The Associated PressLAS VEGAS (AP) — While the Chicago Blackhawks have struggled to play consistent hockey for a full 60 minutes, the Vegas Golden Knights counted on 20 good ones Tuesday night.
Trailing by one heading into the third period, Vegas scored four unanswered goals, including Reilly Smith’s go-ahead winner three minutes into the final frame, as the Golden Knights beat Chicago 5-2.
Vegas, which swept the season series 3-0, also got third-period goals from Brad Hunt, David Perron and Tomas Nosek. Ryan Carpenter also scored and Marc-Andre Fleury had 29 saves for Vegas, which snapped a two-game home losing streak.
“There’s not a lot of panic in this room, that’s for sure,” said Smith, who’s tallied 11 points in the last eight games. “When we’re down by a goal in the third period, we know we can battle it out. It’s just one shot to get us back into it, and Huntsy did a great job in giving us that.
“We were finding a lot of opportunities tonight. The first two periods the opportunities were there, we just weren’t putting them in the back of the net. It seemed like once we got one, the floodgates kind of opened so that was nice to see. It just took us the third period to do it.”
One night after Arizona ended a nine-game losing streak to the last-place Blackhawks, the Western Conference-leading Golden Knights sent Chicago to its season-high seventh straight loss. The Blackhawks have been outscored 29-12 during their losing streak.
“It’s frustrating because through and through our lineup, we don’t have a response when we need it,” Jonathan Toews said.
“We need to find ways to bounce back and stay in those games and not get frustrated and not let that noise or the crowd or a bad call or a goal against us sink our ship. It’s pretty frustrating for us to give up a handful of goals in a row and give up the momentum the way we did again.”
Tommy Wingels and Alex DeBrincat scored for the Blackhawks, while Jeff Glass stopped 32 shots.
“It’s the same thing that’s plagued over the past month or two, we can’t string 60 minutes together,” Wingels said. “We felt good about ourselves going into the third, and they scored two quick ones. It’s just a theme of the whole season. It’s frustrating, that’s for sure.”