The Golden Knights trailed for 41 seconds Thursday night. Then they scored twice in 12 seconds and defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 at T-Mobile Arena.
First the Chicago goal. Artem Anisimov gave the the Blackhawks the lead at 7:14 of the third when he intercepted a clearing attempt from Nick Holden and roofed it past Marc-Andre Fleury on the backhand. Holden was skating back into the Vegas end and blindly threw the puck into the neutral zone and Anisimov was all alone.
The Chicago lead didn't last long. Jonathan Marchessault evened the game up 41 seconds later by firing it past Corey Crawford from the left faceoff dot.
Twelve seconds after that, Alex Tuch had an interception of his own in the attacking end. He played pitch-and-catch with Max Pacioretty in front of the net, and Tuch snuck it by Crawford to put the Golden Knights up 4-3.
It was the Golden Knights' seventh win in their last eight games, and Chicago's sixth loss in a row.
Come back to lasvegassun.com later for more coverage.
Hawks tie it up in second
The second period's scoring belonged to the visitors, and the period ended with a 2-2 score.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews was the first goal scorer, sneaking in behind Marc-Andre Fleury and banking a pass off his back and into the net for the first Blackhawks goal.
That trimmed the lead to 2-1 Vegas four minutes into the second.
Chicago controlled most of the period, and got rewarded with 3:45 left in the second. Chicago forward Patrick Kane's shot went off the endboards and bounced right to Dylan Strome, who fired a missile from a sharp angle to sneak by Fleury and even the game.
Oscar Lindberg almost had one for Vegas, and confusion ensued. The puck went into the net, goalie Corey Crawford was pushed into it and popped the net off its moorings. No goal was called on the ice. After review, the referees determined the puck was in the net before the net came off, but goaltender interference would wave the goal off. Vegas challenged and the referees went back to the replay, but ruled that there was goaltender interference. After everything, the score stayed 2-2.
The Blackhawks outshot the Golden knights 17-11 in the second period, and led 27-26 overall through 40 minutes.
Golden Knights storm out to lead
The Golden Knights this morning preached the importance of a quick start in Thursday's game. Reilly Smith scored at 1:28 of the first period and Deryk Engelland followed seven minutes later as the Golden Knights took a 2-0 lead after the first period against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.
Smith's goal will have its time on replays. Off the faceoff, Smith collected a rebound from a Max Pacioretty shot, flipped the puck over Chicago goalie Corey Crawford's stick and swiped it into the net while falling to the ground.
Engelland almost had his first goal of the season last week, but Ryan Reaves deflected it and grabbed the goal. This time Engelland's shot from almost the same spot on the ice beat Crawford clean to give Vegas a 2-0 lead.
The Blackhawks had two good looks that they could not capitalize on. First, Patrick Kane dangled in behind Marc-Andre Fleury and took aim behind the Vegas goaltender, but the puck trickled through the crease before Nate Schmidt swatted it away.
Then later in the frame, Kane fed Jonathan Toews, who rifled the initial shot off Fleury's shoulder. The puck clanged off the post on the put-back attempt by Dominik Kahun, then spun around on the goal line without going away before the Golden Knights cleared.
The last time the Chicago Blackhawks won a hockey game was the contest before the Golden Knights lit them up for eight goals. Losers of five straight including last night in Anaheim, the Blackhawks come into a 7 p.m. game tonight at T-Mobile Arena to meet a Golden Knights team looking for their seventh win in eight tries.
The Golden Knights remember what they did to Chicago last Tuesday, an 8-3 win, and expect the Blackhawks to come out surging to try to avoid that happening again.
“They haven’t had the best of luck lately, and you know what, they’re going to come out and have a really hard first 10 minutes because they’re probably a little bit aggravated of how the wins and losses have been going for them,” forward Alex Tuch said. “We just have to come out and match their intensity and have a really good start to the game.”
That Chicago played last night is not a green light for Vegas to take it easy. The Blackhawks lost the previous two times this year they were on the second half of a back-to-back, but both games went to overtime.
Forward Max Pacioretty said despite what people might think, playing two games in two days has its advantages.
“You’re in that game mode. You wake up the next morning, you don’t really have a skate, just kind of relax and do whatever it takes to get ready for the game,” he said. “Oftentimes I feel better early in a back-to-back so we gotta take that feeling away from them by making life hard on them by getting pucks deep and making them skate.”
The Golden Knights have never lost to the Blackhawks, winning earlier this year and sweeping the three-game set last season. Vegas matches up well in the special teams department, countering Chicago’s league-worst power play (12.0 percent) with the league’s second-best penalty kill (84.9 percent).
“They’re a team that’s fighting for their lives, so we know they’re going to play hard tonight,” Pacioretty said.
Emerson’s Prediction: Golden Knights 5, Blackhawks 1
Season record for predictions: Keefer 5-4, Emerson 2-2
Pick to score the Golden Knights’ first goal: William Karlsson
Season record for first goal scored: Keefer 1-for-9, Emerson 0-for-4
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-262, Blackhawks plus-242; over/under: 6 (minus-115, plus-105)
Golden Knights (15-13-1) (8-3-1 home)
Coach: Gerard Gallant (second season)
Goals leader: Cody Eakin (10)
Assists leader: Reilly Smith (13)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (2.40 gaa, .912 save percentage)
Chicago Blackhawks (9-15-5) (4-10-2 road)
Coach: Jeremy Colliton (first season)
Goals leader: Patrick Kane (13)
Assists leader: Patrick Kane (18)
Expected goalie: Corey Crawford (3.16 gaa, .903 save percentage)
Golden Knights expected game day roster
Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier, Ryan Carpenter, Reid Duke, Cody Eakin, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Tomas Nosek, Max Pacioretty, Ryan Reaves, Reilly Smith, Alex Tuch
Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Nick Holden, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore
Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban