January 24, 2018 / 6:30 AM / a month ago

Vegas routs Columbus, closes in on league lead

EditorsNote: revises lede to remove Karlsson assist

William Karlsson scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas.

James Neal, Colin Miller, Brad Hunt and Erik Haula also scored goals for Vegas, which improved to an NHL best 19-2-2 at home. The Golden Knights also crept to within one point of Tampa Bay for best record in the National Hockey League with their 32nd victory, just one off the NHL record for wins in an inaugural season.

Markus Nutivaara, Josh Anderson and Matt Calvert scored goals and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots for Columbus, which lost for the third time in four games.

Karlsson, selected in the expansion draft from Columbus, where he scored a total of 18 goals in 165 games, gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead when he backhanded a rebound of a Deryk Engelland shot from in front of the crease for his 26th goal of the season.

Columbus, playing just its second game in 11 days, rebounded to take a 2-1 lead on goals by Nutivaara off a nifty between the legs pass from Nick Foligno and Anderson, who jammed in a pass from All-Star defenseman Seth Jones for his team-leading 14th goal of the season.

However, Vegas, which outshot the Blue Jackets 20-7 in the second period, answered with three goals in a 4:16 span to take control.

Miller started the blitz with a one-timer from the slot just inside the blue line off a pass from Nate Schmidt at 7:59 of the middle period. Hunt then gave Vegas a 3-2 lead at 9:47 when he blasted a slap shot from the top of the left circle over Bobrovsky’s right shoulder on a power-play for his first goal of the season. Neal followed at 12:15 with his 22nd of the season and fourth in four games, deflecting a puck off Foligno’s stick.

Karlsson extended the lead to 5-2 midway through the third period with his Western Conference-leading 27th goal with a breakaway goal that he backhanded past Bobrovsky. Calvert cut it to 5-3 when he ripped a one-timer off a pass from Foligno at 12:53, but Haula sealed the win with an empty-net power play goal at 18:58.

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