LAS VEGAS (AP) — Erik Haula scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 Sunday.
Nate Schmidt, Colin Miller, Jonathan Marchessault and James Neal also scored for Vegas, while goalie Malcolm Subban stopped 16 shots. The Golden Knights moved into first place in the Pacific Division. They are tied with Los Angeles with 44 points, but have the tiebreaker by having played two fewer games.
Vegas improved to 13-2-1 at T-Mobile Arena with the most home wins by any team in the Western Conference.
Radim Vraba and Mike Matheson scored for the Panthers, while James Reimer stopped 35 shots.
With the score tied 2-2, Haula gave the Golden Knights their first lead of the game when he was left alone to the left of Reimer to tip Marchessault’s wrist shot from the point with 8:20 left.
Marchessault and Neal added empty-net goals in the final 2:10.
Vrbata opened the scoring with a power-play goal, as he took pass from Denis Malgin at the faceoff dot and blasted a one-timer past Subban just 2:58 into the game.
Matheson made it 2-0 at 5:13 as he glided past the blue line to receive a pass from Evgenii Dadonov and slapped the puck past Subban.
But just as the Knights have done in their building time and time again in their inaugural season, they rallied quickly.
Schmidt initiated a fantastic give-and-go on the defensive end by sending a pass to William Karlsson, who pushed the puck ahead to Reilly Smith, who then fed Schmidt to the left of Reimer and he finished the play with a one-time wrist shot to cut Florida’s lead in half at 6:39.
Miller tied it with 2:40 left in the opening period, firing a top-shelf slap shot over Reimer’s glove.
NOTES: Vegas D Deryk Engelland played in his 500th career game. … The Golden Knights acquired Marchessault from the Florida Panthers during the expansion draft in June. … With his first period assist, Nick Bjugstad moved into sole possession of 18th place on the Panthers’ career points list with 146. … The Panthers have been perfect on the penalty kill in six of their last eight games, including five consecutive games without allowing a power-play goal.
Panthers: At Arizona on Tuesday night.
Golden Knights: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.