Updated December 16, 2021 - 8:08 pm
The New Jersey Devils did the hard part. They kept the Golden Knights’ top line from beating them.
Max Pacioretty’s seven-game goal streak? Over. Same for his and linemate Mark Stone’s nine-game point streaks. Even center Chandler Stephenson’s hot stick was cooled after he recorded seven assists his last two games.
It still wasn’t enough for the Devils to win. The Knights got goals from each of their other three lines instead in a 5-3 win at New Jersey’s Prudential Center on Thursday. It was their third straight win and sixth in their last seven games.
“I think every line feels confident,” center William Karlsson said to AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain. “It’s one of our strengths.”
Pacioretty and Stone hadn’t been held off the scoresheet since the former’s return from a broken bone in his foot Nov. 24 in Nashville. But the Knights didn’t need them Thursday to keep their offense rolling.
Defenseman Dylan Coghlan scored a power-play goal in the first period and left wing William Carrier tallied in the second to give the team a 2-1 lead. Karlsson and center Nicolas Roy scored 33 seconds apart to put the Knights up 4-1 in the third, and left wing Jonathan Marchessault added an empty-net goal to seal the win.
It was the fifth time in the last 10 games they scored five or more goals. This time it didn’t take any heavy lifting from some of their go-to scorers. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo also saw his four-game point streak snapped, but 11 other skaters got at least a point.
Marchessault, Karlsson, Coghlan and right wing Reilly Smith had multi-point games to help the Knights improve to 2-0 on their four-game road trip. Up next is a reunion with former coach Gerard Gallant, fan favorite Ryan Reaves and the New York Rangers on Friday.
“That’s the one thing we’ve done all year is stick the puck in the net when we’ve had looks,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “I think tonight was one of those nights where we did just enough to win. We’ll take the two points and move on.”
Here are three more takeaways from the win:
1. Power play hot and cold
The Knights’ power play continued to show encouraging signs before an ugly moment late.
Coghlan scoring gave the team a power-play goal for the fourth consecutive game. The Knights got a power-play goal in only five of their first 25 games.
The power play also let the Devils back in the game. The Knights got a chance on the man advantage up 4-2 with 9:18 remaining, and gave up a short-handed goal to left wing Jimmy Vesey.
“It would have been a tough, tough loss if we were to lose that one,” Karlsson said. “I’m happy we were able to win that one and not let them all the way back in.”
2. Hughes impresses
There were two very different types of Devils shifts Thursday.
Those with third-year center Jack Hughes, and those without. The 2019 No. 1 overall pick controlled play when he was on the ice. His team chased the puck more often than not when he was on the bench.
New Jersey had a 27-13 edge in shot attempts at five-on-five in Hughes’ 14:54 of ice time. They were out-attempted 31-15 in the 31:29 they were without him.
Hughes’ also scored the team’s first goal. He nearly had a second late in the third period, but the play was offsides.
3. Late fireworks
Hughes’ overturned goal led to a feisty finish.
Devils coach Lindy Ruff put defenseman Mason Geertsen at forward for the subsequent faceoff with 25 seconds remaining. Geertsen hit defenseman Alex Pietrangelo after he flipped a puck out of the defensive zone 10 seconds later. It resulted in a scrum involving almost all the players on the ice, including goaltender Robin Lehner. He dropped his gloves and mask to the ice and gave New Jersey center Michael McLeod a shove.
Lehner, Pietrangelo and Geertsen were given misconduct penalties. Knights backup Laurent Brossoit finished the game in net. It should make the two teams’ next meeting April 18 at T-Mobile Arena a lot more interesting.
“Everyone started to grab each other and (left wing Mattias) Janmark is not a fighter,” Lehner said. “Guy dropped gloves and grabs him, and just trying to get him to stop. Eventually you get angry enough and then none of them wanted to do anything. But it was a good game. I’m happy with the two points.”
■ Who: Golden Knights at Rangers
■ When: 4 p.m. Friday
■ Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
■ TV: AT&T SportsNet (Cox 313/1313, DirecTV 684, CenturyLink 760/1760, U-verse 757/1757)
■ Radio: KKGK (98.9 FM, 1340 AM)
■ Line: Knights -125; total 6