CHICAGO (AP)Reilly Smith scored twice and rookie Logan Thompson made 23 saves to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
Smith got his fourth short-handed goal of the season in the second period while the last-place Blackhawks were using five forwards on their top power-play unit. He capped the scoring with an empty-netter for his 14th goal.
Chandler Stephenson scored a power-play goal in the second for Vegas, and Phil Kessel tipped one home in the third. William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault each had two assists as the Pacific Division leaders won for the third time in four games.
It was a solid road effort for the Golden Knights, who were coming off a wild 6-5 win over the Central Division-leading Jets in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
”They’re never perfect,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. ”We’re still trying to build our game like every team in the league. I’ll be pleased watching the (video) of the first and third periods. The second, they’ll be some teachable moments our team goes through.”
The 25-year-old Thompson lost a bid for this third shutout this season and second against Chicago when Taylor Raddysh scored with 3:54 left in the third.
”You know in the last couple of minutes of the game they’re going to come out hard,” Thompson said. ”They’ve got some skilled guys who can make some plays and we locked down pretty good tonight.”
Thompson made 27 saves when he blanked the Blackhawks 1-0 on Oct. 13 in Las Vegas.
Stephenson stopped a 16-game drought with his first goal since Nov. 10 at Buffalo and No. 7 overall on the season. He had 12 assists during the drought, including four at Winnipeg on Tuesday.
The Blackhawks have scored a total of five goals during a five-game slide. Chicago is 1-12-1 in its last 14.
Raddysh said it was tough to break through against Vegas, even in a brisk third period with no TV timeouts.
”Every time we got a chance, they all collapsed as five and took away our second chances,” Raddysh said. ”They were blocking shots, too.”
Chicago rookie Arvid Soderblom stopped 21 shots.
Stephenson opened the scoring with 5:19 left in the first. He fired into an empty net off Mark Stone’s feed across the crease.
Smith fired in a one-timer from the right circle for his 13th goal at 3:56 of the second. Karlsson threaded a cross-ice feed to him after spinning away from Chicago captain Jonathan Toews.
”I didn’t do anything,” Smith said. ”Karl did everything by himself. He won a puck battle against three guys and was able to find me in the slot.”
Golden Knights center Paul Cotter left after taking a crushing hit from rugged Chicago defenseman Jarred Tinordi late in the second. Cassidy said Cotter suffered an upper-body injury and would be evaluated once the team returns to Las Vegas on Friday.
Toews and Patrick Kane skated in their 998th game together with Chicago. They are on track to become the 12th pair of NHL teammates and second Blackhawks duo to play in 1,000 regular-season games together on Sunday against the Rangers.
Kane and Toews are in the final seasons of eight-year, $84 million contracts with no movement clauses.
Jack Eichel, who leads Vegas in points, missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. He went on IR on Monday, but is listed as day to day. … Golden Knights D Shea Theodore (knee) missed his third game. … Blackhawks F Andreas Athanasiou returned after missing a game because of a funeral and took Reese Johnson’s place in the lineup. Chicago D Ian Mitchell and F Boris Katchouk also were scratches.
Golden Knights: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Blackhawks: At Minnesota on Friday.
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