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3-goal 3rd lifts Knights over Panthers

The Vegas Golden Knights scored three goals in the third period on Thursday, Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers to notch a 4-2 win over the Eastern Conference foe.

“The guys did a good job of staying in the moment,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “There were some different things that happened through the course of the game that you can look at as adversity. We kept playing for the next shift and it finally went our way in the third.”

Vegas got goals from three different goal scorers in the third period. Center Jack Eichel tied the game at two when on a breakaway chance. Next was left-wing William Carrier who collided with Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky as the puck deflected off Carrier’s skate and snuck its way into the net. Center William Karlsson put the insurance goal up with less than two minutes to play when he netted an empty net goal.

It was Eichel’s 15th goal of the season for him.

“He’s unbelievable,” goalie Adin Hill said. “That’s why he’s an elite player in this league. His hands, his speed, the way he can control the puck and his body is top level and that’s why he is who he is. He made an unbelievable play and a great goal.”

Eichel finished his night with 10 shots, the most he’s had in a game since Dec. 2018. He is the fourth Golden Knight to have 10 or more shots in a game in team history.

With the win, Vegas improves to 28-13-2 on the season, good for 58 points in the Pacific Division. The Knights have regained the outright lead over the Kings in the division.

Vegas has seemed to correct their earlier home struggles as they have now won five of their last six at home and hold a 13-10 mark at home this season.

Right-wing Keegan Kolesar was the only Golden Knight to have a multi-point game as he had two assists in this one. Kolesar also served a five-minute penalty for fighting in the first period.

Hill picked up his 10th win this season as a member of the Golden Knights. He is now 10-3-1 on the year and he finished his night with 37 saves on 39 shots faced, good for a final save percentage of .949.

This was the first of two meetings between these two teams. The next time Vegas and Florida will square off is Mar. 7, which will take place at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

Vegas continues their homestand on Saturday, Jan. 14 as they welcome the Edmonton Oilers to T-Mobile Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Vegas captain Mark Stone left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury and did not return. No timetable has been set at this time for Stone. Stone has appeared in each of the 43 games so far this season.

Former Vegas Golden Knight Nick Cousins wasted no time lighting the lamp for the Panthers. Cousins scored on the first shot for Florida just 2:04 into the contest to give the Panthers the early 1-0 lead. This was the only goal of the opening frame.

After giving up this early goal on the opening shot, Hill went on to save 37 of the next 38 shots he faced.

Center Nicolas Roy got the home squad on the board less than five minutes into the second period to tie the game at one apiece.

“It was kind of a broken play there,” Roy said. “It kind of went over the d’s stick there and Kolesar made an awesome play to me backdoor. I pretty much had an empty net so it was a really nice pass.”

With the goal, Roy extended his point streak to four games. Roy has five points during the four-game stretch (three goals, two assists).

Both teams found success on the power play in this one. Karlsson’s empty net goal was also a power play goal after Florida had lost a challenge and had to serve the delay-of-game 2 minute minor as a result of the lost challenge.

Center Sam Reinhart scored Florida’s power play goal with 7:13 to go in the second period to put the visitors up 2-1.

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