The Golden Knights have tried all sorts of things on their third line over the years.
From Cody Eakin to Brandon Pirri to Cody Glass, they’ve mixed and matched players regularly in search of a group that can chip in consistently.
They might have found a winning combination Wednesday.
Center Tomas Nosek, right wing Alex Tuch and left wing Mattias Janmark, making his Knights debut, were on the ice for three goals in a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. The three clicked instantly.
“I really liked how they looked,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “I liked how (Janmark) fit. When you write names down on paper, you never know how that’s going to translate. You hope it does. They seemed to have real good chemistry.”
Janmark arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday after being traded from Chicago on Monday and only got in a morning skate with his teammates before the game. That was apparently all the ice time he needed to get ready.
On his first three shifts with Nosek and Tuch, the line drew one penalty and scored two goals. They added another goal in the third period when defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored off a faceoff play. It’s the first time a Knights third line has been on the ice for three five-on-five goals this season.
Nosek finished with the second three-point game of his career. Tuch had a goal and an assist, and Janmark had one assist.
“It’s obviously a lot of fun when you’re producing,” Nosek said. “You feel pretty good, and it gives you more confidence on the ice.”
The Knights added Janmark because they wanted more scoring depth. Tuch always has been a strong offensive player, and Nosek is on a tear lately with 14 points in his past 16 games. Left wing Max Pacioretty said Janmark was the “exact type of player” the team needed to round out the lineup.
He’s fast, skilled and capable of meshing with different types of players. That was on display Wednesday, and the Knights think that scoring depth could make them a tough matchup.
“Being able to have a third and fourth line go out there and put pressure on the other team makes life easier on the (top two) lines,” DeBoer said. “We missed some of that early in the year. I like how it felt tonight.”
Here are three more takeaways from the win:
1. Fortunate bounce
Pacioretty’s 301st goal might have been one of the easiest of his career.
He dumped the puck in from the offensive blue line on his backhand in the first period, and it bounced past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. The goal traveled 77 feet from Pacioretty’s stick to the net. Quick was pulled after allowing it.
The shot had a 0.5 percent chance of going in the net, according to the website Money Puck. The goal was Pacioretty’s 21st, tied for sixth in the NHL.
“It’s a terrible break for him,” said Pacioretty, who played on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team with Quick. “There’s nothing you can do. The ice was really bad, and it just got the craziest bounce you could ever imagine. Very lucky, but at the same time you feel for Quicky.”
2. Stephenson scores again
Center Chandler Stephenson had two short-handed breakaways Monday but couldn’t convert on either.
He didn’t miss when he got behind the defense again Wednesday. Stephenson beat goaltender Calvin Petersen five-hole with a shot from the hashmarks between the faceoff circles. It was a smart change-up for the speedster, who normally gets much closer to the crease before shooting on breakaways.
Now go get it.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) April 15, 2021
The goal was Stephenson’s ninth, surpassing the total he had last season with the Knights.
3. Quebec pride
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury moved into fourth on the NHL’s all-time wins list.
Moving up a spot means the four winningest goalies in NHL history — Martin Brodeur (691), Patrick Roy (551), Roberto Luongo (489) and Fleury (485) — are from Quebec. Fleury was asked what’s in the water there that produces great goaltenders.
“I don’t know,” Fleury said. ”Hopefully not too many chemicals.”