MONTREAL — Change was good for the Golden Knights’ power play.
Gerard Gallant and his coaching staff made major alterations to the league’s lowest-ranked unit prior to Thursday’s game at Ottawa, and it paid off with two goals in the first period of the 5-3 victory.
The most dramatic adjustment was moving center William Karlsson to the No. 2 power play and replacing him with winger Max Pacioretty.
Defenseman Colin Miller also moved up to the top unit in place of Shea Theodore.
“I want (Karlsson) to have the puck more, and I want him coming down that (left) side, so that’s the difference,” Gallant said. “He’s one of our top players, and he just wasn’t getting the puck in the other unit much. So we broke the two units and that’s what we went with.”
The No. 1 power play featuring Miller with forwards Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch was responsible for the game’s first goal.
Marchessault walked in from the right point after four quick passes and wristed in his team-high seventh goal 30 seconds into the man advantage.
Karlsson joined forwards Ryan Reaves and Tomas Hyka along with defensemen Brad Hunt and Theodore on the No. 2 power play. That group gave the Knights a 2-0 lead late in the first period when Karlsson set up Theodore for a one-timer.
The Knights entered Thursday’s game with the worst power play in the league at 11.8 percent but were 24th overall at 15.1 percent (8-for-53) entering Friday’s action.
“There was good things, obviously,” Gallant said. “They scored on the first one pretty quick The second one was a typical move the puck quick and one-time the puck, and we’ve got big (Reaves) in front of the net. It was good that both units scored.”
Salute to soldiers
The Knights will host Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday when they play Anaheim at T-Mobile Arena.
Members of the military will be honored throughout the game, and players will wear camouflage jerseys during warmups that will be signed and auctioned off.
All proceeds will benefit the Folded Flag Foundation.
Lace ’em up
The Knights will hold Try Hockey For Free Day in conjunction with USA Hockey on Saturday.
The event begins at 2:15 p.m. and will take place at City National Arena, Las Vegas Ice Center and Sobe Ice Arena. All three locations will have limited equipment available.
The team will host a watch party at City National Arena following the clinic.
Montreal forward Tomas Plekanec, 36, announced Friday he was retiring from the NHL after the team placed him on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.
Plekanec played his 1,000th career game Oct. 15 against Detroit and scored his lone goal this season. He has not played since Oct. 18 because of a back injury.
Plekanec spent 15 years with the Canadiens and posted 608 career points (233 goals and 375 assists).