VGK finishes off sweep of LA Kings with 4-3 win
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren’t the only team victorious on Sunday, Feb 7 as Vegas’ first professional franchise added another win to its ledger.
After an early offensive battle, the Vegas Golden Knights managed to get their seventh win of the season and the sweep in their most recent two-game series.
Vegas beat the Los Angeles Kings, 4-3, from T-Mobile Arena, following their 5-2 win over the team on Friday, Feb 5.
“The bottom line [is], if we’re winning in a league that’s hard to do that. We’ll take it and try to get better every night,” head coach Pete DoBoer said. “It’s not just speed, it’s how hard they work in order to generate the turnovers that lead to the speed advantages that you create by turning pucks over. This team’s speed is created by their work away from the puck.”
The Knights prepare for another two-game home series against the Anaheim Ducks, starting Tuesday, Feb 9.
Vegas is now 7-1-1 on the season and second in the West Division.
Center Chandler Stephenson scored the last two goals for Vegas to secure the win.
Stephenson has three goals and five points on the season.
“One of our biggest assets as a team is we have good size and a lot of good speed too,” Stephenson said. “It helps us back off teams and lets us have control of the puck.”
The game started out as an offensive shootout, with five of the seven goals happening in the first period.
Goaltender Robin Lehner was in the net for Vegas with 29 saves and .906 save percentage.
Los Angeles jumped on the board first, scoring a goal 36 seconds into the game.
RIght-wing Reilly Smith tied the game 1-1 with a goal at around the six minute-mark of the first period.
It was Smith’s third goal of the season.
Defensemen Shea Theodore and center Jonathan Marchessault both assisted on Smith’s goal.
Theodore now has nine points on the season and Marchessault eight.
A little over a minute after Smith scored, the Kings responded with another goal, taking the lead 2-1.
It only took defensemen Zach Whitecloud 24 seconds to tie the game with assists from right-wing Alex Tuch and center Cody Glass.
The goal will go into the book as Whitecloud’s first career regular season goal, although he scored a goal for the Knights in the 2019-20 playoffs.
“Just special in the way that I was able to contribute to a team win,” Whitecloud said. “I have my [puck] from the bubble. This was just nice to contribute to the win and obviously nice to score too.”
The Knights took the lead for the first time in the game about 12 minutes into the first period with Stephenson’s first goal of the night.
Right-wing Mark Stone and left-wing Max Pacioretty were both credited with the assists on Stephenson’s goal.
“Coming in last year, it was a big change from what I was used to,” Stephenson said about his line with Stone and Pacioretty. “It’s the chemistry we’ve built, knowing exactly where each other are going to be and how each other play. It's a good cliche we have.”
Stone and Pacioretty lead the team in points with 14 and 11, respectively.
A scoreless second period for Vegas allowed the Kings to tie the game with a goal from center Jaret Anderson-Dolan.
The Knights began the third period on a power play due to a penalty to left-wing Carl Grudnstrom with just a second left in the second.
The Knights capitalized on the mistake with a power play goal scored by Stephenson with assists from Tuch and defensemen Alec Martinez.
“That’s definitely something we take pride in,” said Martinez. “Speed is hard to defend, you want to create it as much as you possibly can.”
Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo is still listed as out due to Covid-19 protocols and has missed two games.
“He started to skate on his own here so he’s slowly working out of protocol,” DeBoer said. “I think he’s just ready to get back. From what I understand, he’s probably going to miss one more game and then be able to get out of the protocol.”