Pacioretty, Subban help Golden Knights beat Devils 3-2
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind for Max Pacioretty.
After missing seven games because of a lower-body injury, the Vegas Golden Knights forward scored the winner Friday night in his return at Anaheim, then rushed back to Las Vegas in time to see son Michael born at 2 a.m. Saturday.
Sunday it was back to business, with the former Montreal star breaking a tie with 4:14 left in the second period to help Vegas beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2.
“It (was) a lucky bounce off my pant; I thought that our line generated a lot tonight, I think we were leaned on defensively as well, and that’s the type of line we want to be,” said Pacioretty, who redirected Shea Theodore’s shot from the point past goalie Keith Kincaid for his second straight game-winner. “It’s just a weekend to remember. I’m happy that he is here finally and happy that everyone is home, happy and healthy.”
Malcolm Subban made 36 saves, and Vegas overcame a 2-0 deficit to improve to 17-3-3 since Nov. 21.
“We were definitely the better team most of the game so I think we deserved this one,” Subban said. “It was a tough start there, with a couple of goals, but the boys were right back and persevered and I didn’t get too much the rest of the game.”
Not until the third period, when he made 20 of his saves, including six during back-to-back New Jersey power play opportunities over the final 3:22 of the game.
“He was outstanding tonight, played a real good solid game for us, it was good,” Gallant said. “He hadn’t played in this building in quite a while, so it was good to see him play today. … It was two (penalty kills) back-to-back, and the goalie pulled at the end of it too, so I think they did an outstanding job. Subby made some real key saves. There was traffic in front of the net, and there was a couple of rebounds there so he stood tall and stood strong in there. It was an excellent job to win a hockey game.”
Subban, who said he found out a couple of days prior he’d be in net for his first home start since March 30, has won his last two starts and allowed just four goals in his last three after giving up 18 in his first four starts.
“I was excited to get back in front of the fans … anytime you can get in front of your home fans here it’s unbelievable,” Subban said. “It’s the best building in the league. It’s a lot of fun for sure.”
The defending Western Conference champions moved into a first-place tie in the West and Pacific Division with Calgary, each with 56 points. The Flames have two games in hand.
“We just want to keep getting points cause everybody else is winning in our conference, so you got to keep winning and playing hard,” Gallant said. “I like what we’re doing. I didn’t like a whole lot about some of the parts of the game tonight, but we played well enough to win. Tonight, we only gave up two goals, and Subby had a chance to play and played real well so that’s a big thing for our team.
Nico Hischier and Ben Lovejoy scored for New Jersey, and Kincaid made 25 saves.
With the loss, New Jersey is now 27-11-16 in one-goal games. The Devils have 39 points and are 11 points back in the wild-card race, behind the New York Islanders and Buffalo, who have 50 points each.
“Some of our puck management early in the (second) period wasn’t very good. That allowed them to get up and get going,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “Consistency, that’s the biggest thing this year. We understand what our game it is … we know what our identity is and what it needs to be and now it needs to be more consistent to give us a better chance to win more games.”
NOTES: New Jersey star Taylor Hill missed his sixth game and remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. … The Devils are 5-4-2 in day contests this season. … The Devils, who are an astounding 87-0-14 when leading after two periods since the 2015-15 season, are 2-15-2 when trailing after two periods this season. … Both teams were 0 for 2 on the power play, and the Golden Knights are mired in an 0-for-16 slump over their last six games. … New Jersey is 25 for 26 on the penalty kill in its last seven games.
Devils: At Buffalo on Tuesday night
Golden Knights: Host New York Rangers on Tuesday night.