Hours before the biggest football game of the year, the Vegas Golden Knights secured a 7-2 victory over Pacific Division rival Anaheim Ducks inside T-Mobile Arena, VGK’s first home game since returning from a season-long six game road trip.
“The guys are feeling it right now,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You come out of the break [all-star break], you’re freshed and that mental weight is gone. It’s almost like starting over.”
This win puts Vegas at 32-18-14 on the season with 68 points in the Pacific Division, good enough for a three-point division lead over Seattle, Edmonton and the Los Angeles Kings.
The next time the Golden Knights will hit the ice for some game action is Thursday, Feb.16 as they square off with the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. This will be game two of a three-game homestand for Vegas.
So far this season, the Sharks and Golden Knights have each won a game in the season series. Both of those wins in the series came on the road with Vegas winning 4-2 on Oct. 25 in San Jose, CA and the Sharks winning 5-2 on Nov. 15 inside T-Mobile Arena.
It was the first time all season that the Golden Knights have scored seven or more goals at home in a single game. The next highest total they had scored before Sunday’s game was six goals when they beat the Washington Capitals 6-2 on Jan. 21, the last home game before the recent six-game road trip.
“We seem to be in [a] good position a lot of the time,” center William Karlsson said. “Let’s not forget our defense is doing a good job as well.”
Karlsson finished the day with two assists, both coming in the third period when he assisted on defenseman Shea Theodore’s goal to give Vegas a 3-1 lead and he also assisted on right-winger Micael Amadio’s goal to make a 6-2 game.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Golden Knights announced that goalie Logan Thompson will be out week-to-week with a lower body injury, promoting Adin Hill to the number one goalie spot.
Fellow goalie Laurent Brossoit was called up from the Henderson Silver Knights to fill the backup goalie position with Hill being promoted in place of the injured Thompson.
Hill finished the game with 23 saves on 25 shots faced for a final save percentage of .920. Hill’s opposition, John Gibson, stopped 32 of the 39 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .821.
“It was a good game,” Hill said. “I thought we played well the whole game and then in the third period, pucks just started finding their way into the net for us.”
This is the third game in a row that the Golden Knights have put up more shots on goal than their opponent. With that, Vegas now has scored five or more goals in each of the three games since returning from the all-star break.
It is the first time since the 202-21 season that the Golden Knights have scored five or more goals in three straight games. The last time it was done was Apri. 21, 24 and 28 of 2021.
Five different Golden Knights each had a point and an assist on the day and seven different Golden Knights had multi-point games.
One of those goal scorers for the Golden Knights was center Jack Eichel who now has a team-high 12 multi-point games and also has back-to-back multi-point games for the first time since Nov. 21 and 23.
Center Paul Cotter got the scoring going in the first period when he scored his tenth goal of the season only 2:08 into the game to give Vegas the early 1-0 lead.
Cotter’s tenth goal now means that Vegas has 10 players with double-digit goals this season. Vegas and Seattle are the only two teams in the league that have 10 players with double-digit goals this season.
That final goal from Cotter was part of a 5-1 third period for the Knights who led 2-1 heading into the final 20 minutes of play. Vegas scored those five goals in a 9:02 span.