Penguins defense unravels in loss to Golden Knights
LAS VEGAS — Jonathan Marchessault scored three goals for his second career hat trick to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
Phil Kessel, Dominik Simon and Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins, and Casey DeSmith finished with 28 saves.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who spent his first 13 seasons in Pittsburgh, stopped 34 shots to up his record to 27-12-4.
Shea Theodore, Max Pacioretty, Oscar Lindberg and William Karlsson also scored as the Golden Knights improved to 16-4-3 at home this season.
Marchessault scored twice in less than four minutes in the second period to give Vegas a 5-3 lead. His empty-netter with 21 seconds left in the game completed the scoring with the Golden Knights’ first hat trick of the season and third in franchise history.
The attendance was 18,511, for the second-largest regular-season crowd in the second-year franchise’s history.
Both goalies were exceptional against two of the more high-energy offenses in the league. All 18 Vegas skaters had at least one shot, and 14 of the Penguins’ 18 had one shot.
After surviving an onslaught from several of his former teammates, Fleury couldn’t stop Kessel, who took a feed from Olli Maatta and scored top shelf 3:51 into the game. It marks the 11th straight season Kessel has hit the 20-goal mark.
Theodore ended Vegas’ three-game drought on the power play when he blasted a one-timer from the right point and tied the game with his sixth goal of the season at 6:09.
Later in the first, the Golden Knights made it 3-1 with back-to-back goals in 43 seconds, as Pacioretty fired a muffed shot by Paul Stastny past DeSmith, then Lindberg capitalized on a two-on-one break with Ryan Carpenter to push Vegas’ lead to two goals with just under four minutes remaining.
The Penguins showed no signs of fatigue after playing the night before in Arizona, as they came out flying in the second period with consecutive goals by Simon and Crosby inside the first six minutes to tie the score 3-3. Jake Guentzel, who has eight goals in nine games since the start of 2019, assisted on both goals.
The Penguins are off until Jan. 28, when they host the Devils.
Notes: Fleury continues to lead the league with 43 starts, 27 victories and six shutouts this season. … Evgeni Malkin, who also assisted on Kessel’s goal, is two assists shy of reaching 600 for his career.