Updated November 2, 2023 - 11:15 pm
Jonathan Marchessault slid on one knee to block the puck, got back up on his feet, fired and made hats fall down from the sky.
The Golden Knights right wing entered Thursday with three goals in his first 10 games. He left the Knights’ 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets with three more.
Marchessault recorded the sixth hat trick of his career, and his fourth in the regular season, to cause caps to cascade to the ice in front of an announced crowd of 17,878 at T-Mobile Arena. He erased some frustration from a two-penalty night by helping the Knights improve to 10-0-1 this season.
They are the 13th team in NHL history to not lose in regulation in its first 11 games and only the third in the past 16 years. The Knights also have the second-longest points streak in franchise history.
“It was definitely a tough stretch the past few games, but I mean, when you put in the work, sometimes you get rewarded,” Marchessault said. “It just felt like that tonight.”
Marchessault, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for playoff MVP last season, didn’t get off to a flying start this year.
He had five points in the Knights’ first 10 games. Two of those came on the power play. His line with left wing Ivan Barbashev and center Jack Eichel wasn’t clicking like it was during the postseason.
That group will feel a lot better after Thursday.
Marchessault’s first goal seven minutes into the second period gave the Knights a 2-1 lead. It came on the power play after Jets right wing Mason Appleton was given a four-minute penalty for high-sticking defenseman Alec Martinez. Barbashev tacked on another power-play tally 1:38 after Marchessault to put the Knights up 3-1.
Winnipeg fought back on the man advantage 1:51 into the third to cut its deficit to 3-2. Marchessault was in the box for the goal after being given a delay of game penalty, and he atoned for his mistake before long.
He restored the Knights’ two-goal lead by being the first player to a loose puck in the crease 5:47 into the third. That made him the first player on the team to score multiple goals in a game this season. He finished off the win with an empty-net goal with 2:52 remaining, even grabbing one hat from the ice as part of a team tradition started by coach Bruce Cassidy last season.
“(Marchessault’s) not always the guy out at the end when the goalie’s out first, but I thought he had been playing hard and defending well and taking care of the details so let him go for the hat trick,” Cassidy said. “Let him go defend in our end and do a good job, and sure enough, he did. He played hard. So that was icing on the cake for him.”
Here are three takeaways from the win:
1. Thompson’s career first
Sure, goaltender Logan Thompson played a strong game by making 29 saves.
That’s not what he’ll remember his 58th NHL start for, however. Thompson picked up his first career point by getting the secondary assist on Marchessault’s first goal. He fired a perfect pass from behind his goal line to captain Mark Stone at the offensive blue line. Stone then fired a quick pass over to a streaking Marchessault.
Thompson’s initial flip was so sweet defenseman Alex Pietrangelo thought it came from defenseman Shea Theodore at first.
“I think everything kind of just fell into place there,” said Thompson, who couldn’t remember the last time he recorded a point. “We’ve been working on that in practice just with the goalies making a quick up. It worked tonight.”
Thompson is the sixth goaltender to get an assist this season. The others are Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom, New Jersey’s Akira Schmid, Ottawa’s Joonas Korpisalo, Arizona’s Karel Vejmelka and Philadelphia’s Carter Hart.
2. Karlsson’s beat goes on
NHL teams can’t stop center William Karlsson at this point. It’s impressive they even keep trying.
The 30-year-old extended his point streak to career-best eight games by picking up a goal and an assist. Karlsson has four goals and seven assists in that span. He leads the Knights in assists (nine) and points (13) while playing excellent 200-foot hockey.
The team is plus-7 at five-on-five with Karlsson on the ice. That ranks second among Knights forwards, behind only his linemate Michael Amadio (plus-8).
3. Strong special teams
The Knights practiced each of the past two days, hoping to get things to click more on the power play.
It’s safe to say they succeeded. The Knights finished 2-for-4 on the man advantage against Winnipeg, recording multiple power-play goals for the fourth time this season. They only did so eight times all of last year.
The Knights also were 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. They’ve allowed a goal on only four of 34 opposing power plays so far.