AP Photo/John Locher
Published Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 | 4:47 p.m.
Updated Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 | 7:40 p.m.
The Golden Knights overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Midway through the third period, Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault, who was taken from Florida during June’s expansion draft, threw a wrist shot at the goal during a power play.
Erik Haula was parked in front of Panthers’ goalie James Reimer, and tipped it past him into the net to give Vegas its 13th home win in 16 tries.
In the closing minutes Marchessault and James Neal scored empty net goals to ice the game.
Florida raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game, but were held scoreless by goaltender Malcolm Subban from that point. Subban saved 16-of-18 shots to record his fourth-straight win.
Vegas got first-period goals from defenders Nate Schmidt and Colin Miller, and outshot Florida 40-18.
Next up for the Golden Knights is a date with the best team in the NHL. Vegas hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night.
Golden Knights, Panthers tied 2-2 after two periods
After a fast-paced second period, things slowed down over the next 20 minutes for the Golden Knights and Panthers.
The teams will head to the final period tied 2-2 after a scoreless second period Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas had two power play opportunities but weren’t able to muster much offense during either against the Panthers’ 25th-ranked penalty kill.
The Golden Knights have outshot Florida 20-16 through 40 minutes, and are 4-2-1 when entering the third period tied this season.
Golden Knights, Panthers tied 2-2 after one period
The Golden Knights are tied 2-2 after a first period that resembled a track meet more than a hockey game.
Early on, the Panthers did something opposing teams have struggled to do this season -- quiet T-Mobile Arena.
Florida scored back-to-back goals in less than three minutes to jump out to a 2-0 lead over the Golden Knights.
Radim Vrbata scored first on the power play. He received a cross-ice pass from Denis Malgin and slapped a one-timer past Golden Knights’ goalie Malcolm Subban.
Minutes later, the Panthers added another when Mike Matheson was allowed to walk in and rip a slap shot past Subban to make it 2-0.
Vegas would get the crowd back into it though, scoring consecutive goals of its own to tie the game late in the period.
Nate Schmidt scored on a one timer for his second goal of the season to cut the deficit to one.
Colin Miller then tied the game with a hard shot from the blue line that found its way past Florida goalie James Reimer.
The Golden Knights host the Florida Panthers tonight, for the third game of a five-game homestand at T-Mobile Arena.
It’s one game removed from an emotional win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Marc-Andre Fleury faced his former team for the first time.
Tonight is a similar situation for head coach Gerard Gallant, who was surprisingly fired from Florida on Nov. 27, 2016. Gallant said the game holds no significant meaning to him, other than he knows a lot of the players on the other side of the ice.
Gallant spoke glowingly of many Panthers in the pregame press conference, including Vincent Trocheck who leads Florida with 13 goals and 19 assists.
It’s also a reunion game for Golden Knights’ forwards Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault. Smith was traded to the Golden Knights for a fourth round pick during the summer and Marchessault was left exposed by Florida during June’s expansion draft despite scoring 30 goals a season ago.
In net for the Golden Knights will be Malcolm Subban after sitting out the last two with the return of Fleury.
Florida has struggled this season to a dismal record of 12-15-5 and the Golden Knights will want to win this game for Gallant.
Prediction : Golden Knights 6, Panthers 1
Season record for predictions: 17-12
Puck drops: 5:00 p.m.
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink Prism 1760)
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-175, Total 6 minus-115 to the under
Golden Knights (20-9-2) (12-2-1 home)
Coach: Gerard Gallant
Goal leader: William Karlsson (15)
Assist leader: David Perron (17)
Expected goalie: Malcolm Subban (7-2-0, 2.33 goals against average)
Florida Panthers (12-15-5) (6-9-2 away)
Coach: Bob Boughner
Goal leader: Vincent Trocheck (13)
Assist leader: Jonathan Huberdeau (23)
Expected goalie: James Reimer (6-8-4, 3.48 goals against average)
Golden Knights game day roster
Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Tomas Nosek, David Perron, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.
Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.
Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban