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April 18, 2019

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Third line steps up again as Golden Knights start road trip with win


Noah K. Murray / AP

Golden Knights left wing Tomas Nosek celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period, Wednesday, Dec.12, 2018, in New York. The Golden Knights won 3-2.

The Golden Knights took a season-low 17 shots on goal Wednesday, but a third-period score by Tomas Nosek was the difference as Vegas earned a 3-2 road victory against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center.

It was the first win in franchise history against the Islanders, the last team that Vegas had not beaten. The Golden Knights had lost the previous two meetings.

Here are three takeaways from the victory:

Third line finding scoring touch

Nosek’s third-period goal completed the scoring trifecta for his line over the last three games. Ryan Carpenter scored in Vegas’ last game on Sunday against Dallas, and Oscar Lindberg potted one the day before in Los Angeles.

“I was joking around the bench, I told him that. I told him, ‘(Lindberg) had scored and then I had scored so it was his turn,’” Carpenter said to AT&T SportsNet. “I think we went out there next shift and got it.”

The key to their success late has been forechecking and the pressure they’ve been putting on opposing goalies. Nosek’s goal was the product of a Lindberg shot that Robin Lehner could not cover. Nosek found a lane to the net and drove to the crease to pick up any potential rebound, and sure enough he was there to bury the loose puck. All three recent goals were scored in that manner.

“We focused for every shift and got the lucky rebound and it was a good road win,” Nosek said to AT&T SportsNet. “We have to keep going like that.”

Nosek and Carpenter have struggled to find success with a cast of characters skating with them on the third line, and Lindberg’s entrance three games ago seems to have given the group some clarity.

Lindberg and Carpenter assisted Nosek on Wednesday, and the trio has eight points in its last three games. The goals were the first of the season for Lindberg and Carpenter, and Nosek’s goal was his third of the season.

“When it’s going in like this, you want to keep riding it,” Carpenter said.

Tight spaces

Part of what makes the Golden Knights’ snipers so good is not only their ability to score on shots that look destined to be saved, but their willingness to take those shots in the first place.

Vegas scored its first two goals that look impressive in real time, but slowed down, look downright impossible.

First Jonathan Marchessault’s:

Then William Karlsson’s:

Marchessault and Karlsson took aim at a window barely bigger than the puck and buried it. In both instances, there was more space to shoot at on Lehner’s far side, yet they both fired it by his glove side untouched.

They were set up in different ways ­­— Marchessault had more time and space on the power play and Karlsson’s was off a New York turnover in its own zone — but both ended up about the same spot on the ice taking similar aim at Lehner.

It was Marchessault’s 12th of the year and Karlsson’s 11th.

Starting the trip off right

Wednesday’s game was the first of four straight on the road, a place the Golden Knights are slowly improving. The win moved them to 8-11-0 away from Las Vegas this season, as well as 4-2-0 in their last six.

It may not have been the prettiest game with only 17 shots on goal, but the Knights did the small things right. Each team only took one penalty, and the Golden Knights scored on their power play and killed off New York’s. Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves.

“I gotta give credit to the group — we found a way to win a game tonight,” Marchessault told AT&T SportsNet. “I think we’re satisfied with the two points at the end of the night. The first game of a long road trip like that is always huge.”

As far as road trips go, this one is less demanding than others. The Golden Knights will remain in the New York area for Friday’s game against the New Jersey Devils and Sunday’s matinee with the New York Rangers before flying to Columbus to finish the trip Monday against the Blue Jackets.

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