Published Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 | 3:45 p.m.
Updated Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 | 7:41 p.m.
The Los Angeles Kings fought back from down three goals to make it exciting Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena, but the Golden Knights hung on to earn their seventh straight home win.
Trailing only one goal in the final minutes, the Kings pulled their goalie in desperation, but Alex Tuch scored an empty net goal to give the Golden Knights the 4-2 win.
The crowd of 18,211 roared as Vegas pulled within one point of the first place Kings.
The Kings took advantage of a Golden Knights’ defensive zone turnover to cut the deficit to 3-1 entering the third period.
Brad Hunt’s pass to Erik Haula was broken up, and Kings’ forward Tyler Toffoli found Trevor Lewis all by himself in front of the Vegas goal. Lewis deked past goaltender Maxime Lagace and backhanded it into the goal to get Los Angeles on the board.
The Golden Knights outshot the Kings 20-9 in the second period but Darcy Kuemper was able to keep the puck out of the net.
Vegas is 8-2-0 when leading after two periods this season.
Golden Knights lead 3-0 after first period
The Golden Knights’ first look at Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goaltender Jonathan Quick was a brief one.
Vegas chased Quick off the ice with three unanswered goals in the first period Friday, and lead the Kings 3-0 at the intermission.
William Karlsson opened the scoring in the first minute of the game, flying down the left boards and beating Quick with a shot under his pads.
Midway through the period, Cody Eakin ended a 13-game goalless drought to make it 2-0 Vegas.
Karlsson then got his second goal of the game, and ninth of the season, when Quick made a mistake handling the puck behind the net. Reilly Smith stole the puck and fed it to Karlsson, who tapped it into the empty net.
Quick was then pulled in favor of backup Darcy Kuemper, who is 3-0-1 on the season.
Maxime Lagace stopped all 13 of the Kings shots for the Golden Knights.
The Golden Knights host a potential rival tonight for the first time in the regular season, as the first-place Los Angeles Kings come to T-Mobile Arena.
The Kings have been the class of the Pacific Division through the first quarter of the NHL season, and have been particularly impressive on the road with a record of 6-2-0 away from the Staples Center.
Despite that, the Golden Knights are nipping at the Kings’ heels and can pull within one point of the division lead with a win tonight.
“They’re a real good hockey team,” Gallant said. “They play a real hard, 200-foot game and they score goals. They have young players that are not as well known but have a lot of talent.”
Gallant isn’t buying into the rivalry in the making between the two teams.
“For me it’s another game against a real good opponent,” We have to play our best against every team to get a win and L.A. is a good team.”
Captain centerman Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in goals (9) and assists (14) and has stepped up admirably on the offensive end of the ice after veteran Jeff Carter suffered a leg injury on Oct. 19.
Speaking of injuries, the Golden Knights finally received some positive news in net this week. Malcolm Subban, who suffered a lower-body injury on Oct. 21, was activated from the injured reserve on Saturday and will be on the bench for Vegas tonight.
Prior to the injury Subban was 2-0 with a goals against average of 2.06 and an impressive .936 save percentage.
He will be the backup to Maxime Lagace, who will play opposite of the Kings’ Jonathan Quick. The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner has struggled lately, losing his last four starts.
Prediction : Golden Knights 3, Kings 2
Season record for predictions: 10-7
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, Dish Network 5414)
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-105, Total 6 minus-110 to the under
Golden Knights (11-6-1) (7-1-0 home)
Coach: Gerard Gallant
Goal leader: James Neal (10)
Assist leader: David Perron (11)
Expected goalie: Maxime Lagace (3-5-1, 3.87 goals against average)
Los Angeles Kings (12-6-2) (6-2-0 away)
Coach: John Stevens
Goal leader: Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli (9)
Assist leader: Anze Kopitar (14)
Expected goalie: Jonathan Quick (9-6-1, 2.31 goals against average)
Golden Knights game day roster
Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Tomas Nosek, David Perron, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.
Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brad Hunt, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.
Goalies (2): Maxime Lagace and Malcolm Subban