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Golden Knights falter in 5-1 rout against Kings

The lopsided defeat snapped Vegas’ three-game winning streak.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights (27-13-2) fell far short in a one-sided 5-1 defeat against the Los Angeles Kings (23-14-6) Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Both Jonathan Marchessault and Alec Martinez returned to the lineup, but it wasn’t enough to spark the Golden Knights in an all-around flat performance.

The Kings’ dominant defensive effort — particularly in the neutral zone — was too much for Vegas to overcome.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak and was Vegas’ second to Los Angeles in the last 12 days after the Kings picked up a 4-2 win on Dec. 27. Los Angeles now trails Vegas by four points in the Pacific Division standings.

The first period was relatively evenly-matched, and the Golden Knights hit the post several times. However, the Kings opened the scoring late on a seeing-eye shot from downtown that eluded Logan Thompson, who was triple-screened on the play.

The goal, the first of three by Kevin Fiala, came off a Vegas turnover, which was a theme throughout the contest.

Matt Roy scored a shorthanded goal midway through the second period on a generous rebound by Thompson, and Fiala potted his second of the night later in the frame as the Kings took a healthy 3-0 lead into the second intermission.

Through two periods, the Golden Knights recorded just 13 shots and zero high-danger chances.

Adin Hill replaced Thompson — who gave up three goals on 19 shots — to start the third; it marked just the second time Bruce Cassidy has made a goalie change this season. Hill finished the game with two saves on three shots.

He was unable to stop Viktor Arvidsson, who gave the Kings a commanding 4-0 lead 5:45 into the frame on one of four third-period shots for Los Angeles.

The Golden Knights were 2:16 away from being shut out for the first time this season but managed to light the lamp late in the third period with the goalie pulled. However, Marchessault’s 15th of the season was too little, too late.

Fiala scored an empty-net goal to complete the hat trick with 1:27 remaining, more than solidifying the Kings’ well-earned victory.

The Kings outplayed the Golden Knights for most of the game.

Vegas tied a season-low in shots with 20; while the Kings managed only 23, Los Angeles made the most of its opportunities, something the Golden Knights were unable to do.

In addition to not executing offensively, Vegas also turned the puck over, lost puck battles, couldn’t overcome the Kings’ neutral-zone stranglehold and didn’t get strong goaltending in what Cassidy deemed the most disappointing game of the season.

The Golden Knights have four days off to regroup before hosting the Florida Panthers on Thursday.