The Vegas Golden Knights recorded the team’s third shutout victory of the season with a 4-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night at PNC Arena.
It was another statement win by the Golden Knights against a top team in the league, and Jonathan Quick was stellar, stopping 33 of 33 shots for his first shutout with the Golden Knights, his second of the 2022-23 campaign and the 58th of his career.
Quick was the best player on the ice for either team and remains undefeated (3-0-0) since being acquired from Columbus at the trade deadline.
Jonathan Marchessault opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game, beating Hurricanes netminder Frederik Andersen five-hole from the slot with what proved to be the game-winning goal.
not as early as last game but we love a 1-0 lead nonetheless pic.twitter.com/fxcG6MhjSo— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 12, 2023
It was Marchessault’s 20th goal of the season, a feat he has accomplished five times in six seasons with Vegas and six times in his career.
Quick had to be good early, as the Hurricanes were dominant in the opening frame, holding a 32-13 edge in shot attempts and 15-9 lead in shots. The Golden Knights got in shooting lanes and disrupted some of Carolina’s pressure, but it was Quick’s sold play that helped Vegas carry a 1-0 lead into intermission.
Reilly Smith scored to make it 2-0 late in the second period, taking advantage of some casual defensive play by Brent Burns, who tried to play the puck with one hand on his stick but missed it. Smith collected the puck on the other side of the Hurricanes defender and beat Andersen short-side for his 22nd goal of the year.
when you're walking around a defenseman en route to a highlight reel goal, sometimes less is more pic.twitter.com/PMjdHZhRe2— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 12, 2023
William Karlsson recorded his 30th helper of the season on the play. The goal extended Smith’s point streak to four games (2-2—4); he has three goals in his last six contests after scoring one in his previous 21.
Paul Cotter netted his 12th of the season midway through the third period on a fantastic passing play on a 3-on-1 with Alex Pietrangelo and Chandler Stephenson. Cotter beat Andersen on the one-timer off Pietrangelo’s backhand feed from the slot to give Vegas a 3-0 lead at 13:10.
Paul Cotter converts on the 3-on-1 rush to extend the Vegas lead to 3 in the third!#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/KD3m1eJZ6J— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) March 12, 2023
The Golden Knights got an extended look with Carolina’s goalie pulled, and eventually Brett Howden scored an empty-netter to seal the win with 1:24 remaining. Teddy Blueger tallied the lone assist on the play, giving him three assists in five games since joining the Golden Knights.
Though the Hurricanes held a 65.63 percent Corsi share, 60.87 percent scoring chance share and a 59.6 percent expected goal share at 5-on-5, Vegas blanked the second-best team in the league.
Quick played a huge role in doing so with an outstanding showing, facing 2.98 expected goals against and yielding zero while shutting down seven of seven high-danger shots.
In three starts with Vegas, Quick has posted a 1.97 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and one shutout.
It was another game in which the Golden Knights forward lines were outplayed at 5-on-5; the second line of Smith, Karlsson and Michael Amadio was the most effective but managed just a 46.67 percent Corsi share in 8:55.
However, Vegas’ game plan was executed well. The Golden Knights got an early lead and held it, stayed out of the box, got strong goaltending, kept Carolina to the perimeter, cleaned things up around the crease and patiently waited for opportunities to strike on the rush.
“We just checked well, and we were hard on the walls,” Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “You gotta win your board battles because their [defensemen] are always on you as wingers, and then you gotta win some races. And if you do that, you can get some odd-man rushes.”
The Golden Knights continue to find ways to win hockey games and have now completed season series sweeps against Tampa Bay and Carolina since returning from the All-Star break. In that time, Vegas has gone 11-2-2.
The two points collected in Raleigh helped Vegas maintain its narrow lead in the Pacific Division with 86 points in 66 games.
The Golden Knights are back in action tomorrow in St. Louis as Jiri Patera is expected to make his NHL debut.
Statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.