Smith’s 2 tallies push Golden Knights past Columbus 2-1
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Vegas Golden Knights put two straight, particularly frustrating overtime losses behind and kicked off a four-game road trip with a win. The Columbus Blue Jackets’ ongoing scoring woes had much to do with that.
The Golden Knights had lost their two previous games in overtime after building two-goal leads. On Tuesday night, Reilly Smith scored both goals and they squeezed out a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets, whose opponents seem to be getting all the puck luck lately.
“Those last two losses at home, we had the lead going into the third and we found ways to lose those games,” said Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 29 saves. “But tonight we were up by one and we stuck with it, we didn’t make any mistakes and maybe we can build off that.”
Former Jacket William Karlsson assisted on both of Smith’s goals as the Golden Knights got back in the win column after dropping three of their last four.
“Even after we were up 2-1, we kept flying and maybe in the last 10 minutes there they kind of threw everything at us,” Vegas forward Paul Strastny said. “We did a good job keeping the puck to the outside, and (Fluery) made some good stops we needed.”
For the Blue Jackets it was fifth loss in a row. Their best players are not finding the back of the net. Loose pucks close to the goal line seemed to be swatted away at the last second on Tuesday night. A would-be game-tying shot by Dean Kukan in the third period clanged off the bar.
“We’re close, but that doesn’t put you in the win column,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said.
Smith’s first goal came with 45 seconds left in the first period. His shot from behind the goal caromed into the net off the handle of goalie Joonas Korpisalo’s stick.
Columbus challenged, contending that Jonathan Marchessault was offside when he dragged the puck into the zone, but after a replay it was ruled a good goal.
Jenner got his fourth tally of the season, a top-shelf snipe from just inside the left circle, to tie the score 5:37 into the second period.
Two minutes later, Smith beat Korpisalo with a short-handed goal after a turnover set up an odd-man rush.
“It sucks, but you know we’ve just got to keep going,” said Korpisalo, who had 23 saves. “I think we played really good here today.”
For Vegas, it was a confidence-booster.
“It was nice to see it go our way after the last couple went the opposite way,” Smith said. “It’s frustrating, so it’s nice to get a win like that, especially on the road to start a long road trip.”
NOTES: Karlsson’s assists gave him 200 points for his NHL career. ... The women’s Swedish national soccer team was in the stands, ahead of a friendly with the US team on Thursday night in Columbus. ... Fleury returned after missing a 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday because of the flu. ... Columbus D Markus Nutivaara, scratched the past two games and four of the past five, replaced Scott Harrington in the lineup. He left the game after being hit in the head with a puck in the second period and did not return. ... Columbus has given up four short-handed goals this season. ... Vegas F Mark Stone played in his 400th NHL game.
Golden Knights: At Toronto on Thursday.
Blue Jackets: At Arizona on Thursday.
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