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Golden Knights’ William Karlsson hits 100-goal milestone

William Karlsson doesn’t have exciting plans for the puck he scored his 100th goal with.

He might just put it in his locker stall. The center said he didn’t even know he hit the milestone in the third period of the Golden Knights’ 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday until a linesman came over with the puck.

It was typical Karlsson. Flashy play, unflashy attitude. But the milestone was a deserved reward for one of the faces of the Knights’ franchise. He’s played great hockey lately and was spectacular Tuesday.

“Who would have thought after coming here in the expansion draft that I would reach 100?” Karlsson said. “But here I am.”

Karlsson had 18 goals in 183 games before joining the Knights. He’s not wrong to say the odds were low on him hitting 100.

He got there in 224 more games though after unlocking his potential as a two-way, down-the-middle force in Las Vegas. His evolution was on full display against the Devils.

He set up the Knights’ first goal with an incredible pass to left wing Max Pacioretty. Karlsson fired a no-look, backhand feed from the neutral zone that hit Pacioretty in stride and allowed him to skate in on goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood with speed.

Then Karlsson scored his milestone goal off a give-and-go with rookie forward Nicolas Roy. Karlsson slipped behind the defense, Roy found him at the bottom of the right circle and Karlsson slammed the puck into the net for his 15th goal of the year and 100th overall.

“I get to look forward to getting more goals and not think about it too much, but maybe after I’m done (I will),” Karlsson said. “It’s a nice milestone.”

It took a run of great play to get him there. Karlsson has seven points in his last five games and has looked great since being placed on a line with Pacioretty and, before his lower-body injury, right Mark Stone.

Their chemistry got Karlsson’s hot streak started with a hat trick Feb. 23 against the Anaheim Ducks. Since then he’s been on a roll, which put him within striking distance of 100 even if he didn’t realize it.

“It’s a little easier to play now that I don’t have that goal drought hanging over my shoulder,” Karlsson said. “It’s nice to get a couple goals here and just play and have fun.”

Pacioretty goes by gut

The Knights’ scouting report on the Devils encouraged players to shoot glove-side on Blackwood. Pacioretty decided to ignore that.

Pacioretty scored the game-winning goal in the second period by beating Blackwood blocker-side on a tight angle. He saw an opening and took it for his 31st goal.

“I just kind of trust my instincts,” Pacioretty said. “Go down and see what you see and shoot your shot.”

Spoken with the confidence of an All-Star and a six-time 30-goal scorer.

Reaves’ night

Right wing Ryan Reaves had an eventful game Tuesday.

He scored his eighth goal in the third period in honor of his son Kane’s birthday. He forgot to grab the puck for a present, however.

“I always forget to do that when it’s a good day like that,” Reaves said.

The bruiser also affectionately laid his shoulder into Lehner after the win. A little initiation for the trade acquisition, perhaps?

“Well, he thinks he can body me all the time so I’m just making sure he knows who the alpha male is,” Reaves said.

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

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