczak played 15:30, including 65 seconds on the penalty kill, and picked up an assist and a plus-one rating as well as three shots and three hits.

Byron Froese, who came into his Golden Knights debut with 116 games of NHL experience, played 7:22, finishing with a minus-one rating and two penalty minutes.

The Golden Knights have two days off before hosting the Penguins Thursday night in the first of seven straight home games.