Power play propels Golden Knights to 5-2 victory over Kings

Thank god for the Pacific Division.

Paul Stastny scored two power-play goals, one on a deflection and one off a pass from Jonathan Marchessault, as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 Sunday at Staples Center for their second consecutive win.

Vegas got goals from Reilly Smith and Max Pacioretty in the first period, as the power play once again found the back of the net and the first line continued its excellent season. Austin Wagner scored the lone goal for the Kings.

The Golden Knights got two more goals from Stastny in the second period, both on the power play, as the man-advantage units went 3-for-3 on the night.

Stastny scored from the doorstep on both goals, the first being a deflection:

The second a tic-tac-goal off a pass from Marchessault.

The third period would see two more goals, one from Dustin Brown and one from Mark Stone.

The question coming into the night was who would be in net since Malcolm Subban was injured against the Arizona Coyotes and Marc-Andre Fleury had to step in for him in the second and third periods. The answer was that Fleury would get another game, but he showed no signs of fatigue as he performed incredibly well, making 36 saves on 38 shots while picking up the victory.

Jonathan Quick was not nearly as good, as his miserable season continued. He allowed five goals on 36 shots for just an .861 save percentage, although he made some good saves.

The Golden Knights power play generated 10 shots and six scoring chances across less than four minutes of power-play time as they scored three goals to up their success percentage on the season to 30 percent, but the Golden Knights’ excellent penalty kill was the real reason Vegas beat the Kings in this game.

The Golden Knights generated 15 shots at even strength and 23 across all strengths in the second period. The power plays played a significant role in turning around the period, especially as the Golden Knights saw a boost in possession after the power plays.

The best line in terms of possession for Vegas was the fourth, who saw an 80 percent shot share and 84.6 percent expected goal share when on the ice together at 5-on-5. The Golden Knights returned to third-line struggles at 5-on-5, however, as the line had just a 17.65 percent shot share.

The first pairing allowed a goal, as Brown found his way to the net behind Shea Theodore, but also drove the puck consistently well against top competition. The second pairing was similarly excellent, and weren’t on ice for a goal against. They’ve played lesser competition, but Nick Holden and Jon Merrill have been good.

Vegas generated the shots they needed to from the locations they needed to and that’s what won them the game. Even at even strength, where they scored (only, which feels weird to say) two goals, the Golden Knights had good shot placement.

Nobody was better than the second line in this game, even if they weren’t the top in possession, they scored four goals and had good, if not great, possession numbers (53.57 percent Corsi, 50 percent shot share) at 5-on-5. They need to be this special in further games because they’ve proven themselves to be difference makers.

The Golden Knights next face the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.