Second line shines as Golden Knights defeat Kraken 4-1 for 50th win of season
The Vegas Golden Knights picked up win No. 50 on the season with a 4-1 victory against the Seattle Kraken Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Michael Amadio scored twice as he, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson combined for three goals and eight points, giving Vegas a 3-1 lead after two periods. Jonathan Marchessault added a power-play strike early in the third period to put this one out of reach.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 20 of 21 shots for his sixth win of the season; he has yet to lose in regulation.
The Golden Knights now need just one point in Thursday's regular-season finale to clinch the Western Conference.
The Golden Knights opened the scoring for the third game in a row when Amadio scored 5:37 into the contest. Karlsson cut into the zone and protected the puck as he skated through four Kraken defenders before dropping it to Smith, who then found Amadio for the backdoor tap-in.
Yanni Gourde evened things up just past the nine-minute mark as Seattle took advantage of a neutral-zone turnover.
Though Vegas was the better team early, Seattle bounced back in the second half to make it a relatively evenly-matched period; Vegas led 10-8 in shots.
Amadio scored his second of the game exactly two minutes into the middle frame to give Vegas a 2-1 lead. It proved to be the game-winning goal.
Once again, Smith was the set-up man, finding Amadio in the crease with a sleek feed for another full-line goal.
Amadio came close to scoring a hat trick on a forehand-backhand move, but Kraken netminder Joey Daccord came up with the stop. However, Smith followed the play and jammed home the rebound for his 25th tally of the season, making it a 3-1 game just under 15 minutes into the period.
Seattle recorded five of its nine second-period shots in the final 2:51 of the period, going more than 10 minutes with just one shot on goal.
Shortly after the Kraken hit the post at one end of the ice, Seattle took two penalties on the same play, setting up a full two minutes of 5-on-3 action for the Golden Knights.
Bruce Cassidy called a timeout to draw up a play, and Marchessault lit the lamp just 18 seconds later, giving the Golden Knights a commanding 4-1 lead just 3:23 into the third.
With the secondary assist on the play, Alex Pietrangelo tied his career high in points (54).
For most of the frame, the only shot on goal for Seattle was a dump-in from the neutral zone that happened to go on net. In the end, Vegas outshot Seattle 11-4 in the third, with three of Seattle's four shots coming in the final 1:47 of regulation.
The Golden Knights delivered a complete 60-minute performance with contributions from up and down the lineup.
It was a dominant display by a fresh Vegas squad going up against a sluggish Seattle club skating in the second half of a back-to-back. The Golden Knights played a structured and balanced game to wrap up the regular season with a 25-15-1 mark on home ice.
Vegas scored on the power play, went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and scored all four goals from within 10 feet of the net.
The second line led the way, combining for 13 shots and managing a 65 percent Corsi share (13-7), an 11-3 edge in shots (78.57 percent) and an 86.31 percent expected goal share in 10:34.
The Golden Knights never trailed and scored the only three goals in the final 40 minutes of action to go along with a stifling defensive effort, particularly in the third period.
"I like the way we finished the game," Cassidy said. "If you can really put your thumb down on teams in the third period, it bodes really well for the playoffs. ... You have to get in the habit of playing a full 60. ... I've seen it at home recently against Minnesota, LA, Seattle. We're getting a lot closer to what we want to look like for that full 60."
Amadio had another impressive showing and now has 16 goals on the season, tied for fifth on the team. Prior to last season with the Golden Knights, Amadio had just 16 career goals in 176 games.
Brossoit was solid once again, picking up his fourth consecutive win. He didn't need to do much, as the Golden Knights held a 37-21 edge in shots on the night, but he kept the Kraken to one goal in the first period during Seattle's only push of the game.
Brayden Pachal was back in the lineup for the first time in three months, replacing the injured Zach Whitecloud on the third pairing. Pachal finished the game with two shots, three hits, three blocks and a plus-one rating in 17:10.
These teams will square off in a rematch Thursday night in Seattle in the final game of the regular season.