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Golden Knights edge Vancouver for 5th consecutive victory

Updated November 29, 2018 - 11:20 pm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — William Karlsson got the glory Thursday.

But Reilly Smith did the heavy lifting.

Karlsson scored short-handed with 6:25 remaining as the Golden Knights extended their winning streak to five games with a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

“One hundred percent his goal,” Karlsson said. “I just had my stick there and hit the puck, pretty much.

“I don’t think I played very well, but here I am sitting with the game winner. It’s pretty funny how hockey works.”

Max Pacioretty finished with two goals and Smith added two assists, including the setup on Karlsson’s winner.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves to win his sixth consecutive game and tie Toronto’s Frederik Andersen for the league lead in victories with 14.

The Knights moved within one point of first-place Calgary in the Pacific Division and improved to 11-0 when leading after two periods.

“To give up two and then go out and get a shorty, that’s how you build chemistry and build momentum,” Pacioretty said. “That never-quit-attitude for the team has been there during this streak. We’ve seen how well we can play when we play the right way. It’s been a lot of fun, but we’ve got keep going. We’ve got to play hard every night and try and come home happy from this road trip.”

The Knights saw a 3-1 third-period lead disappear before Karlsson notched the Knights’ fifth short-handed goal.

Smith got behind the Canucks defense and had the puck knocked away. But he stuck with the play and won a battle along the wall before finding Karlsson at the back door for his eighth goal.

“As the puck was going up the wall I just tried to protect it because it seemed like a lot of guys were trying to quick up it and go for a rush, so I was just trying to protect it as long as I could,” Smith said. “I turned around and there was kind of a 2-on-1 that kind of formed.”

Pacioretty finished off a pretty passing sequence with linemates Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch to put the Knights ahead 3-1 at 1:13 of the third period.

Pacioretty has 10 goals, tying Eakin and Jonathan Marchessault for the team lead. He’s scored eight times in the past seven games and has three two-goal games since Nov. 21.

But Vancouver rallied with third-period goals by Alexander Edler and Brock Boeser to forge a 3-3 tie.

Boeser, who returned Tuesday after missing 11 games with a groin injury, scored twice.

“It wasn’t our best game tonight, but we found a way to win,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We played a team that was pretty energetic over there, and they played hard, too.”

The Knights were hemmed in their own zone for long stretches in the first period and managed one shot on goal until the fourth line provided a lift and tied the game at 1-1 with William Carrier scoring with six minutes left.

After some strong work down low to cycle the puck, Ryan Reaves turned and fired a low shot that Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom turned away.

But Carrier crashed the net and knocked in the rebound for his fifth goal, tying his career high set in 2016-17 with Buffalo.

Vancouver went ahead at 9:46 thanks to a spectacular individual effort from rookie Elias Pettersson. The 20-year-old knocked away a risky cross-ice pass by Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb then regained control when Nate Schmidt fumbled the puck in the slot.

Pettersson was tripped by Schmidt as he skated by the defenseman, and from his knees wrapped a no-look pass that Boeser banged past Fleury.

Pacioretty put the Knights up 2-1 at 3:05 of the second when he one-timed a pass from Smith on the power play.

“(Pacioretty) has been good. He’s been hot,” Gallant said. “He’s getting a good feel around the net. Reilly gave him an excellent pass there on that one goal. He’s playing real good, he’s going to the net and he’s in his groove right now.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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