Golden Knights down Canucks 4-3, grab top spot in Western Conference
VANCOUVER — The Vegas Golden Knights solidified their spot atop the NHL's Western Conference with a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday.
The result marked a fifth straight road win for Vegas, moving the team past the L.A. Kings for sole possession of No. 1 in the West.
Phil Kessel, Reilly Smith, Teddy Blueger and Pavel Dorofeyev all scored for the Golden Knights (44-21-6), while William Karlsson notched a pair of assists.
Jonathan Quick stopped 32-of-35 shots for the visiting side in his 375th regular-season win and took second spot on the league's list of all-time winningest U.S.-born goalies.
The Canucks (31-33-5) got two goals and an assist from J.T. Miller, while Phillip Di Giuseppe scored and Quinn Hughes contributed a pair of helpers.
Thatcher Demko made 23 saves for Vancouver.
The Canucks pulled the goalie in favour of an extra attacker with nearly three minutes left on the game clock, but failed to find the equalizer.
Vancouver got back within a goal 12:43 into the third.
A battle in front of the Vegas net saw Quick dive to make a stop and the puck pop out to Di Giuseppe, who quickly sent a backhanded blast in to make it 4-3.
The Golden Knights took a 4-2 cushion into the third after Dorofeyev buried his fourth goal of the season 17:19 into the second.
Karlsson sliced a pass to Alex Pietrangelo along the boards and Pietrangelo chipped the puck to Dorofeyev at the side of the net, where he tipped it in.
Miller put away his second goal of the night 12:42 into the middle frame when the Canucks got an extended period of four-on-three hockey.
After some slick passing around the perimeter, the centre launched a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle and sailed it in past Quick, cutting Vancouver's deficit to 3-2 with his 28th goal of the season.
Elias Pettersson got an assist on the play, stretching his point streak to nine games with five goals and eight helpers.
The Canucks went 1-for-2 with the man advantage Tuesday while the Golden Knights were 0-for-3.
Vegas took a 3-1 lead 10:22 into the second when Blueger fired a sharp-angle shot in from the bottom of the faceoff circle.
Vancouver got on the board after Brock Boeser was sent to the box for boarding earlier in the period.
Miller sprinted up the ice on a short-handed breakaway and was slashed from behind by Golden Knights defenceman Shea Theodore, earning a penalty shot.
He skated in slowly then sent a last-second backhand shot up and under the bar to make it 2-1 at the 7:57 mark.
An ugly giveaway helped the visitors to a 2-0 advantage midway through the first.
Boeser coughed up the puck behind the Canucks' net. Karlsson picked it off, then dished a pass to Smith, who blasted a shot up and over Demko's shoulder for his 24th goal of the season at the 12:11 mark.
The tally extended Smith's point streak to nine games with four goals and seven assists across the stretch.
Another turnover got the visitors on the board earlier in the period.
Kessel picked off Ethan Bear's errant pass at the Canucks' blue line. He dashed in on a breakaway and wrapped a shot around Demko's outstretched pad 3:01 into the game.
Logan Thompson returned to the Golden Knights' lineup as Quick's backup. The 26-year-old goalie has not played since suffering a lower-body injury in a win over the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 9.
Vegas won the three-game season series between the two sides. The Golden Knights recorded a 5-4 win in Vancouver back on Nov. 21 and the Canucks responded with a 5-1 victory in Vegas on Nov. 26.
Canucks: Host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Golden Knights: Visit the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press