ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) No expansion team in NHL history has put together a streak like the one the Vegas Golden Knights are enjoying.
Cody Eakin scored to snap a second-period tie and Vegas beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Wednesday night for its fifth consecutive victory.
Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore scored against his former team for the first time and William Karlsson also had a goal for the Golden Knights (24-9-2), who lead the Western Conference with 50 points. They’ve earned at least one in 10 straight games by going 9-0-1 during that stretch.
It’s the longest point streak for a team in its inaugural season, eclipsing the record of nine games in a row set by the 1993-94 Florida Panthers (5-0-4).
”It’s one game at a time and that’s a great thing for us, and we try and battle and work hard every night and tonight we found a way,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. ”We didn’t start the game off great. I thought the first eight minutes we were sloppy but after that I thought we played a great game and a great road game and we found a way to get two big points.”
Malcolm Subban made 27 saves for the Golden Knights, and David Perron added an empty-net goal.
Rickard Rakell scored early for the Ducks, who won their previous two games. John Gibson stopped 24 shots as Anaheim opened a three-game homestand that follows a six-game road trip.
”They frustrated us. We found ways to self-destruct,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
After a slow first period in which they were outshot 15-8 and allowed the first goal in the opening two minutes, the Golden Knights took over in the second and third.
At the 15:12 mark of the second period, Eakin jumped out of the penalty box, beat Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm down the ice and then Gibson with a shot through his legs to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.
Just 28 seconds into the third, Karlsson took a feed from Jonathan Marchessault and sent a shot past Gibson to make it 3-1.
”It’s a hard building to come into,” Eakin said. ”You know they’re going to come out strong and fast and put everything behind you. You know at that point when they have the momentum in the first you want to just manage it, get your legs back, continue to do the little things, get it in deep.”
The Ducks fired 13 shots on goal in the last two periods combined and bemoaned how they didn’t match Vegas’ intensity after the first frame. Rakell’s team-leading 11th goal was all Anaheim could muster.
”They raised their level of play and we didn’t,” forward Ryan Getzlaf said. ”Most of all, we quit playing. Simple as that. We didn’t come out and play with the urgency we needed to after those first 12, 14 minutes of the hockey game, which is weird.”
NOTES: Ducks forward Ryan Kesler played in his first game of the season following summer hip surgery. He was held without a point and took three shots on goal. … Referee Dan O’Rourke took part in his 1,000th NHL game.
Golden Knights: Head down the freeway to face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Ducks: The Calgary Flames visit the Honda Center on Friday, their first game in the building since ending a 29-game losing streak there.
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