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3 takeaways from Knights’ win: New goalie shuts out dangerous lineup

Updated March 11, 2023 - 7:33 pm

Alex Pietrangelo wore a huge smile on his face when he wrapped goaltender Jonathan Quick in a postgame embrace.

Quick was the last of the three players the Golden Knights acquired before the NHL’s trade deadline. He may end up being the most important. At the very least, he was the Knights’ best player in Saturday’s 4-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Quick made 33 saves for his 58th career shutout to improve to 3-0 in three starts with his new team. The shot-happy Hurricanes had 72 attempts at PNC Arena, the third-most by any Knights opponent this season. None of them found the back of the net.

Quick, backed by a strong team effort that featured goals by four players, helped the Knights win for the fifth time in their last six games.

“Grateful for the opportunity to be here,” Quick told AT&T SportsNet. “Just trying to help these guys win some games.”

Quick was brought in from the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 2 as a high-profile insurance policy.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner provided the Knights (40-20-6) needed depth with goaltenders Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit on injured reserve with lower-body injuries. Quick ascended to the No. 1 role when Adin Hill left the team’s road trip Thursday with a lower-body injury of his own.

Quick could hold onto that spot if he keeps playing like he is.

The 37-year-old looked as spry as ever against the Hurricanes (43-12-8), who have the second-best record in the NHL. His best stop came 1:34 into the third period. Quick stretched to his left to make a glove save on defenseman Brett Pesce and keep the Knights ahead 2-0.

Quick’s win was his 373rd, one behind John Vanbiesbrouck for the second-most by an American goaltender in NHL history. Ryan Miller holds the record with 391.

“That was a huge save at the start of the third period,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Could have been a different game.”

The Knights supported Quick by being stout defensively and opportunistic on offense.

Right wing Jonathan Marchessault opened the scoring 4:03 into the first period with a shot from the slot. Left wing Reilly Smith gave the Knights a 2-0 lead 2:40 into the second after defenseman Brent Burns misplayed the puck.

Left wing Paul Cotter scored the Knights’ third goal with 6:50 left in the third by finishing off a rush chance. It was Cotter’s 12th, and snapped a nine-game goal drought for the rookie. Left wing Brett Howden sealed the win by scoring into an empty net.

Quick got the hugs for the shutout, but every player on the Knights contributed to the win. All 18 skaters were on the ice for at least a goal.

The Knights will look for the same kind of collective effort at 4 p.m. Sunday against the St. Louis Blues.

“Quickie, obviously, back there was pretty outstanding, I would say,” defenseman Nic Hague said. “When it did break down, he was there for us and came up big.”

Here are three takeaways from the win:

1. Marchessault’s milestone

Marchessault’s goal was his 20th of the season, making him the third player on the team to hit that mark behind center Jack Eichel (23) and Smith (22).

Marchessault has scored at least 20 goals in five of his six years with the Knights. The only time he didn’t was the shortened 2021 season, when he scored 18 goals in 55 games.

2. Smith’s streak

Smith ended a seven-game drought when he scored the winning goal against the Hurricanes at T-Mobile Arena on March 1.

Since then, his production has spiked.

Smith’s goal Saturday extended his point streak to four games. He has three goals in his last six games, after having two in his previous 26.

3. Sweep stats

The Knights swept the season series with the Hurricanes for the first time.

It’s been a common occurrence this year. The Knights have swept seven season series so far, the most in franchise history. They’ve also won all their games against Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington and Winnipeg.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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