Erik Haula’s goal in double overtime gave the Vegas Golden Knights a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
With 4:37 left on the clock in the second overtime, Haula skated in on his own to beat goalie Jonathan Quick and send a towel-waving crowd of 18,588 into a frenzy.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Alex Tuch scored for expansion Vegas in regulation, and Paul LaDue had the Kings’ goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for the Golden Knights. Quick stopped 54 shots for the Kings.
The Golden Knights outshot Los Angeles in regulation, 35-20.
The Kings were playing without suspended defenceman Drew Doughty, a Norris Trophy contender who led the NHL in total minutes this season. The league’s Department of Player Safety handed down a one-game suspension after Doughty’s illegal hit to the head on Vegas forward William Carrier midway through the third period of the Golden Knights’ 1-0 series-opening victory Wednesday night.
Kings set physical tone
Game 1 featured 127 hits, including 68 by the Kings, and the rugged play continued in Game 2, with the same physical theme. Los Angeles outhit the Golden Knights 80-56 after the two combined for 113 in regulation.
Vegas got on the board first after Jonathan Marchessault’s shot went wide and caromed off the end boards. Tuch was in front of the net to clean it up for his first career playoff goal, giving the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead late in the first period.
The Kings got their first goal of the series on a power play, when LaDue fired a wrist shot from the point to beat Fleury with 4:05 left in the second.
Anze Kopitar tried to convert William Karlsson’s turnover into a 2-1 lead for the Kings, but his backhand was stymied by Fleury with 5:24 left in the third.
Fleury then made successive saves against LaDue and Kyle Clifford as the Kings tried to capitalize on some of their best chances to take the lead. Minutes later it was Quick making big saves against Haula and James Neal.
Fleury, Quick magnificent
Both teams had their chances in overtime, but Fleury and Quick were magnificent between the pipes.
Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar both sent shots wide of Fleury three minutes into the first overtime, and Neal had a pair of wrist shots blocked by Quick at the other end.
After a bad pass by Shea Theodore led to back-to-back chances for Tyler Toffoli right in front of Fleury, one of Vegas’ best penalty killers, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, was called for delay of game, but the Kings couldn’t capitalize on the power play.
Later in the extra session, Reilly Smith led an odd-man rush but opted for a game-winning attempt, only to be denied by Quick, who also stopped Marchessault’s point-blank shot with less than a minute left in the first overtime.