December 31, 2018 / 4:09 AM / 5 months ago

Vegas hammers Arizona, moves to tie atop Pacific

Paul Stastny and Brandon Pirri each had a goal and an assist and Marc-Andre Fleury had 29 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights moved into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with a 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night in Glendale, Ariz.

Ryan Carpenter, Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith also scored goals for Vegas which also moved into a tie with Winnipeg and Calgary for most points in the Western Conference with 50. However, the Central Division-leading Jets still have four games in hand on the Golden Knights while the Flames have three games in hand.

It was the third straight victory for the Golden Knights who extended their games with a point streak to six (4-0-2). Fleury picked up his league-leading 22nd victory in net as Vegas improved to 14-3-3 in its last 20 games.

Alex Galchenyuk scored for Arizona. Darcy Kuemper finished with 33 saves while losing for the seventh time (1-7-1) in his last nine starts.

Stastny gave Vegas a 1-0 lead at the 3:35 mark of the first period with his fifth goal of the season, backhanding a shot from the right side of the net off a pass from Pirri.

The Coyotes appeared to tie the game on a Nick Schmaltz goal midway through the second period but the Golden Knights successfully challenged that Vinnie Hinostroza was offside on the play.

Vegas then increased its lead to 2-0 five minutes later on Smith’s ninth goal of the season, tapping in a Brad Hunt pass into a wide-open right side of the net.

Arizona cut it to 2-1 with a power play goal during a 5-on-3 advantage after Alex Tuch was penalized for an illegal check to the head of Nick Cousins and Stastny was called for slashing Schmaltz just 33 seconds later.

Galchenyuk needed just nine seconds during the two-man advantage to score his sixth goal of the season, firing a wrist shot from the right circle inside the far post past Fleury’s blocker side.

But Vegas broke the game open with three goals in the span of 7:23 in the third period.

Eakin made it 3-1 with his first goal in 13 games, reaching behind Kuemper to poke in a loose puck by the goal line.

Pirri followed with his fifth goal in six games with a breakaway goal, firing a wrist shot from the right circle past Kuemper’s blocker side.

Carpenter then added a short-handed goal, his second of the season, to end the scoring.

—Field Level Media

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