Knights earn expansion-record 6th win in row
LOS ANGELES — The Vegas Golden Knights did it again.
Playing with confidence and speed, Vegas seems to establish new marks with every game and did so in its 3-2 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Kings.
David Perron scored the game-winning goal at 3:30 of overtime to give the Golden Knights (25-9-2) their sixth consecutive victory and extended their point streak to 11 games (10-0-1), the longest of any team in their inaugural season. It is the first time in NHL history that an expansion team won six games in a row.
Jonathan Marchessault and Brendan Leipsic registered the other Vegas goals. Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves.
Los Angeles (22-11-5) lost its second straight game and has dropped five of its past seven contests (2-3-2). Marian Gaborik and Drew Doughty registered goals, and Jonathan Quick made 36 saves.
Perron said he thinks the formula is simple for the unprecedented level of success his team has achieved. He not only credits his teammates but the support from the fans as additional motivation.
“We’ve been playing together for a while now,” Perron said. “Every night, we feel like we’re not only playing for us. We feel like we’re playing for the city.”
Perron beat Quick with a wrist shot to his short side for his ninth goal of the season with Reilly Smith earning the assist on the game-winner.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant is still taking a one-game-at-a-time approach. When asked if he checks the standings that show the Golden Knights leading the Pacific Division, he was honest but added a tinge of reality.
“Of course you look at the standings, I can’t lie,” said Gallant. “The reality is that there is so much of the season left to play so our position is meaningless. Once you get to late March and April, then you’re playing for positioning.”
The closeness of his newly formed team was demonstrated by their reaction to Leipsic’s goal. Though he has been a regular in the lineup, he hasn’t been able to find the net until tonight.
“The guys on the bench were jumping around. I think that said it all,” Gallant said.
Though the Kings earned a point primarily through the goaltending of Quick, Kings coach John Stevens was unhappy with the effort. His team continues to be sub-par against Pacific Division competition dropping its seventh game in 10 matches (3-4-3).
“This was one of our most disappointing efforts of the season,” Stevens said. “We had self-inflicted errors and we were probably lucky to get the point.”
Doughty concurred with his coach on the disappointing effort.
“We are lucky to get the point,” Doughty said. “Quick had to play well for us to earn the point.”
The Kings took a 1-0 lead on Gaborik’s sixth goal of the season at 8:13 of the first period. Gaborik was the beneficiary of a deflected wrist shot by Derek Forbort that glanced off him as he screened Fleury in front of the net. Doughty had the secondary assist.
Vegas tied the game at 1-1 on Marchessault’s 13th goal of the season at 18:34 of the second period. Quick stopped a slap shot by Colin Miller but was unable to control the puck, and Marchessault was left alone to Quick’s right to convert his third rebound attempt. Smith registered the secondary assist.
The Golden Knights took a 2-1 lead on Leipsic’s first goal of the season and first in a Vegas uniform at 11:10 of the third period. Los Angeles was unable to clear the zone after gaining possession as Cody Eakin forwarded the puck to Alex Tuch behind the net. Tuch found Leipsic to Quick’s right, and the center jammed home the puck for the lead goal.
Los Angeles tied the game at 2-2 on Doughty’s sixth goal of the season at 15:27 of the third. Vegas was short a man as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare went to the bench after breaking his stick. That allowed Jake Muzzin to find Doughty for a tip shot in the slot in front of Fleury.
NOTES: Vegas did not dress C Ryan Carpenter and D Brad Hunt. ... The Golden Knights conclude their 2017 schedule with a New Year’s Eve matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. ... Just prior to the contest, Los Angeles activated LW Kyle Clifford from injured reserve. Playing in his seventh game of the season, he finished with an even rating in 10:04 of ice time. ... Los Angeles scratched D Oscar Fantenberg, LW Andy Andreoff and LW Jussi Jokinen.