Golden Knights aim for another 2-game sweep


The Vegas Golden Knights will try to complete a two-game sweep for the ninth time this season when they face the Kings in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

The Golden Knights, coming in off a home sweep of Arizona and now four points behind first-place Colorado, won their third straight game in Monday night’s opener, 4-2.

The Kings, who trail fourth-place St. Louis by six points in the race for the final West Division playoff spot, looked like they might snap that streak when they took a 2-0 lead behind goals by Austin Wagner and Anze Kopitar. But Vegas rallied to tie it on a goal by Nicolas Roy and then a shorthanded score by Mark Stone with just 27 seconds remaining in the second period.

Alex Tuch gave Vegas its first lead with his 14th goal of the season early in the third and Max Pacioretty provided a key insurance goal at 8:22 with a milestone power-play goal, whipping a wrist shot from the top of the left circle by a Stone screen. It was the 300th goal of Pacioretty’s career, making him the 23rd American-born player to reach that mark in league history according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I thought that after hitting three posts in the last game that maybe it would take a while to get,” Pacioretty said. “Luckily, had a great screen from (Stone), so made it a lot earlier. I told him I was looking for a tap-in tonight, and that was pretty much as good as it gets.”

The goal was also Pacioretty’s 20th of the season, tied for seventh in the NHL entering Tuesday. It’s the eighth 20-goal season of his career.

“(He’s) probably the best goal scorer I’m ever going to play with,” Stone said. “I don’t know if there are five guys in the league that shoot it harder than him. And he has precision. When you give him just a little bit of an opportunity to score, he generally puts the puck in the back of the next.”

Pacioretty credited Stone’s screen as a key to the goal.

“You see on that goal, he tells me, ‘Just park it in front and I won’t hit you,'” Stone said. “It’s scary sometimes, but he doesn’t hit me. Those are the types of guys that you always trust to go in front of the net with.”

Tuch (14 games) and Stone (13) both ended long goal droughts while Pacioretty scored for just the second time in nine games.

“Really important,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “I think we said in the coaches’ room after the game that the right guys got goals tonight for us. They take a lot of responsibility for the offensive results of our team and they take that personally and it weighs on them.

“The fact they all got on the board tonight and looked good doing it, I think that’s real important for them and for us.”

For the Kings, it was the eighth loss in 11 games.

“There’s no excuse for tonight,” Wagner said. “We know that we need to be better, and we will get better and that’s our group. Our group’s great like that where we fix our mistakes and work hard.”

–Field Level Media

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