NEWARK, N.J. — The Golden Knights were like a two-footed driver Friday, mixing up the gas pedal and the brake.
When the moment required them to step on the accelerator, they instead came to a screeching halt.
William Karlsson scored twice, but the Knights squandered two three-goal leads and lost to New Jersey 5-4 in overtime at Prudential Center.
“We played a real good first 10 minutes of the hockey game, and that was it,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “New Jersey took over after that.”
Nico Hischier notched the winner 41 seconds into overtime while falling down after he made a move around Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who slammed his stick on the boards in disgust as he left the ice.
The play was reviewed, but officials ruled that Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt “propelled the puck into the Vegas zone, negating any potential offside.”
The Knights lost for the first time when leading after two periods (12-0-1).
“They kind of stepped it up, the whole team,” Karlsson said. “I don’t know. They continued playing, and we didn’t. Simple as that.”
Alex Tuch, Karlsson and William Carrier scored in the opening 9:23 to chase goaltender Cory Schneider.
But the Knights appeared to get too comfortable after that.
Fleury, who made his 12th consecutive start, had 14 of his 37 saves in the second period.
“I think when we got up 3-0 the boys thought it was over,” Gallant said. “It sure looked like that, and we just stopped skating. And you can’t stop skating against this New Jersey team. They work hard and they compete hard. ”
New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri notched his team-leading 17th goal on a wraparound with 13:36 left in the third period to cut the Knights’ lead to 4-3.
Brett Seney got credit for the tying goal with 5:05 remaining in regulation when the Knights knocked the puck into their own net after a scramble in the crease.
“They got that extra push when they scored the third goal,” Karlsson said. “They smelled a little blood. Maybe that was the turning point.”
Tuch opened the scoring 1:19 in when he took a between-the-legs pass from Oscar Lindberg in the neutral zone and blew past Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen on the left wing before he tucked in a wraparound.
Karlsson notched his first goal at 7:45 when he tapped in Jonathan Marchessault’s feed on a 3-on-2.
Carrier notched his career-high sixth goal less than two minutes later when Schneider misplayed his shot from the left half-wall and knocked it between his own legs to give the Knights a 3-0 advantage.
Schneider was pulled 13 seconds later, and the change appeared to ignite New Jersey despite Karlsson’s team-high 13th goal on a power play at 3:57 of the second period that put the Knights up 4-1.
Said Tuch: “We had such a great start. Then you take your foot off the gas, hang your goalie out to dry, you don’t play your team game, you don’t play to your strengths and you let them dictate the pace of play, that’s just what’s going to happen.”
1. No cigar. The Golden Knights came within inches of going ahead 4-0 with 5:10 remaining in the first period when Ryan Reaves’ shot slid along the goal line before New Jersey’s Mirco Mueller cleared it away. Officials ruled the puck did not completely cross the line, though Knights coach Gerard Gallant said, “I disagree with the call 100 percent.”
2. Century club. Jonathan Marchessault’s assist on William Karlsson’s goal in the first period was Marchessault’s 100th career point with the Knights. He joined Karlsson (104 points) as the only players in franchise history to reach the milestone.
3. Hall pass. The Knights were unable to take advantage of a New Jersey team that was missing its leading scorer. Left wing Taylor Hall, who won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player, was scratched with a lower-body injury.