LAS VEGAS — That stumble before the All-Star break — one victory in eight games — is fading fast for the Golden Knights. Sunday’s 7-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena was their third straight since the NHL pause, all coming on blowouts.
“I think you’re kind of limping into the break a little bit,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Everyone knows it’s coming. You’re on the road and things aren’t happening for you, so mentally you’re a little bit challenged.
“Coming out of the break, you’re refreshed. That mental sort of weight is gone. You’re starting over. The history of scoring in our room is there, so we knew it wasn’t going to go on forever.”
Seven players had two points as the Knights scored five times in the third period to break open a one-goal game.
Michael Amadio, William Carrier, Jack Eichel, Phil Kessel and Shea Theodore each had a goal and an assist. Paul Cotter and Brett Howden added a goal each. Reilly Smith and William Karlsson each had two assists.
Isac Lundestrom had a goal and an assist and Frank Vatrano also scored for the Ducks. John Gibson finished with 32 saves.
Limping into the break on a 1-5-2 stretch, the Knights have outscored their last three opponents 7-4 to take a three-point lead in the Pacific Division.
The Knights held a 12-5 edge in shots in the first period and dominated play nearly throughout. But they held just a 1-0 lead on Paul Cotter’s rebound goal 2:08 into the game.
The teams traded goals in the second period — Howden scoring for the Knights and Vatrano for the Ducks.
Anaheim nearly tied the game early in the third period, but Ryan Strome was stuffed on a breakaway by Knights goalie Adin Hill. With Logan Thompson week to week with a lower-body injury, Hill is the starter for the near term, and he made 23 saves.
“I was just trying to be patient and wait for him to make the first move,” Hill said of Strome’s shot attempt. “I think he was trying to kind of go above the pad there and kind of whiffed on it a bit. But it hit my pad and stayed out.”
Then the Knights took over. Theodore scored at 6:40, Kessel at 8:11 and Eichel at 11:53 to make it 5-1.
Those goals helped keep the Knights hot and handed the Ducks their second loss in a row after their best stretch of the season. They had gone 4-0-1 before losing to Pittsburgh on Friday and then Sunday in Las Vegas.
“I think the missed breakaway that would’ve evened it up would’ve certainly helped,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “Vegas got a couple of hard-working, good-bounce goals, and then we just fell apart trying to do everybody else’s job in our own zone.”
Anaheim added a goal when Lundestrom scored at 13:34. He also had the primary assist on the other Ducks goal.