Sunday's game was important for the Vegas Golden Knights.
A victory over the Calgary Flames, one of their Pacific Division rivals, would push them into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference and push the Flames out of a playoff berth amid a tightening division race. They were also looking to snap a five-game losing streak. Needless to say, they were on a mission.
A four-goal outburst in the third period — in which they scored three times in 3:03 — pushed the Golden Knights to a dominant 6-0 victory at home. Their performance was a big step in the right direction.
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Vegas dominated in several categories: It won 59 percent of its faceoffs and blocked 20 shots. It committed just one giveaway and forced seven takeaways.
Here are three reasons why the Golden Knights won Sunday:
William Karlsson kept it going
Karlsson was one of Vegas' best players, scoring twice and adding an assist.
He now has points in three consecutive games, with seven points over that span. Overall, he has 23 points in 22 games, putting him on pace for 86 points, a career high and a 30-point increase from last season.
hey I heard you were a Wild one pic.twitter.com/SiRH6FFZ9n
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 18, 2019
If he can remain consistent and continue using his shot, hands and speed to his advantage — while also playing well in his own end — then the Golden Knights will be in position to not only to maintain a playoff spot but also be a top contender in the West.
— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) November 18, 2019
Marc-Andre Fleury was huge in net
"The Flower" had an insane effort between the pipes, stopping all 34 shots and making a number of big saves.
Fleury improved to 10-5-1 on the season with the victory. He is now tied for the NHL lead in wins. He also boosted his save percentage to .920 — 11th overall — and lowered his goals-against average to 2.52.
— NHL (@NHL) November 18, 2019
Having a strong presence in goal is vital to being a playoff team, which means it will be important for the 34-year-old Fleury to remain in top form moving forward. Sunday was a good starting point. If he can keep his save percentage above .920, it'll be his best performance in goal since 2017-18, his first year with the expansion Knights.
Nate Schmidt provided puck-moving ability
Schmidt also had a big night with four assists, giving him seven points in 10 games this season. He's on pace for 48 points despite getting a late start to his season because of an ankle injury he suffered in the summer.
— Jason R. Pothier (@JRPothier) November 18, 2019
He was more involved on the rush and appeared to be more confident with the puck while also being strong in his own end. He's showing that he can not only start the breakout but also be an option to quarterback the power play.
The 28-year-old Schmidt, who's averaging 20:28 per night, is one of Vegas' most important blueliners. Having him back on the ice and starting to find his game will help keep the Golden Knights moving in the right direction.