Golden Knights snap three-game losing streak with 5-4 win

Updated November 4, 2017 - 9:38 pm

KANATA, Ontario — Maybe all it took was a change of countries for the Golden Knights to rediscover their winning ways.

More likely than crossing into Canada, though, it was the power play clicking again, the forwards coming back and helping the defense and Maxime Lagace making enough stops in goal that gave the Knights a 5-4 win Saturday over the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

The victory ended a three-game road losing streak and improved the Knights’ record to 9-4.

“Nobody was panicking,” said center Jonathan Marchessault, who had a goal and two assists. “We’ve been playing well as a team. Everyone’s trying to stay loose. After three games like that, everyone could’ve tied up their sticks. But we know we’re a good team, and we have a lot of experienced guys in the room who aren’t going to let things get away from us.”

The Knights also got two goals from Erik Haula and one each from Alex Tuch and William Karlsson.

“As a team, we felt we got a lot better (in Boston), and we wanted that to continue that (Saturday),” said Haula, who scored the winning goal and assisted on Marchessault’s power-play goal. “It wasn’t easy, but that’s how it goes, that’s how you end streaks like that.”

The Senators (6-3-5) can be difficult to generate offense against, as they bottle teams up in the neutral zone. But the Knights looked to get pucks behind the defense, and they won their share of races to the free pucks.

“It was a real strong game,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “They made it close at the end, but we got the two points, and I liked the way the team played for the most part.

“We were able to dump it in and get behind their defense, and it was a good job executing the game plan. I thought we played well from the start, and I definitely think there was some carry-over from Thursday in Boston to (Saturday).”

The Knights led 5-2 after Haula scored his second goal during a power play 6:47 into the third period. But Ottawa picked up the pace and cut the deficit to 5-4, with Ryan Dzingel scoring shortly after Haula. The Senators also got a goal from Erik Karlsson with 34 seconds left after pulling their goaltender.

But Lagace was strong in goal and recorded his first NHL win, with his parents among the 16,284 in attendance.

“It was a really good team effort, and it’s good for the road trip to get a win and break the losing streak,” Lagace said. “I’m learning with each game, and I’m getting more comfortable playing with the guys in front of me.”

Lagace said the puck from his first win probably will be given to his dad. But the memory of winning an NHL game will be his for the rest of his life.

“You’ll always remember your first one,” he said.

The Knights got their power play going again and were 3 of 5 with the man advantage. They also did a good job of minimizing their time in the penalty box with three trips.

“We did a nice job moving the puck and finishing our chances,” Gallant said. “Our penalty kill was good, too, so it was a good job by the special teams.”

Senators coach Guy Boucher was impressed by the expansion team.

“They’re the hardest-working team in the NHL, and they proved it again tonight,” Boucher said.

Three takeaways

1. Erik Haula can do a lot. It doesn’t matter where the swift centerman plays. Put him anywhere, and he’s going to make plays. His two goals were just part of it. He was backchecking and helping his defensemen while looking to set up his teammates.

2. Luca Sbisa, WBC heavyweight champ? The Knights defenseman scored a clear-cut victory during his first-period fight with Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Maybe those preseason workouts at the UFC Gym are paying off. Or has Sbisa been receiving private boxing lessons from Floyd Mayweather?

3. The Senators fight cancer. The Senators celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer by having goaltender Craig Anderson’s wife, Nicholle, and 10-year-old Ryan Mercer, both cancer survivors, drop the ceremonial first puck. All the ads on the boards were in lavender in support of the initiative.

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

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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