Early 3-goal surge sends Golden Knights past Kings

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Kessel, Ivan Barbashev and Chandler Stephenson scored on consecutive shots over a 3:13 span early in a four-goal first period as the Vegas Golden Knights cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday in Las Vegas.

Stephenson added two assists while Kessel and Barbashev each wound up with two points for Vegas (49-22-8, 106 points), which extended its Pacific Division and Western Conference lead to three points over the idle Edmonton Oilers (47-23-9, 103 points). Both teams have three games remaining.

The Golden Knights’ Nicolas Roy and Jonathan Marchessault also scored goals, and Laurent Brossoit made 30 saves to improve to 5-0-3 in eight starts this season.

Anze Kopitar and Vladislav Gavrikov scored for Los Angeles (45-24-10, 100 points), which lost its second straight game. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 10 of 15 shots before being pulled after yielding Marchessault’s goal at the 1:02 mark of the second period. Pheonix Copley took over and finished with 22 saves.

Los Angeles appeared to take a 1-0 lead on its first shot of the game when Kopitar fired the puck past a Quinton Byfield screen. However, that score was overturned when Vegas successfully challenged that the Kings were offside on the play.

The Golden Knights then needed just 20 seconds to take a 1-0 lead on Kessel’s wraparound goal through Korpisalo’s pads at 2:54.

Barbashev followed 62 seconds later with his 16th goal of the season to make it 2-0, one-timing a Stephenson pass from the bottom of the right circle.

Stephenson made it 3-0 at the 6:07 mark when he cut in front of the net from left wing and backhanded a shot through Korpisalo’s pads for his 15th goal.

Roy increased the lead to 4-0 midway through the opening period with a power-play goal after Kings center Zack MacEwen picked up a five-minute major for boarding Ben Hutton.

Marchessault made it 5-0 with the first shot of the second period when he roofed a shot from the right circle at 1:02 following a Kings turnover. It was his 27th goal of the season.

The Kings cut it to 5-2 on back-to-back shots midway through the second period, the first a power-play goal by Kopitar, his 27th, and the second an unassisted, short-handed score by Gavrikov.

–Field Level Media

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