Golden Knights collect 14th road win of season, defeat Blackhawks 4-1
Reilly Smith scored his league-leading fourth shorthanded goal of the year.
The Vegas Golden Knights completed the sweep of their two-game road trip with a 4-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at United Center.
The victory follows Vegas’ 6-5 win against Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Chandler Stephenson snapped a 16-game goalless drought, Reilly Smith scored two goals and Phil Kessel notched his sixth of the season in the win.
Logan Thompson made a number of fantastic saves, particularly in the third period when Chicago made its strongest push of the night. Thompson stopped 24 of 25 shots for a .960 save percentage and is now 14-7-0 on the season.
The Golden Knights opened the scoring on the power play as Stephenson converted for his first goal since Nov. 10 against Buffalo. From the side of the net, Mark Stone found Stephenson for the backdoor finish.
you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him 💪 pic.twitter.com/YFUxjNky69— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 16, 2022
It was the Golden Knights’ best period of the game from a possession perspective, as Vegas came away with an 87.06 percent expected goal share and carried 62.5 percent of the scoring chance share while leading 12-7 in shots.
Chicago got a power play early in the second, but it was Vegas that lit the lamp.
Smith scored his first of the night just under four minutes into the middle frame for his fourth shorthanded tally of the year. He leads all NHL players in the category and trails only two teams (Minnesota and Vegas, who have six and five, respectively).
It was William Karlsson who did the work, however. Karlsson intercepted the puck at the blue line, raced Patrick Kane down the ice and took a backhand shot on Blackhawks netminder Arvid Soderblom. He followed the rebound to the side wall, won a puck battle and found Smith wide open in the slot for the one-timer.
"Nice power play you got there. Would be a shame if someone... ruined it."— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 16, 2022
- Reilly Smith, probably pic.twitter.com/eXfEs9tvtH
Karlsson has recorded the primary assist on three of Smith’s four shorthanded goals this year.
In an otherwise low-event period, Jared Tinordi delivered a crushing hit on Paul Cotter, who left the game and did not return. Bruce Cassidy did not have an update on his condition after the game.
The Golden Knights led 2-0 after two periods and added to that lead when Kessel scored 8:08 into the third period. The cross-crease play was set up by Daniil Miromanov, who had another impressive performance.
Phil Kessel makes it 3-0! 🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/GV776MCKjx— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) December 16, 2022
The Blackhawks’ effort kicked up several gears later in the third period, but Thompson stood tall to keep Chicago at bay. He was unable to come away with a shutout, however, as Taylor Raddysh beat him short-side at 16:06.
Taylor Raddysh snaps home the wonderful setup from Jonathan Toews for his 9th goal of the year, Chicago within 2!#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/ncFLOgYcBk— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) December 16, 2022
Smith later put home the empty-net goal for his 14th of the season; he is now tied with Jonathan Marchessault for the team lead.
Brayden Pachal recorded the secondary assist on the play for his first career NHL point; he and Miromanov were the only two Vegas defensemen to find the scoresheet in the win.
Vegas was very efficient and effective on special teams. The Golden Knights had just one power play but made the most of it, and they finished the game 2-for-2 on the penalty kill with a plus-one goal differential thanks to Smith’s power-kill strike.
It was another strong showing by the Misfit Line as all three members had multi-point efforts.
The win improves Vegas’ road record to a staggering 14-2-1.
The Golden Knights will head home for a four-game homestand starting Saturday against the New York Islanders. Jack Eichel — currently on injured reserve — will be eligible to return.