LAS VEGAS (AP)Vegas stumbled into the All-Star break with one victory in eight games, but since then, the Golden Knights are on fire with three blowout wins in a row.
The latest occurred Sunday with a 7-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in which seven Vegas players had two points. The Knights scored five times in the third period to break open a one-goal game.
Michael Amadio, William Carrier, Jack Eichel, Phil Kessel and Shea Theodore each had a goal and an assist. Paul Cotter and Brett Howden added a goal each for Vegas. Reilly Smith and William Karlsson each had two assists.
Isac Lundestrom had a goal and an assist, and Frank Vatrano also scored for the Ducks. John Gibson finished with 32 saves.
After heading into the All-Star break at 1-5-2, the Knights have outscored their last three opponents by a combined 17-4 to take a three-point lead in the Pacific Division.
”I think you’re kind of limping into the break a little bit,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. ”Everyone knows it’s coming. You’re on the road and things aren’t happening for you, so mentally you’re a little bit challenged. Coming out of the break, you’re refreshed. That mental sort of weight is gone. You’re starting over. The history of scoring in our room is there, so we knew it wasn’t going to go on forever.”
The Knights outshot Anaheim 12-5 in the first period and dominated play nearly throughout. But they held just a 1-0 lead on Paul Cotter’s rebound goal 2:08 into the game.
The teams traded goals in the second period – Howden scoring for the Knights and Vatrano for the Ducks.
Anaheim nearly tied the game early in the third period, but Ryan Strome was stuffed on a breakaway by Knights goalie Adin Hill. With Logan Thompson week to week with a lower-body injury, Hill is Vegas’ starter for the near term, and he made 23 saves.
”I was just trying to be patient and wait for him to make the first move,” Hill said of Strome’s shot attempt. ”I think he was trying to kind of go above the pad there and kind of whiffed on it a bit. But it hit my pad and stayed out.”
Then the Knights took over.
Theodore scored at 6:40, Kessel at 8:11 and Eichel at 11:53 to make it 5-1.
Those goals not only helped ensure the Knights would continue their sudden hot play, but also handed the Ducks their second loss in a row after their best stretch of the season. They had gone 4-0-1 before losing to Pittsburgh on Friday and then Vegas.
”I think the missed breakaway that would’ve evened it up would’ve certainly helped,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. ”Vegas got a couple of hard-working, good-bounce goals, and then we just fell apart trying to do everybody else’s job in our own zone.”
Anaheim added a goal when Lundestrom scored at 13:34. He also had the primary assist on the other Ducks goal.
Then Amadio and Carrier answered for Vegas.
Anaheim defenseman John Klingberg (seven goals, 13 assists) did not play because of an illness and was replaced by Colton White. Klingberg had a goal and two assists in his previous two games. … Howden has points in consecutive games for the first time since a five-game streak Jan. 24, 2022-Feb. 8, 2022. … The Knights’ Smith has points in three straight games (one goal, three assists).
Anaheim: Against Buffalo at home Wednesday.
Vegas: Against San Jose at home Thursday.
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