Golden Knights cut down Canucks as Max Pacioretty leads charge

Max Pacioretty has scored 67 points twice in his career.

At the rate he’s producing this season, the 12-year veteran is on pace to shatter that mark.

Pacioretty had two goals and two assists to help the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 Sunday night.

With 15 goals and 19 assists in 36 games, the 31-year-old forward is on pace for 77 points.

“I think I’ve gotten my opportunities pretty much the entire year,” said, Pacioretty, whose career highs for goals and assists are 39 and 34, respectively. “I’m obviously playing on a really good line with two really good players and getting a ton of opportunities. That’s kind of my job is to make sure that I finish those opportunities.”

WATCH | Max Pacioretty leads Vegas past Vancouver:

Max Pacioretty had two goals and two assists in Vegas’ 6-3 victory over Vancouver on home ice. 1:42

He did that twice in the third period to help ice the game for the Golden Knights, who recently lost 10 of 13 but are now alone in second place in the Pacific Division, just one point behind Arizona.

Nick Holden, Valentin Zykov, Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone also scored for the Golden Knights. It was the fifth time this season Vegas had five different goal scorers in a game.

“That’s a complete game from everyone in our group, from the goalie to the D-men … a full group effort, it was a lot of fun,” said Pacioretty, who scored for the fourth consecutive game, the second-longest goal-scoring streak of his career. “We know that we play a lot of important games, divisional games, teams that are right there in the wild-card race. Definitely important games for our group, we understand that, but at the same time we just worry about our game, which we have done pretty well recently.”

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots to improve to 12-2-1 in his career against the Canucks. The last time Fleury lost to Vancouver in regulation was 2006.

To the delight of the announced gathering of 18,066, Fleury had his typical highlight-reel saves of the game. The first came in the second period against Josh Levio, who came out of the penalty box and ended up on a breakaway, but the 16-year veteran goaltender’s diving poke check thwarted the effort. The second came in the third period, when he quickly slid across his crease to stop Elias Pettersson from making it a one-goal game.

Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson shoots on Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. (John Locher/Associated Press)

“Those are fun ones, I think when you’re a goalie, you can dive around and make sliding saves,” said Fleury, who also got career win No. 452, two shy of Curtis Joseph for sixth all-time. “They’re the ones I smile more, I have more fun doing. Obviously it’s a lot more fun when they don’t go in the net.”

Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen did find the back of the net against Fleury, while Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves to fall to 1-6-1 in his career against the Golden Knights. Michael DePietro replaced Markstrom late in the third period and allowed one goal on seven shots.

The Canucks, who played the second of a back-to-back after a 4-2 loss in San Jose on Saturday, dropped to 6-12-4 when their opponent scores first and 2-10-1 when trailing after the first period.

J.T. Miller of the Canucks skates between Vegas Golden Knights defensemen Brayden McNabb, left, and Deryk Engelland. (John Locher/Associated Press)

“It’s well known you don’t want to give up the first goal in the league,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “It’s hard to come back in this league. But I think that was the least of our worries tonight. We weren’t very good.”

Vegas improved to 8-0-1 all-time against Vancouver and has now scored 11 goals in their last two home games – the most they’ve scored in two straight home games this season.

“We like to play well in this building and get the fans behind us and scoring first really helps us,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “I thought we played an excellent game tonight. Guys are scoring some big goals and of course scoring a lot of goals tonight. I think we played a good all-around game.”

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