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3 takeaways from Knights’ win: Hat trick buries Rangers

Updated January 27, 2024 - 7:34 am

Several of the top offensive talents for the Golden Knights are still on the injured list.

Fortunately for them, Jonathan Marchessault is healthy and on top of his game.

The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner has gone to a new level over the last couple of weeks and recorded a hat trick Friday in a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

He has points in six straight games and has scored eight goals over that span, which dates back to the game after Jack Eichel joined William Karlsson, Will Carrier, Shea Theodore and several other top scoring threats on injured reserve.

“Sometimes it goes in, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Marchessault said. “Before I was on a stretch where I didn’t have any in nine or 10 games, so when you’re hot you try to stay hot as long as you can, and when you’re cold, you have to get out as fast as you can.”

After a strong first period for the Rangers ended in a 1-1 tie, Keegan Kolesar put the Knights (29-14-6) ahead for good with an outstanding individual effort.

He blocked a shot near the blueline and snatched the puck out of the air, dropping it to himself to spring a breakaway. As the Rangers (29-16-3) bore down from behind, Kolesar fired a blast past Igor Shesterkin to put the Knights ahead for good.

“I’m sure I surprised the whole world with that one, right?” he said. “All of my goals have been on tips lately. Just found some space and wanted to get the puck on net quick before he could react, and luckily it found its way to the back of the net.”

Adin Hill was outstanding again with 37 saves and wouldn’t need much more offense, but Marchessault wasn’t satisfied.

He scored his first goal just 46 seconds after Kolesar’s tally and then added an insurance goal early in the third period.

After the Rangers scored with an empty net and an extra attacker with 1:05 remaining, Marchessault ensured there would be no further dramatics with an empty-net tally in the final 29 seconds.

He joined Eichel and Karlsson as the only players in franchise history to record multiple hat tricks in the same season.

“I know I had three goals on the score sheet, but I don’t think I played amazing or anything,” Marchessault said after scoring on a deflection, a rebound and into an empty net. “Sometimes you are more lucky than other times, and it’s nice.”

Marchessault is part of a line with Nic Roy and Ivan Barbashev that has been thriving. Barbashev had three assists on Friday, Roy added two, and both players have 10 points in their last six games.

“They’re just feeling it right now, and they’re not lucky goals,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They seem to have natural chemistry, and we need it. So keep it up.”

Cassidy said the emergence of Roy since he has been elevated to a top-six forward spot creates plenty of options in terms of line construction once the roster starts to get healthy again.

Here are three takeaways from the win:

1. Power play struggling

While the Knights are finding ways to win games and pick up points, all of the injuries do seem to be taking a toll on their power play.

They went 0-for-2 on the man advantage Friday and are 2-for-16 since Eichel’s injury.

The stats don’t even tell the whole story.

Eichel typically drove the power play by using his speed and skill for easy zone entries that set up the top unit, but just getting the puck into the offensive zone has proven difficult.

The Knights didn’t even get a shot on goal during their four power-play minutes Friday.

2. Dorofeyev exits

Pavel Dorofeyev left the game early in the third period with an upper-body injury after recording four shots on goal in just 11:15 of ice time.

“He wasn’t able to return, so we’ll find out more on him tomorrow,” Cassidy said.

While the injury list continues to grow, Cassidy did say forward Michael Amadio has been cleared and is likely to be available Saturday in Detroit.

“I’m not going to say Pavel can or can’t go, but we will have an extra forward coming back,” Cassidy said.

3. Back-to-back

The Knights have five points in the first three games of their road trip, which concludes Saturday with a 5 p.m. game against the Red Wings (25-18-5) in Detroit.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for forward Paul Cotter, who is from suburban Canton, just a half-hour west of Detroit.

He said he’s most excited about getting the chance to see his dog, Celly.

“That will be nice,” he said. “And it’s cool to see how many people still support, seeing family, friends, former coaches and people like that. Seeing a couple people after the game. It’s awesome to get back to the roots. Obviously, I was a Red Wings fan the majority of my life growing up, so it’s cool to play against a team with so much history.”

The franchise hasn’t had much success in recent years, but the Red Wings are having a resurgent season, led by leading scorer Dylan Larkin.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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