It’s a little bit like pointing out shoulder acne on a supermodel, but two issues still lingered during the Golden Knights’ season-long win streak.
— The power play hadn’t converted since last year.
— Jonathan Marchessault went even longer without scoring.
The Knights solved those problems Tuesday, and the result was a workmanlike 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers before an announced crowd of 18,249 at T-Mobile Arena.
“I think we’re getting some chemistry, but the guys are playing hard and competing hard,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We’ve been more energized, we’re forechecking well and have had good defensive zone coverage. I like the way our game is.”
Brandon Pirri scored in the second period to snap an 0-for-17 drought with the man advantage. Marchessault notched his first goal since Dec. 22 to help the Knights win their seventh in a row, which is the longest active win streak in the NHL after the New York Islanders lost to Carolina on Tuesday.
“When we play our game, we’re forechecking really well and not giving them time and space and we break pucks out of our own zone easy,” Pirri said. “That’s something we try to do, and I think there were breakdowns here and there and they had some possession in our zone. But for the most part I thought we played pretty well.”
Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 27 saves, losing his shutout bid with 8:17 left when Mika Zibanejad finished off a 2-on-1 with Mats Zuccarello.
The Knights extended the NHL’s longest active points streak to 10 games (8-0-2) and have collected points in 12 straight at home (10-0-2), matching their franchise record from Dec. 3, 2017, to Jan. 23, 2018.
“I feel confident going in every night that we can win the game,” Fleury said. “The parity around the league is very good. There’s a lot of good teams, right? I always feel confident going in. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
Pirri, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Monday, swooped in after Max Pacioretty’s shot bounced off the post and poked a loose puck past Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to put the Knights up 2-0 at 7:06 of the second.
It was Pirri’s seventh goal in eight games and the Knights’ first on the power play since Dec. 23 against Los Angeles.
“I don’t think we were executing the way we wanted to all night,” Pirri said. “You see, when we keep it kind of simple and throw a puck on net and we have bodies around there, good things happen.”
Marchessault gave the Knights a 3-0 advantage with 1:07 left in the second after Fleury made back-to-back saves and the Rangers were caught up ice.
Marchessault scooped up a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Georgiev high on the breakaway for his 14th goal and first since Dec. 22 against Montreal.
“It’s fun to get on the board,” Marchessault said. “I think it was a good team effort. Could have done a little better job I think defintely as a team. Those two goals could have been preventable. But at the end of the night we got the two points and it’s good.”
The Rangers lost their fourth straight and have been outscored 22-5 in that stretch.
Alex Tuch had the lone moment of brilliance in the first period for the Knights when he chipped a no-look, backhand pass to Cody Eakin, who was streaking through the neutral zone and found himself behind the Rangers’ defense.
Eakin’s shot slipped under the Georgiev’s arm with 3:58 left in the period for his 13th goal.