by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
VANCOUVER — Jonathan Quick took sole possession of second place on the NHL all-time wins list among United States-born goalies in the Vegas Golden Knights’ 4-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.
Four players scored, and William Karlsson had two assists for the Golden Knights (44-21-6), who have won six of their past seven games and moved two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.
“Would I call it our best game? No, maybe not,” Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “Was it perfect? No. It usually isn’t on the road, but we found a way to win it, and that’s been kind of the recipe for us. We’d love to play the perfect game, but we’re just finding ways to win and having contributions up and down the lineup.”
J.T. Miller scored one of his two goals on a penalty shot and had an assist for the Canucks (31-34-5). Quinn Hughes had two assists, and Thatcher Demko made 23 saves.
J.T. Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks scores a penalty shot goal during the second period. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Vancouver lost for just the second time in nine games (7-2-0).
“You’re playing against one of the better teams and you’ve got to be prepared to play,” coach Rick Tocchet said. “I don’t think we were ready for it. We had three or four guys that weren’t playing to our identity, and I think (we) struggled.”
Phil Kessel gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead on a breakaway at 3:01 of the first period, picking off an Ethan Bear backhand pass at the Canucks blue line and beating a sprawled Demko just inside the right post after a deke to the forehand.
Reilly Smith made it 2-0 at 12:11 after Brock Boeser gave the puck away behind the net to Karlsson. He passed out to Smith at the top of the opposite face-off circle for a one-timer.
Miller made it 2-1 at 7:57 after being slashed by Shea Theodore on a short-handed breakaway. He scored with a slow move from left to right across the top of the crease before lifting a backhand over Quick’s outstretched glove.
Teddy Blueger made it 3-1 at 10:22 with a shot from the bottom of the left face-off circle that deflected under Demko’s pad, but Miller scored on a 4-on-3 power play with a screened wrist shot at 12:42 to cut it to 3-2.
“The Miller line (with Boeser and Phillip Di Giuseppe), they were monsters all night,” Tocchet said. “They dragged us into the fight.”
Pavel Dorofeyev put Vegas up 4-2 at 17:19 by deflecting a Pietrangelo shot that was going wide up and over the shoulder of Demko from the side of the crease.
Dorofeyev has four goals and two assists in five games since being called up from Henderson of the American Hockey League on March 11.
“When different guys are contributing, everyone is feeling good about themselves, and that obviously leads to them playing better,” Blueger said. “That’s important for us for sure. It’s good not to have to rely on a couple guys or one line.”
Di Guiseppe scored on a rebound of Miller’s shot at 11:43 of the third period to make it 4-3.
But Quick made 14 saves in the third period, including a blocker stop on Boeser from the face-off dot with 35 seconds left, to secure the milestone win and move the Golden Knights two points ahead of the Kings, who traded Quick to Columbus on March 1 after 16 seasons with Los Angeles.
“Obviously, the way it finished up in L.A. wasn’t ideal,” Quick said. “It’s a fresh start here hockey-wise. Playing some important games here down the stretch and trying to help them win the division and secure a playoff spot, it’s fun.”
Quick made 31 saves for his 375th win, moving past John Vanbiesbrouck (374). Ryan Miller is first with 391.
Jonathan Quick #32 of the Vegas Golden Knights tends the net during the third period of their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)
Quick is 5-1-0 since being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 2.
“You think about some of the guys that are at the top of that list and being in a category with them, it’s just an honor,” Quick said. “And obviously you think about all the guys that kind of helped me get a bunch of those wins and the work they put in, and you are just very appreciative of everything.”
NOTES: Smith extended his point streak to an NHL career-long nine games (11 points; four goals, seven assists). … Vegas has won five straight road games and has already tied a 2017-18 team record with 22 wins on the road this season with seven left to play. … Canucks forward Elias Pettersson had one assist to extend his point streak to nine games (13 points; five goals, eight assists). … Vancouver defenseman Noah Juulsen was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and was replaced by Kyle Burroughs, who was minus-3 in 18:04 after finding out he was playing while driving to the arena and arriving less 30 minutes before the game.