LAS VEGAS – Max Pacioretty scored 7 seconds into overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Vegas rallied for the win after William Karlsson tied it with 1:22 left in regulation.
After winning the opening faceoff of overtime, Pacioretty raced up ice while Mark Stone gathered the puck and the two skated in for a 2-on-1 break. Stone dished in front of Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler and Pacioretty fired home the game-winner.
“That wasn’t exactly how we drew it up, but the plan was to get up quickly,” said Pacioretty, whose goal was the fastest to start a period in franchise history. “When you play a team two nights in a row, it’s going to be hard to win two in a row and sweep the series. The format allows you to make adjustments. We compare it a little bit to a college schedule. That was kind of a better feeling knowing they were going to play a much stronger game, which we did.”
Marc-Andre Fleury, who came into the game 15-4-0 with a .927 save percentage and 1.95 goals-against average against the Ducks, stopped 21 shots.
Max Comtois scored for Anaheim and John Gibson had 31 saves to fall to 2-10-2 in his career against Vegas.
The Golden Knights controlled the tempo in the first period, outshooting the Ducks 14-6 and keeping Gibson busy. But it was three defensive gems that helped keep Anaheim off the board.
First it was Brayden McNabb on his stomach, poking the puck from Sam Steel to prevent a 2-on-1 attack. His defensive partner, Alex Pietrangelo, also thwarted a 2-on-1 attack from his stomach when he blocked a cross-ice pass by Troy Terry in front of the goal. And Fleury had a poke check as Steel was driving to the net with 1:00 left in the period during a power play to keep the game scoreless.
Catching Vegas overly aggressive in the offensive zone, the Ducks capitalized on a 3-1 rush when defenceman Jacob Larsson found an open seam to get the puck to Comtois, who was waiting at the doorstep to punch it past Fleury. It was Comtois’ 10th career goal, four of which have come against the Golden Knights. Comtois also scored Anaheim’s only two goals in Thursday’s 5-2 season-opening loss against Vegas.
“It’s always bittersweet coming out with at least one (point),“ Steel said. ”But when we have a lead for that long, you obviously want two. That’s a tough one to swallow.”
Gibson had a couple of highlight saves of his own in the first half of the second period, stopping Chandler Stephenson and Reilly Smith on short-handed chances during the same power play, before Comtois gave him a 1-0 lead.
Gibson came up big early in the third, when Vegas established a quick 3-on-2 rush. Stone was able to squeak the puck through the slot for Pacioretty, who was skating in on the right but was stoned by Gibson.
“That’s what he’s capable of doing; when he’s on, you better settle in for a 1-0 or 2-1 games, and that’s what it was,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “As good as Gibson was, Flower was great late when they were up 1-0. We tried to open it up, push a little bit. He made a couple of great saves to give us a chance.”
Indeed, as Fleury came up with multiple big saves in the third to keep Anaheim’s lead at one, hoping for goal support at some point.
That came with Fleury on the bench, and Vegas using the extra attacker. Stone found Jonathan Marchessault down low on a bang-bang play that ended up on the end of Karlsson’s stick for the one-timer that tied the score.
“I just tried to do my part and try to keep the guys in the game,” Fleury said. “The whole game we were close with a lot of chances.”
While Saturday marked the one year anniversary of Peter DeBoer’s debut as coach of the Golden Knights, it also marked the debut of the team’s third game sweater, the first-ever gold metallic sweater in NHL history.
Through the first two games, Vegas is 3-for-3 with its penalty kill. Vegas is one of eight teams with a 100% penalty kill.
Comtois became the 15th player in NHL history to score each of his team’s first three goals to begin a season. Comtois is the first to do so since Connor McDavid on Oct. 4, 2017 against Calgary. Comtois is also the first player in Ducks history to score the team’s first three goals in a season.
Ducks: Open a four-game homestand Monday, the first of two against Minnesota.
Golden Knights: Host Arizona on Monday for the first of four straight games against the Coyotes.