Updated February 10, 2021 - 12:17 am
The Golden Knights have leaned on their top players for the majority of their early-season success.
On Tuesday, they needed all hands on deck to get the job done.
Defenseman Zach Whitecloud notched the winner with 3:56 remaining, and all four lines contributed in a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena.
However, the win was quickly overshadowed when the team announced its postgame media availability was canceled in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
Wednesday’s practice also was canceled, and the status for Thursday’s game against Anaheim is uncertain. The Knights said in a statement they would provide additional details when appropriate.
Anaheim made forward Troy Terry available to the media on Zoom after the game but canceled the remainder of the postgame availability.
The Knights closed their facility from Jan. 27 until Feb. 3 because of NHL COVID protocols. At least three members of the coaching staff and two players were placed in the protocols, and the league postponed three Knights games to assess the extent of the outbreak.
Neither the Knights nor the Ducks had any players on the NHL’s COVID-19-related absences list Tuesday after defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was cleared earlier in the day. Pietrangelo was scratched for the third straight game.
Defenseman Shea Theodore, who was shaken up in the first period after a collision with Anaheim’s Nicolas Deslauriers, did not play the final 20 minutes. Fourth-line center Tomas Nosek also missed the third period after he was on the ice for the final shift of the second.
But the Knights, who wore their red, reverse retro jerseys for the first time, used their depth to improve to 8-1-1 for their best start in franchise history.
William Carrier fired a shot from the right-wing boards, and Whitecloud swooped in to deposit the rebound for a 5-4 lead after Anaheim scored three straight goals in the third.
Chandler Stephenson finished with a goal and an assist, and Cody Glass added two assists as 12 players recorded a point for the Knights.
Jonathan Marchessault scored late in the first period, and third-line wings Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy each tallied in the second period.
The fourth line also contributed, producing Whitecloud’s winner and creating two breakaways that Carrier was unable to finish. Ryan Reaves also slugged it out with Deslauriers as retribution for the hit that briefly sent Theodore to the locker room in the first period.
The Knights improved to 7-0-1 at home but had to survive a tense third period.
Terry collected a rebound and beat Marc-Andre Fleury from the slot at 5:02 before Adam Henrique got free and banged home a pass from point-blank range to cut the Knights’ lead to 4-3.
Ryan Getzlaf, who returned to the Ducks’ lineup after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury, redirected Rickard Rakell’s pass at 9:59 for the equalizer.
The Ducks were a league-worst 2 of 30 on the power play before Getzlaf’s goal.
Fleury finished with 19 saves and improved to 5-0 despite allowing more than two goals for the first time this season.
The Ducks were without No. 1 goaltender John Gibson after he sustained a facial laceration during a practice collision Monday, and 40-year-old Ryan Miller started for the second straight game.
The Knights continued their trend of strong first periods, jumping to a 2-0 lead. Since returning from their COVID-related pause, the Knights have eight first-period goals in three games.
Stephenson tallied his third goal in two games when he sailed across the blue line with speed and took a pass from Mark Stone before sliding a backhand between Miller’s legs.
Defenseman Dylan Coghlan started the play and picked up an assist for his first career NHL point.
Marchessault extended his scoring streak to three games when he redirected Reilly Smith’s centering pass with his skate at 18:52. Officials briefly reviewed the play before allowing the goal to stand.