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This time, there was no third period meltdown. No lead squandered.

Instead, the Vegas Golden Knights played Sunday like the team everyone expected when the season began on Oct. 2. They skated. They defended. They scored. And they won.

The Knights’ 6-0 shutout over Calgary at T-Mobile Arena not only halted the team’s five-game losing streak, it gave them a much-needed boost emotionally.

“It was big to get our overall confidence back,” coach Gerard Gallant said. ‘It was a process for us. We played well the last couple of games but were weren’t rewarded for it. Tonight we played the right way and we got rewarded.”  

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When a team is struggling like the Golden Knights have this month with their third-period issues, it’s understandable to expect the worst.

So despite having a 2-0 lead after two periods, there was plenty of cause for skepticism. And concern from most of the 18,083 inside T-Mobile.

Instead, Vegas kept the pressure on. And with Marc-Andre Fleury standing strong in goal, the Knights did not wilt.

The forwards were coming back, helping out and blocking shots. The defense, which had been prone to backing into their goaltender, stood up Calgary’s forwards at the blue line, crushed them along the boards when the Flames tried to work their way in and protected their goalie in front of his crease.

“We were much more consistent,” said Fleury, who stopped 34 shots and recorded his second shutout of the season. “We hadn’t been doing that lately.”

William Karlsson opened the scoring with a shot off a 2-on-1 that beat Cam Talbot midway through the first period. It was the third straight game that Karlsson has scored. He also scored the final goal with 2:32 to play, a backhander that trickled past Talbot.

Paul Stastny, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 27, made it 2-0 midway through the second period. 

Karlsson later assisted on Max Pacioretty’s goal that made it 3-0, the play coming moments after Fleury had robbed Mark Giordano with a kick save with the right leg after Matthew Tkachuk had set him up all alone in front. 

The best may have been saved for late in the game as Cody Eakin scored with 5:35 to go. Calgary challenged, claiming Eakin was offsides. But the challenge was unsuccessful, the goal stood and Eakin, who has struggled most of the year offensively, notched his first of the year.

“Yeah, it definitely felt good,” Eakin said of finally scoring. “It’s been a while. But you need all your lines going and that’s what we got tonight. We were working hard and forechecking well throughout. I thought it was a pretty good statement for us.”

Mark Stone, who also has been struggling of late, got off the schneid moments later with a one-timer on the power play for his first since Halloween to give Vegas a 5-0 lead.

Fleury took care of the rest. He even didn’t let a skirmish with Tkachuk in the second period throw him off his game after Tkachuk interfered with him and tried to goad him into conflict. 

It was the kind of game that had been eluding the Knights for the past couple of weeks and the players hope it can get them going in the other direction.

“The whole group was good,” said defenseman Nate Schmidt, who collected four assists and had his best game of the year since returning to the lineup Oct. 31 following a knee injury suffered opening night. “But that’s got to be our standard.”

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About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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