Three takeaways from the Golden Knights’ 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday:
1. Tough it out.
Nate Schmidt took an errant puck to the mouth with 15:38 left in the second period and was taken to the locker room.
The defenseman returned a little more than nine minutes later and made a key play in the third period to hold the puck in the zone, which led to Erik Haula’s go-ahead goal.
The Knights made several switches to their forward lines and defensive pairings.
Brendan Leipsic went to the third line with Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch, dropping Oscar Lindberg to the fourth line.
On defense, Shea Theodore partnered with Deryk Engelland, while Schmidt teamed with Brayden McNabb.
“He played well. He moved the puck well, skated well,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said of Theodore. “I thought our team played well. I was real happy with them.”
3. Strength in numbers.
The Canucks entered Thursday as the best defensive team in the NHL at even strength, allowing a league-low 23 goals.
But the Knights turned that stat upside down, scoring all five of their goals at even strength. (Reilly Smith’s was an empty-netter.)
“I thought it’s two teams that play a pretty similar style; we looked a step behind, if I’m being honest,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We just weren’t good. I like how we pushed back in the second (period). It would have been nice to find a way to grunt out a point when you’re not on top of your game, but we didn’t.”