Barbashev scores twice as Golden Knights beat Rangers
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Ivan Barbashev had his first two-goal game of the season and Logan Thompson made 29 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights continued to show signs of heating up with a 5-1 victory Thursday night over the New York Rangers.
Barbashev ended his 10-game goal drought, hitting the back of the net for the first time since Dec. 21. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and an assist, Keegan Kolesar also scored and Brett Howden added an empty-net goal with Vegas short-handed. Mark Stone and Nic Roy each had two assists.
Thompson, who made several sensational saves, has allowed just eight goals over his past five starts for the defending Stanley Cup champions. He has been carrying the load in the crease with Adin Hill out due to a lower-body injury.
“We kind of had a sloppy start and he was unbelievable,” Marchessault said. “He’s been playing really well the last couple of games, and it’s good he’s finding his game. He has a lot of consistency, makes big saves at the right time and gives us a chance to win every night.”
Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal for the Rangers.
“That's a tough (loss),” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought our guys started with the right intentions. We played hard the whole night. I hate the score. The game kind of unraveled in the wrong way for a group that was ready to play.”
Vegas has won four of its past six games, but was in trouble in the opening minutes.
The Rangers dominated early, outshooting the Golden Knights 11-4 with some grade-A chances that Thompson kept out of the net. His play allowed Vegas to find its game, and the Knights struck first with goals from Marchessault and Barbashev. Roy had the primary assist on both.
Barbashev's goal was reviewed because the puck went off his skate, but officials determined he didn't kick it in and the score stood.
“Usually when you’re thinking of a 5-1 win, you’re not thinking of your goalie,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He did his job and more. After we got the first goal, the goal helps, but it's also like, ‘Hey, Logan’s here to play tonight.'"
Cassidy cautioned, however, relying so much on the goaltender might not be sustainable.
“I don't know how often the goalie's going to bail you out like he did in the first period,” Cassidy said.
The Golden Knights struck again with two goals — by Barbashev and Kolesar — in the final 2:01 of the second period to go up 4-0. Barbashev's goal was on a power play.
The Rangers took advantage of their own power play to score 40 seconds into the third period. Chris Kreider found Zibanejad, who had an open net in front of him. It was New York's 14th game scoring with the man advantage in the past 19.
Howden answered with 1:28 left when he scored into an empty net as the Rangers were skating with a 6-on-4 advantage.
Rangers: Play at Los Angeles on Saturday night, the second stop on a four-game trip.
Golden Knights: Will host Pittsburgh on Saturday to complete a five-game homestand.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl