Thompson shines in goal as Golden Knights top Kings 5-1

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Logan Thompson stopped a career-high 37 shots and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-1 on Saturday.

Thompson, last season’s American Hockey League goalie of the year for Vegas’ affiliate in nearby Henderson, earned his second straight win.

Vegas has won two straight after a franchise-worst five-game losing streak.

Thompson, who beat red-hot Florida on Thursday night, has allowed just four goals while turning away 73 shots the past two games. Saturday marked just his sixth appearance of the season.

“When he first dips his toe in the water here at the NHL level, like all young guys you wonder if you belong,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “And as you play and have some success, you get more confidence. He looks confident now, he looks more confident now than he did last game so hopefully he keeps building on that.”

Los Angeles outshot Vegas 38-24 — and 18-4 in the third period alone — but it was Thompson’s show in front of an announced crowd of 18,136 for Saturday’s matinee.

“The more reps I get, the more comfortable I get,” said Thompson, who helped kill two penalties in the first period alone. “I was able to get in the game early and I definitely just kept building off it.”

With starting goaltender Robin Lehner on the injured list, and backup Laurent Brossoit struggling through a 1-6-1 slide since Feb. 16 — a stretch that has seen him produce a 3.36 goals-against average and .875 save percentage — DeBoer said the choice to put Thompson back in net was a no-brainer.

“It was easy, we have to win games,” DeBoer said of his decision. “If you look at our records recently, if you want to play this time of year you have to find a way to win games.”

Evgenii Dadonov, Chandler Stephenson, Mattias Janmark, Alex Pietrangelo and Michael Amadio scored for the Golden Knights.

And while Vegas converted one of two power-play chances, making it four straight games with a power-play goal, Thompson and the penalty-kill unit were huge in thwarting all three of Los Angeles’ opportunities.

“We challenged our group,” DeBoer said. “It had to be better. It felt like we were giving up a power-play goal a night. Your goaltender is always your best penalty killer and our goalie was really solid tonight.”

Phillip Danault scored Los Angeles’ lone goal, and Cal Petersen made 19 saves.

Dadonov kept his hot streak alive by scoring his fifth goal in seven games when he gathered a rebound from his initial shot, skated around the back of the net and stuffed the puck in on a wraparound to give Vegas a 1-0 lead.

On a carryover power play from the first period, Jack Eichel delivered a picture-perfect pass on the tape for Stephenson, who needed only tap it past Petersen to push Vegas’ lead to 2-0.

“I didn’t have to do anything, I just kind of put my stick there,” Stephenson said. “That’s the kind of player he is, an all-star. You can be anywhere; there are three (or) four guys between you, he seems to be finding you. You can just see his game getting better and better, and just getting more confident.”

Eichel, who made his season debut on Feb. 16 after recovering from artificial disk replacement surgery in his neck on Nov. 12, now has 11 points in 16 games.

Danault cut Vegas’ lead in half when Trevor Moore delivered a pass from behind the net for a quick snapper with a backhand to beat Thompson.

With Los Angeles continuing to struggle with its power play, Nic Roy fed a streaking Janmark, who skated into the zone alone, held off Los Angeles defender Sean Durzi, and beat Petersen for a short-handed goal to put Vegas back on top by two goals.

It was the ninth short-handed goal the Kings have allowed this season, tied with the New Jersey Devils for most in the NHL. It was also Janmark’s first goal since Jan. 6.

Pietrangelo scored an empty-netter from the red line, while Amadio added the exclamation point past Petersen with a little more than a minute left to provide the final margin.

Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan attributed the loss to mistakes by his squad, pointing to his special teams unit that has struggled and was snakebitten at both ends of the ice Saturday in allowing power-play and short-handed goals

“Tough way to go out,” McLellan said. “Unacceptable. You take those two moments out, and you have a chance at least. Empty-net goal and I didn’t like the way we finished the game with some players. That’s their chance to close it out, they didn’t get it done. But, self-inflicted.”

UP NEXT

Kings: Open a four-game homestand Tuesday against Nashville.

Golden Knights: Play at Minnesota on Monday.

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