LAS VEGAS — The Golden Knights took a major step toward winning the West on Thursday night, beating a major challenger in convincing fashion.

Scoring four times on their first six shots, the Knights dropped the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 before an announced crowed of 18,404 at T-Mobile Arena and moved six points ahead of the Kings in the race for the championship of the Western Conference.

The Knights, who lead the Pacific Division, have 106 points, three points better than the second-place Edmonton Oilers. Each team — Knights, Kings and Oilers — has three regular-season games left.

“I thought we were on our toes and we were ready to play,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought our forecheck was outstanding. We weren’t giving up odd-man rushes or numbers coming at us because of that. Our guys were real dedicated to that game plan tonight.”

Knights wing Jonathan Marchessault shoots before Kings center Anze Kopitar can get his stick in the path of the shot in the second period. (AP Photo/Lucas Peltier)

The Kings appeared to strike first, but a goal by Quinton Byfield 2:33 into the game was challenged by Cassidy. After a video review by officials, Byfield’s goal was nullified because the play was ruled offside.

Then it was all Knights.

Phil Kessel, Ivan Barbashev, Chandler Stephenson and Nicolas Roy scored in the next nine minutes for an insurmountable lead.

The line of Stephenson-Kessel-Barbashev was a major pain for the Kings. Stephenson set up the first two goals, by Kessel and Barbashev. Barbashev also had an assist on the opening goal.

Stephenson liked the energy of his linemates and praised their abilities. “Phil’s still got it,” Stephenson said. “He still makes plays. He’s quick, makes plays holds onto it and lets you get open. And Barby, he’s been a great addition. He can finish, and he makes plays.”

Roy finished the onslaught on the power play at 11:29, with Jack Eichel and Alex Pietrangelo drawing assists.

Jonathan Marchessault scored unassisted at the start of the second period for the Knights’ fifth straight goal. Anze Kopitar and Vladislav Gavrikov scored for the Kings, also in the second period.

Roy thought the nullified goal was a huge lift. Kessel scored just 21 seconds after the goal was waved off.

“It’s a two-goal difference there,” Roy said. “But we came out strong tonight. We were ready to play, I think, from the first minute.”

Laurent Brossoit, competing to be the starter in the playoffs, made 30 saves and remained unbeaten in regulation this season (5-0-3).

The Knights, 11-2-2 in their past 15 games, also lead the top two teams in the Central Division, the other half of the West, by six points. Colorado and Dallas share the Central lead, each with 100 points.

The West champ gets home-ice in the playoff through the conference final.

The loss disappointed Kings coach Todd McLellan. “We weren’t ready to play,” he said. “I think that was pretty evident. Tonight was a team loss. There were very few players that were engaged early. You can’t play like that this time of the year. We haven’t had one of those periods in a long, long time.

“That won’t be good enough for the rest of the season and the playoffs.”

Marchessault’s goal 1:02 into the second period chased Kings goalie Joonas Korpisalo (10 saves of 15 shots), who was replaced by Pheonix Copley. Copley stopped 22 shots.

Emotions boiled over midway through the first period, after Kings center Zack MacEwen was called for boarding Ben Hutton. Knights defenseman Nic Hague responded by dropping his gloves and square off against MacEwen.

MacEwen got five-minute majors for boarding and fighting, and Hague was given a 10-minute misconduct, a five-minute major for fighting and a two-minute minor for instigating.

“It’s a vulnerable position,” Hague said. “I didn’t like that. I thought it was from behind.”

Cassidy applauded Hague’s reaction and called it “a dangerous, dangerous hit” by MacEwen.

MacEwen was not made available for comment.

The Knights can take another step toward the conference title on Saturday when they visit Dallas Stars in a nationally televised matinee (12:30 p.m.. ABC).