January 19, 2018 / 3:40 AM / 8 months ago

Knights conquer Lightning in battle of NHL's best

David Perron had a goal and an assist, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots to lead the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-1 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

James Neal, Nate Schmidt and William Karlsson also scored goals for Vegas, which snapped a two-game losing streak, its longest since Nov. 28-30.

Ondrej Palat ended a 21-game goalless streak with a second-period, power-play tally for Tampa Bay, which was coming out of its bye week. Andrei Vasilevskiy, the NHL leader in wins (27) and shutouts (six), made 26 saves but has now surrendered 19 goals in his last four games.

The Golden Knights, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Lightning 4-3 on a Shea Theodore goal with 2.3 seconds remaining on Dec. 19 in Las Vegas, swept the regular-season series with Tampa Bay, which lost for the fourth time in six games.

Vegas, coming in off a 1-0 loss at Nashville on Tuesday that saw Predators’ goalie Juuse Saros make 43 saves, needed only 56 seconds to score Thursday. Neal redirected a wrist shot from the right point by defenseman Deryk Engelland, who garnered his 100th career point with the assist. It was Neal’s 19th goal of the season.

Schmidt made it 2-0 at 16:03 with a one-timer off a Brayden McNabb pass that knuckled over the left shoulder of Vasilevskiy.

Tampa Bay closed to within 2-1 midway through the second period when Palat jammed in a pass from Steven Stamkos from the right side of the crease.

Perron, using a nifty toe drag to get around defenseman Anton Stralman, answered with his 10th goal of the year — the sixth Vegas player to reach double digits — snapping in a wrist shot from the slot at 17:43 of the second period.

The Golden Knights made it 4-1 just 18 seconds into the third period when Karlsson rifled a wrist shot from the top of the right circle past Vasilevsky’s blocker for his 24th goal of the season.

The Lightning played without All-Star defenseman and 2017 Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman, who is expected to miss three to six weeks after sustaining a lower-body injury in Tampa Bay’s final game before the bye week, a 5-1 loss to Calgary on Jan. 11.

—Field Level Media

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