Published Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 | 4 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 | 9:43 p.m.
The Golden Knights used a second period-barrage to run away from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and cruised to a 6-3 win Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas scored three goals on 20 shots in the second stanza, stretching its lead to 4-2.
Early in the third period, William Karlsson scored his second goal of the game against his former team to extend the lead to 5-2. Karlsson streaked down the center of the rink, behind the Blue Jackets’ defense, and Theodore lofted a pass onto his stick.
Karlsson caught the puck on his stick, and deked past Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the goal.
The goal was Karlsson’s 26th of the season, tying him for fourth place in the NHL only two goals behind league-leader Alex Ovechkin.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29-of-32 shots to earn his third straight win.
Next up for the Golden Knights is a matchup with the New York Islanders Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena. The Islanders handed Vegas a 6-3 loss on Oct. 30 in Brooklyn.
Golden Knights lead 4-2 after two periods
The Golden Knights thrashed the Blue Jackets in the second period, to the tune of 20 shots on goal and three goals.
Columbus broke the 1-1 tie early in the period when Josh Anderson scored his team-high 15th goal of the season.
From that point, it was all Golden Knights. Vegas tied the game 2-2 with a goal from Colin Miller, who crushed a slap shot past Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Brad Hunt scored his first goal of the season to give Vegas a 3-2 lead. The 29-year-old defenseman wired a slap shot off the crossbar and in while the Golden Knights were on the power play. It’s the third power play goal in two games after Vegas went 1-for-29 prior.
James Neal capped off the period by tipping a bouncing puck past Bobrovsky to extend the Golden Knights’ lead to 4-2. It was Neal’s 22nd goal of the year, moving him into a tie for eighth place in the NHL. Neal has scored in four straight games.
The Golden Knights are 18-2-1 when leading after two periods.
Golden Knights, Blue Jackets tied 1-1 after one period
In the first game against his former team, Golden Knights’ leading scorer William Karlsson opened the game with a goal.
Deryk Engelland fired a shot towards the net, and Karlsson corralled the rebound and slid the puck around his former teammate Sergei Bobrovsky to give Vegas a 1-0 early lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Columbus would strike back with a goal by Markus Nutivaara late in the first period, and the Golden Knights and Blue Jackets are tied 1-1 after one period.
Nutivaara’s goal came on a hard wrist shot that he fired past Marc-Andre Fleury following a drop pass from Nick Foligno.
Karlsson had a chance for a second goal against his former team when he got loose for a shorthanded breakaway, but Bobrovsky made the blocker save.
Both goalies were impressive in the first 20 minutes, with Bobrovsky making 13 saves and Fleury making 12.
The Golden Knights are 20-1-0 this season when scoring first.
Tonight at T-Mobile Arena, hockey fans will be treated to a duel between two of the NHL’s best goaltenders as the Golden Knights host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Marc-Andre Fleury leads the league in save percentage (.946) and goals against average (1.68), and Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has consistently been one of the best goalies in the world over the last five years.
“He stops a lot of pucks,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said of Bobrovsky, who has twice won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender. “He’s acrobatic, he makes big saves and he makes huge saves. If he’s not the best goalie, then he’s one of the best in the entire league.”
But Fleury has outplayed Bobrovsky this season, especially as of late. The 33-year-old netminder has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his last nine starts and has allowed only one goal in each of his last three.
The Blue Jackets could be rusty entering tonight’s game, having played only one game in the last 13 days.
“Columbus plays a heavy game,” Gallant said. “They’re a real strong offensive team that puts a lot of pucks behind the net, and the defense moves really well. Seth Jones and those guys put a lot of pucks to the net. You have to make sure you win those blue paint battles against a hard-working team like Columbus.”
The Blue Jackets play a physical brand of hockey, which suits the style of Golden Knights’ fourth-line winger William Carrier.
“Willie plays a physical game and he finishes his checks,” Gallant said. “In the last game (a 5-1 win over the Hurricanes in Carolina on Sunday) I thought (Carrier) was our best player. He made a great play to (Pierre-Edouard) Bellemare on the first goal. He had a lot of hits and played a really good game.”
Carrier has only one goal and two assists this season, but he leads all forwards with 75 hits, despite playing in only 28 games.
“It’s just bringing energy,” Carrier said. “You don’t want to play in your defensive zone as a fourth liner, so you want to try to get it into their zone and get the team going in the right way.”
Tonight is the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and it’s a reunion game for Golden Knights’ leading scorer William Karlsson.
“He was a guy that played on a really good team and he obviously didn’t get the ice time that he’s getting here with an expansion team,” Gallant said. “He’s taking advantage of the opportunity. He’s playing with a lot of good linemates and defensemen and things are working out for him. He’s putting the puck in the net.”
With 25 goals, Karlsson is sixth in the NHL, only four goals behind league-leader Alex Ovechkin.
The Blue Jackets will try to use their size against the Golden Knights, but that strategy hasn’t been effective to this point against Vegas.
“That doesn’t bother us one bit,” Gallant said. “When we play our game fast and quick, we are a successful team, so it doesn’t matter what the other team brings.”
Prediction : Golden Knights 2, Columbus 1
Season record for predictions: 25-16
Puck drops: 7 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-160, Total 5.5 minus-110 to the under
Golden Knights (31-11-4) (18-2-2 home)
Coach: Gerard Gallant
Goal leader: William Karlsson (25)
Assist leader: Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron (27)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (11-3-2, 1.68 goals against average)
Columbus Blue Jackets (26-18-3) (10-10-3 road)
Coach: John Tortorella
Goal leader: Josh Anderson (14)
Assist leader: Artemi Panarin (26)
Expected goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky (21-14-3, 2.43 goals against average)
Golden Knights game day roster
Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, David Perron, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.
Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brad Hunt, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.
Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban