The game was closer than the first two meetings this season between Utah and the Wranglers, but the result was the same for Las Vegas on Tuesday night at the Orleans Arena.
The Grizzlies, who cruised to 5-3 and 9-2 victories in their first two games in Las Vegas, made it three in a row against the Wranglers this season in a 3-2 win in which they never trailed.
Utah, which outshot Las Vegas 37-29, improved to 6-3-0 overall and 3-0-0 against the Wranglers, who fell to 5-6-0.
The teams will meet again here Thursday and Friday before traveling to Utah for the final four meetings in a rare seven-game regular-season series.
“It’s brutal,” Wranglers coach Ryan Mougenel said. “Our guys have got to wake up or it’s going to be a long seven-game series.”
Las Vegas was outshot for its fourth straight game, three of which were Wranglers losses.
“Giving up 40 shots is definitely not something we can do consistently, and it’s something we’ve done consistently,” said Mougenel, adding that the outcome would have been worse if not for goalie Michael Ouzas’ 34 saves.
Las Vegas defenseman Craig Switzer scored on a power-play from the point to make it a 3-2 game with 3:05 remaining. But the Wranglers couldn’t tie it, despite outshooting Utah 10-8 in the third period and pulling Ouzas with less than a minute left to play.
“We come on hot the last 15 minutes of the game, but we’ve got to play like that, with that aggression, for the full 60 minutes,” Las Vegas right wing Mick Lawrence said.
Mitch O’Keefe made 27 saves for the Grizzlies, who took a 1-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first period when A.J. Perry buried a rebound in front of the net.
Las Vegas tied it 1-1 with 6:25 left in the second period, when Andrew Orpik scored on a one-timer in front of the net off a feed from Adam Miller.
Utah took the lead for good less than three minutes later, when Jason Dale punched a loose puck past Ouzas. Tim Maxwell rifled home a slap shot from the point 5:44 into the third period to make it 3-1.
“The good thing is we’ve got six more games against them,” Switzer said. “We should have them figured out by then.”
• NOTE — The American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins assigned center Francis Lemieux to Las Vegas. Before Tuesday, the 25-year-old Lemieux had spent his entire five-year professional career in the AHL.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-383-0354.UTAH 3
LAS VEGAS 2
KEY: Tim Maxwell scored early in the third period to make it 3-1, and the Grizzlies held off the Wranglers.
NEXT: Grizzlies at Wranglers, 7:05 p.m. Thursday