Golden Knights 5, Ducks 2: Vegas secures first place in division heading into 2020

It’s been real, 2019.

The Vegas Golden Knights closed out 2019 on a high note as they defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 Tuesday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.

The win ensures Vegas will remain in first place in the Pacific Division headed into the new year.

Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals in the third period, one of which came on a penalty shot, to secure the two points for Vegas.

It was a lopsided game as the Knights outshot Anaheim 43-28.

In fact, Vegas fired a season-high 22 shots on goal in a dominant first period, beating Ducks netminder John Gibson twice to take a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.

The Knights got a little help on one of those goals as Josh Manson casually pushed the puck into his own net. It did help Alex Tuch snap an 11-game goal drought, however, so there’s that.

Reilly Smith added his 15th of the season in the middle frame, and what ended up being the game-winning goal was a beauty.

Marchessault made it 4-1 when he scored on a penalty shot in the third period, out-waiting Gibson to score his 14th of the year. It was Marchessault’s second career penalty-shot goal (the other being his memorable overtime game-winner against Ottawa last season).

Jakob Silfverberg made it 4-2 just seconds after Vegas killed off a slashing penalty, but Marchessault later added his second of the period with an empty-net goal to seal the win.

Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty continued their strong play as the two combined for a goal in the first period, and that’s saying something since five of the game’s seven goals were unassisted. One of those came off the stick of Korbinian Holzer in the first period.

Gibson made 38 saves in the losing effort but kept his team in it for most of the game.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves and finished the game with a .929 save percentage; the win, the 455th of his career, moves him into sixth place on the all-time wins list.

Despite a not-so-stellar middle frame. the Knights won the overall possession battle, holding a 60-43 edge in Corsi and an 18-8 edge in high-danger Corsi.

The Knights have now won five of their last six home games, which bodes well as Vegas will kick off 2020 with five straight home contests, starting Thursday against Philadelphia.

The Knights currently sit in first place in the division with 50 points. Vancouver is now in second, but Arizona has a chance to leapfrog the Canucks tonight as they take on the red-hot Blues. Regardless of what happens in that game, though, Vegas will start 2020 on top.