LAS VEGAS (AP) After Los Angeles appeared to strike first Thursday night, the Kings' goal was waved off for being offside following a coach's challenge.

The Vegas Golden Knights didn't let the moment go to waste, scoring four goals on their first six shots to take a major step toward clinching the Pacific Division and the top seed in the Western Conference with a 5-2 victory.

“I thought we were on our toes and we were ready to play,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought our forecheck was outstanding. We weren’t giving up odd-man rushes or numbers coming at us because of that. Our guys were real dedicated to that game plan tonight.”

The third line shined for the Knights. Chandler Stephenson had a goal and two assists, and Phil Kessel and Ivan Barbashev each finished with a goal and an assist. Vegas' other two goals came from Nicolas Roy and Jonathan Marchessault.

Laurent Brossoit, competing to be the Knights' starting goalie in the playoffs, made 30 saves and remained unbeaten in regulation this season at 5-0-3.

Anze Kopitar and Vladislav Gavrikov scored for the Kings.

The Knights, 11-2-2 in their past 15 games, have 106 points to lead Edmonton by three and the Kings by six in the Pacific with three games to go. Vegas also is six points clear of Colorado and Dallas out of the Central Division.

Los Angeles nearly scored first, but Quinton Byfield's goal at 2:33 was challenged by Cassidy. Officials reviewed the play and ruled the Kings were offside.

The Knights scored just 21 seconds later on Kessel's wraparound.

“It's a two-goal difference there,” Roy said. “But we came out strong tonight. We were ready to play, I think, from the first minute.”

Barbashev soon after scored off a sensational pass from Stephenson, who about two minutes later scored himself to make it 3-0. The mooring came off the net on Stephenson's goal, but officials ruled after video review the Kings were responsible for it coming off.

Roy's power-play goal with 8:37 left in the first gave the Knights a 4-0 lead within the first 11:23.

“We weren’t ready to play,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “I think that was pretty evident. Tonight was a team loss. There were very few players that were engaged early. You can't play like that this time of the year. We haven't had one of those periods in a long, long time.

"That won't be good enough for the rest of the season and the playoffs."

Marchessault's goal 1:02 into the second period chased Kings goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who was replaced by Pheonix Copley. Kopitar and Gavrikov answered to bring Los Angeles to within 5-2 entering the final period.

Copley saved all 22 shots he faced.


Kings center Zack MacEwen was called for boarding Ben Hutton about midway through the second period. Vegas' Nic Hague responded by going after MacEwen.

MacEwen was handed five-minute majors for boarding and fighting, and Hague was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty, a five-minute major for fighting and a two-minute minor for instigating.

“It's a vulnerable position,” Hague said. “I didn't like that. I thought it was from behind.”

Cassidy applauded Hague's reaction and called it “a dangerous, dangerous hit” by MacEwen.

MacEwen was not made available after the game.

Both teams played at 4-on-4 for two minutes before the Knights had a man advantage for three minutes. The Knights made the Kings pay on Roy's goal, a rare successful power play. Vegas was 2 for 21 on the power play in the previous eight games.


Jack Eichel played in his 100th game for the Knights, and he leads the team with 90 points during that stretch. That includes an assist against the Kings that stretched his point streak to eight games (one goal, 10 assists).


Kings: Host Colorado on Saturday.

Golden Knights: At Dallas on Saturday.


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