Mark Stone had two chances to write a Hollywood script against his former team Thursday but was denied each time.
Instead, it was Jonathan Marchessault who provided the memorable ending for the Knights.
Marchessault scored in the fifth round of the shootout to lift the Golden Knights to a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday at T-Mobile Arena.
Brandon Pirri and Shea Theodore also scored in the shootout for the Knights, who fired a season-high 54 shots on goal.
Reilly Smith potted his team-leading sixth goal and Nick Holden added a power-play goal to help stake the Knights to a 2-1 lead after the first period.
Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had 37 saves, including one frantic sequence during a second-period penalty kill when he kept the puck out despite losing his glove and stick.
Stone was turned away by Ottawa goaltender Anders Nilsson with a little less than five minutes remaining in regulation. He also was denied by Nilsson in the shootout, though Stone did earn his 200th career assist on Holden’s goal and gave Marchessault an embrace after the winning goal.
“Just seeing that logo on the other side was different, obviously,” Stone said. “But with that being said, Vegas is the place where I want to be. It’s the only place I wanted to go if it couldn’t have been Ottawa. I’m real happy to get that win.”
Here’s what else stood out from the Knights’ win:
1. Pirri gets opportunity.
The 20-game suspension to wing Valentin Zykov for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance program opened the door for Pirri to return to the lineup.
Pirri was a healthy scratch the past three games after getting off to a slow start with one assist and six penalty minutes. He skated on the third line with center Cody Eakin and right wing Cody Glass against the Senators.
Pirri finished with five shot attempts (three on goal) in 12:08 of ice time and drew a penalty in the second period on Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot. He also scored the first goal in the shootout.
Coach Gerard Gallant said injured wing Alex Tuch is “probably another week or two” from returning to practice, meaning the Knights are relying on Pirri to find his goal-scoring form.
“He’s going to be a big part of our group and our team,” Gallant said. “That’s why I used him in the shootout. I knew from experience he’s pretty good at them. … He was dangerous tonight. I thought he played excellent.”
2. And still …
Ottawa’s Scott Sabourin is best known for starring in a viral meme opposite Toronto’s Auston Matthews when the Maple Leafs star peeked at the name on the back of Sabourin’s jersey to figure out who he was during a preseason confrontation.
Savage move: Auston Matthews was just trying to figure out who this guy was 😂
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) September 19, 2019
But Sabourin also has a reputation as a tough customer. He played 311 games in the American Hockey League and ECHL and has more career fights (50) than goals (37).
The 27-year-old rookie didn’t go after a tomato can for his first NHL fight, either, as he challenged Ryan Reaves directly off a faceoff in the first period.
After circling each other for a few seconds, Reaves delivered a series of right hands to drop Sabourin. The Knights’ enforcer then motioned to the crowd as he skated to the penalty box for the first time this season.
3. Brannstrom quiet.
Stone wasn’t the only player facing his former organization, as Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom played his first regular-season game at T-Mobile Arena.
Brannstrom, who was selected by the Knights in the first round of the 2017 draft, was the key piece in the trade for Stone.
The 20-year-old from Sweden registered one shot on goal and a plus-1 rating in 14:57 of ice time.