Nosek’s go-ahead goal lifts Vegas past Kings, 4-1
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tomas Nosek scored in the second period and the Golden Knights beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Monday night.
Alec Martinez, Reilly Smith and Nicolas Hague also scored for Vegas, which has won 14 of 18 and improved to 14-2-1 at home. Jonathan Marchessault had two assists. Robin Lehner stopped 24 shots.
The Golden Knights have posted a home win streak of six or more games for the fourth consecutive season.
“Could you imagine what our record would be if we had a full house?” asked Vegas coach Peter DeBoer after the game.
Local officials increased the temporary capacity in time for 3,950 to attend the game.
“We take a lot of pride in playing well at home,” Marchessault said. “We definitely feed off the energy and hope we can keep it going.”
Matt Roy scored for Los Angeles and Jonathan Quick had 20 saves. Quick came into the game with a 6.05 goals-against average and .814 save percentage in two appearances against Vegas this season.
The Kings, who have the ninth-best power play in the league, were 0 for 3 with a man advantage.
“I didn’t think we played a real poor game, it’s a hard game to evaluate right now,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “We’ve been in this building where we’ve been under siege and given up 50 shots and our goalies have to stand on their head. Tonight, it didn’t feel like that. I just thought they were a lot more opportunistic than we were. When we had opportunities we just didn’t do it.”
With the game tied 1-1, Nosek put the Golden Knights ahead after William Carrier started the attack by poking the puck loose in the neutral zone, chasing it down against the end boards, and sending it to Zach Whitecloud at the top. Whitecloud fired the puck off the end board and Nosek one-timed the ricochet past Quick to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.
Nosek, who tested positive for COVID-19 just before he and his wife welcomed their second son in early February, now has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past seven games.
“Pretty happy about it; I think the first 15, 20 games (the fourth line) didn’t produce much, we’ve got some bounces and some tips lately,” Nosek said. “COVID wasn’t exactly what I wanted. My son was born, so it was a good thing. One of the best things of my life. Right now our line is clicking so hopefully we can keep going. It’s good when all four lines are rolling and coach can trust us.”
Los Angeles was playing its first game since Wednesday, its longest layoff this season, and the Kings came out looking awfully rested. By the midway point of the first period, they had outshot Vegas, 10-3, were outhustling the Golden Knights to pucks, and had established the advantage in the offensive zone early on.
Roy opened the scoring when he fired a laser from the high slot to beat Lehner.
“We knew they would have some juice to start; we were kind of standing around watching,” DeBoer said. “I think the second half of the first period, we started to get our legs and skate. In the second and third, we found our game.”
After Quick made a couple of saves before ending up on his back during a bevy shots during a power play, Smith was in the right spot to bang home the equalizer, giving Vegas its first goal of the game and tying it at 1-all in the second period.
Less than two minutes after Nosek put Vegas on top, Marchessault served Hague for a perfect snapshot, which went off the post and into the net, giving Vegas three consecutive goals in the period.
Vegas closed the scoring when Martinez, who spent his first 10 seasons with the Kings, skated into the slot and cleaned up a loose rebound to ice the game.
“It was nice, obviously a good feeling,” Martinez said about scoring against his former team. “I was more concerned of trying to close it out in the third. On a personal level, it’s cool, but more concerned on the team side of it, trying to put another nail in the coffin.”
FIRST THINGS FIRST
After allowing nine first-period goals in their first nine games, the Golden Knights have allowed just 10 in their last 24.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
The Golden Knights had been outscored 31-25 in the middle frame coming into the game. They’re also one of three teams that are perfect when leading after two periods, as Vegas improved to 15-0-0 with a lead heading into the third. The other teams are defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay and Nashville.
THIRD’S A CHARM
The third period took only 24:48 of actual time to play 20 minutes of hockey.
The teams conclude their two-game series in Las Vegas on Wednesday.