Year 2 Game 50: Golden Knights defeat Penguins 7-3 thanks to Marchessault’s hat trick
What. A. Game.
The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-3 in a wild back-and-forth contest. Pittsburgh overcame a two-goal deficit early in the second period, but Vegas fought back and scored four unanswered goals, including a hat trick from Jonathan Marchessault.
Marc-Andre Fleury made a pair of key stops on Phil Kessel during a Pittsburgh power play in the second period after an Evgeni Malkin goal got called back due to a distinct kicking motion.
Marc. Andre. Fleury. What a save. pic.twitter.com/BGBHils3Cb— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 20, 2019
Those saves proved to be critical for Vegas’ comeback.
Shortly thereafter, Marchessault scored two goals in under four minutes to give Vegas its second two-goal lead of the game.
GOAL. DeSmith plays the puck right to Jonathan Marchessault, who makes it 4-3 Vegas. pic.twitter.com/EkNmKGlCIo— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 20, 2019
Vegas potted two more in the third period, including Marchessault’s empty-net strike to complete the hat trick. It was his second career hat trick but first with Vegas.
Colin Miller played well in his return to the lineup after missing 13 games, and he seemed to spark Vegas’ struggling power play. Having him back in the fold gave Vegas three capable defensemen on the man advantage, including Shea Theodore, who scored a power-play goal one game after Vegas went 0-for-6 on the man advantage. The Knights generated three high-danger chances and six shots during their two power play opportunities, and both units looked dangerous.
Miller finished the game with two primary assists, including one on William Karlsson’s third-period goal, which snapped an eight-game goalless drought for Wild Bill.
The Golden Knights had multiple chances to score on the breakaway, but Casey DeSmith repeatedly made great stops. Despite the score, this was a goaltending battle throughout much of the game, and Fleury had to be the best player on the ice time and time again; he made 34 stops on 37 shots and even managed an assist on Marchessault’s empty-net goal.
In the end, Fleury outplayed DeSmith, which truly paid dividends for the Knights, who were far from dominant throughout this game. Pittsburgh had a 24-14 lead in high-danger chances throughout the game, and the Penguins had a slight edge in shots (37-35).
Several other players stood out in this game, including Paul Stastny, who had two assists, and Max Pacioretty, who had four shots and this beauty of a goal:
GOAL. Paul Stastny accidentally passes the puck to Max Pacioretty and the Knights score. pic.twitter.com/9dJHO7SH2P— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 20, 2019
Alex Tuch, the third member of the All-American line, had multiple breakaway chances but couldn’t “tuck” them away. He finished tied for second on the team with two high-danger chances and had three shots. Stastny ended up playing the second-most minutes of any Knights skater after only Nate Schmidt.
Every player on Vegas’ roster had at least one shot throughout the course of the game, and 12 players, including Fleury, had at least one point.
The fact that Marchessault and Karlsson combined for four goals is a great sign moving forward since neither has been particularly productive in recent games.
This was an action-packed game against a hot Penguins team, and the victory moves Vegas to within one point of the Sharks, who suffered a 6-3 loss to the Lightning. Pretty good day all around.
Vegas next takes on the Minnesota Wild, followed by the Nashville Predators, prior to the All-Star break.