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Golden Knights edge Canucks 4-3 for fifth straight road win

The Vegas Golden Knights relied on a strong start to secure a 4-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.

The Golden Knights scored first for the ninth time this month, improving their record to 9-0-0 when taking a 1-0 lead in March.

Vegas took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and grabbed a 3-1 lead midway through the second period. J.T. Miller scored twice for Vancouver, and the Canucks added another goal in the third period, but Vegas held its lead and closed out the victory.

The win puts Vegas ahead of Los Angeles by two points atop the Pacific Division standings.

Jonathan Quick recorded his fifth win in six starts with Vegas and the 375th win of his career, propelling him ahead of John Vanbiesbrouck into second place on the all-time wins list among American-born goaltenders.

Notably, Logan Thompson was activated off injured reserve and served as Quick’s backup in the contest. Thompson has not played since Feb. 9.

Phil Kessel scored for the second straight game to give Vegas the early lead just over three minutes into the contest. He intercepted a cross-ice pass in the defensive zone and scored on the ensuing breakaway on Vegas’ first shot of the game.

Reilly Smith netted his 24th of the season 9:10 later, extending his point streak to nine games, which ties the franchise record. William Karlsson recorded the lone assist on the play after Vegas forced a turnover behind the goal line. Karlsson found Smith in the slot for the lethal one-timer to make it 2-0 at 12:11.

It was a dominant frame for the Golden Knights, who were swarming throughout the period. If not for Thatcher Demko, it could have been a 4-0 game. The Golden Knights led 14-5 in shots, held a 68 percent Corsi share, had a 7-2 edge in scoring chances and managed an 88.78 percent expected goal share. But Demko’s efforts kept his team in it early.

His teammates responded.

The Canucks outscored Vegas 3-2 and were the better team the rest of the way.

Vancouver led 14-3 in high-danger Corsi and 25-10 in scoring chances at 5-on-5 in the second and third periods combined; the Canucks were especially strong in the third period, where they recorded a 74.19 percent Corsi share, led 13-2 in scoring chances and held an 88.78 percent expected goal share at 5-on-5.

The Canucks cut the deficit to one just under eight minutes into the second period.

A Vegas power play proved costly for the Golden Knights as an aggressive attempted keep at the blue line led to a breakaway the other way. Shea Theodore got back to interfere with Miller, who was awarded a penalty shot. Miller’s patience paid off as he beat Quick on the backhand, marking the first penalty-shot goal scored against Vegas in franchise history.

But the Golden Knights never surrendered their lead.

Teddy Blueger scored his second goal as a member of the Golden Knights (after scoring two goals in 45 games with Pittsburgh) off a give-and-go at the side of the net to make it 3-1 just 2:25 later.

Then, just 2:20 after that, Miller scored his second of the game on a screened shot on the power play to bring Vancouver within one.

Pavel Dorofeyev had the last say in the second period, restoring Vegas’ two-goal lead with 2:41 remaining in the frame. Dorofeyev’s redirect deflected over Demko to give Vegas the 4-2 lead through two periods.

Dorofeyev has four goals and six points in his last five games. The goal proved to be the game-winner, Dorofeyev’s second in the last two games.

Phillip Di Giuseppe scored the lone goal of the final frame, pouncing on a rebound and beating Quick to the far side of the net to make it 4-3 with just over eight minutes remaining.

The Canucks eventually pulled Demko for the extra attacker, but Quick and the Golden Knights shut down 14 of 15 Canucks shots in the third to pull out the road win, Vegas’ fifth straight.

The Golden Knights faded down the stretch and did not deliver a consistent 60-minute effort. They were outshot 29-13 in the final two periods and surrendered way too many high-danger looks.

But Quick was strong late, stopping 14 of 15 shots in the third and 26 of 29 in the final 40 minutes. In total, Quick stopped 31 of 34 shots for a .912 save percentage, improving his record to 5-1-0 with the Golden Knights.

“Always happy to win, right? It’s that time of year,” Cassidy said after the game. “There’s always things we’re going to need to correct. I didn’t like the way we finished the game, obviously. … Clearly, we were the better team early, [Vancouver was] the better team late; in between we did enough to win. … If we want to be a more complete team, we’re gonna have to be better for the full 60 minutes.”

Despite the tale of two games, Vegas found a way to win on the road against a hot goaltender, and the Golden Knights are two points richer as a result.

Vegas will take on the Calgary Flames on Thursday before wrapping up the road trip on Saturday in the first half of a home-and-home against Edmonton.