– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
LAS VEGAS — In a span of three minutes, the special teams of the Vegas Golden Knights lived up to that adjective in lifting the squad to their first winning streak of the young season.
Jonathan Marchessault scored a power play goal and Cody Eakin scored a shorthanded goal just 3:09 apart spanning the first and second periods in leading the Golden Knights to a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
At this point last season, Vegas was in the midst of starting its inaugural season with wins in eight of its first nine contests — including winning streaks of three and five games — on its way to an unlikely Pacific Division title and Stanley Cup Final run. This season, however, the Golden Knights lost four out of five to start the season, allowing at least four goals in each of the losses.
After its 1-0 victory in Philadelphia on Sunday, the Golden Knights carried over its strong defensive play tonight while converting on specialty situations. Before the end of the first period, William Karlsoon whipped a pass to the slot from the left corner that found the stick of a streaking Marchessault, who fired a shot over the glove of Sabres goalkeeper Carter Hutton to score Vegas’ first power play goal in 17 extra-man opportunities this season.
Just 67 seconds into the second period, Vegas defenseman Nick Holden committed a tripping penalty to give Buffalo a power play, but Eakin was able to convert an odd-man rush for the Golden Knights on the penalty kill by scoring on a wrist shot 2:08 into the period to double Las Vegas’s lead.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 of Buffalo’s 27 shots to earn the victory in goal, a win which now ties him for 10th place all time in victories by a goaltender with 407.
“We played a real good, solid hockey game. I thought we were the better team most of the night and worked hard,” said Vegas head coach Gerald Gallant. “I’ve seen a lot of things we’re going to have to do the rest of the year. Really happy with the performance. Too many penalties, but [the penalty kill] did a great job.”.
Karlsson added a goal to his two assists in the third period, while Marchessault his second goal of the game on an empty-netter with 13 seconds remaining.
Vladimir Sobotka ended Fleury’s shutout bid with 37 seconds left in the game with his first goal of the season for the Sabres. Buffalo was not able to duplicate the victory that it had against the Golden Knights on Oct. 8, when it won 4-2 in Buffalo.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 18 pictures in total.