Of the 200 regular-season games the Golden Knights have contested in their existence, nine have been against the Vancouver Canucks.
And Sunday’s outcome wasn’t much different from those previous matchups.
Max Pacioretty finished with two goals and two assists as the Knights rolled to a 6-3 victory at T-Mobile Arena to move one point behind first-place Arizona in the Pacific Division standings.
“We know that we play a lot of important games, divisional games, teams that are kind of right there in the wild-card race,” Pacioretty said. “Definitely an important game for our group. At the same time, we just worry about our game, which we have done pretty well as of recently.”
Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 100th career goal and Mark Stone broke a 10-game goal drought with his first since Nov. 27.
Shea Theodore had three assists and reached 100 points for his career.
Nick Holden and Valentin Zykov had the other goals for the Knights, who are 112-69-19 all time and own the second-best record in NHL history through a franchise’s first 200 games. The original Ottawa Senators went 124-72-4.
The Knights improved to 8-0-1 all time against Vancouver and took advantage of a weary Canucks team playing the second game of a back-to-back.
It was the Knights’ third win in their past four games, and they improved to 7-2-1 in their past 10.
Pacioretty put the Knights ahead 5-2 when he had a partial breakaway and scored on a backhander. Pacioretty used almost an identical move for the winner in overtime Friday at Dallas.
He added his team-best 15th goal in the final minute on a power play. The Knights finished 2-for-4 with the man advantage after entering with one goal in their past 13 power play opportunities.
“It’s just good to get our mojo back and get some confidence,” Marchessault said. “We’re a tough team to play against when we play with that intensity.”
Here’s what stood out from the Knights’ win:
1. Dominant second period
On paper, the second period has been the Knights worst this season, with a minus-5 goal differential entering Sunday. But for the second straight game, the Knights owned the middle stanza.
Marchessault and Stone scored less than five minutes apart for a 4-1 advantage, and the Knights finished with a 19-5 advantage in shots on goal.
“I thought we played a good all-around game,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “I really liked the way we played in the second period. I thought we dominated that period, kept a lot of pucks down low and really forced them down low.”
2. Unexpected contributions
Holden appeared in his fourth straight game, as defenseman Nic Hague recovers from the flu, and collected his third goal when he sent a wrist shot from the point through traffic at 2:22 of the first period.
That was followed by Zykov’s first of the season at 4:03 when he pounced on a rebound and lifted the puck over Markstrom.
Zykov, who served a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL’s performance-enhancing substance policy, had three shots on goal in the first period and also had a scoring chance in the second period in what was easily his best performance of the season.
“Right now, we’re trying to use our entire depth, which tonight, I think, showed,” Stone said. “(The fourth) line really didn’t get on the scoresheet but ultimately completely dominated their matchup every time they went on the ice.”
3. Poke it away
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 26 saves for his 452nd career victory, two behind Curtis Joseph for sixth all time.
But his best move came late in the second period when he poke-checked the puck off the stick of Josh Leivo, who had a breakaway after leaving the penalty box.
Fleury moved to 12-2-1 lifetime against the Canucks.
“I just saw the opportunity,” Fleury said. “It was coming very fast and I thought I could block his way. It’s about timing and it worked out pretty good.”