ANAHEIM, Calif. — Chandler Stephenson scored two goals in the first period and the Vegas Golden Knights cruised to their franchise-record ninth consecutive victory, 5-1 over the last-place Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Stephenson had the first three-point night of his career, while Shea Theodore and William Karlsson got goals against their former team as the Knights rolled toward their fourth straight playoff appearance. William Carrier also scored for Vegas, which completed the season series with seven wins over Anaheim in eight meetings.
Robin Lehner made 23 saves in his second win at Honda Center in nine days. The veteran goalie blanked the the NHL’s worst offensive team 4-0 in Anaheim on April 16.
Sam Steel scored for the Ducks, who have lost four straight and nine of 12. Anaheim is playing out the string on its first stretch of three consecutive non-playoff seasons since 2002.
John Gibson stopped 26 shots for Anaheim, but the goalie is winless in eight consecutive home starts since March 8.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf didn’t play in the final two periods due to an upper-body injury.
Stephenson opened the scoring just 28 seconds in after a turnover by Anaheim’s David Backes. Max Pacioretty threw a backhand pass from the goal line into the slot, extending his points streak to a career high-tying seven games with the assist.
Later in the first period, Theodore threaded a beautiful outlet pass past two napping Ducks to set up a breakaway for Stephenson, whose quick release beat Gibson’s blocker for his 12th goal.
Alex Pietrangelo then made a sharp pass through two Ducks defensemen to Carrier, who buried it for his fifth goal.
Steel broke up Lehner’s shutout bid with a rebound goal while on one knee in the Knights’ crease early in the third period. Steel’s goal was his first since March 28.
Karlsson added his 10th goal in his last 13 games against the Ducks on a rebound moments later.
Vegas extended its lead atop the West Division to four points on Colorado, but the Avalanche have two games in hand. The rivals meet two more times this season, including Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.
Golden Knights: Host Avalanche on Wednesday.
Ducks: At Kings on Monday.
This post will be updated throughout the game
PRE GAME: Robin Lehner will be in net for the Knights. Knights are 6-1 against the Ducks this season. A Knights win would give the team franchise records 9 straight wins, 5 straight on the road.
FIRST PERIOD: Knights Chandler Stephenson (11) (Snap shot), Assist: Max Pacioretty (25). KNIGHTS 1, DUCKS 0, :28 into game.
Knights Chandler Stephenson (12) (Wrist shot), Assist: Shea Theodore (33). KNIGHTS 2, DUCKS 0 after one. Shots on goal: Ducks 10, Knights 9.
SECOND PERIOD: Knights goal William Carrier (5) (Wrist shot), Assist: Alex Pietrangelo (11). KNIGHTS 3, DUCKS 0 after two periods. Shots on goal, Knights 17, Ducks 16.
THIRD PERIOD: Ducks goal Sam Steel (5) (Tip-in shot), assist T. Terry (10). KNIGHTS 3, DUCKS 1, early in period.
Knights goal William Karlsson (12) (Backhand shot), Assists: Jonathan Marchessault (23) and Alex Pietrangelo (12). KNIGHTS 4, DUCKS 1.
Knights goal Shea Theodore (7) (Slap shot), Assists: Brayden McNabb (4) and Chandler Stephenson (17). KNIGHTS 5, DUCKS 1, final. Shots on goal: Knights 31, Ducks 24.
Vegas Golden Knights (33-11-2, first in the West Division) vs. Anaheim Ducks (14-26-7, eighth in the West Division)
Anaheim, California; Saturday, 6 p.m. PDT
LINE: Ducks +201, Golden Knights -250
BOTTOM LINE: Anaheim plays Vegas looking to end its seven-game home slide.
The Ducks are 14-26-7 against opponents in the West Division. Anaheim is the last team in the NHL averaging 5.8 points per game. Maxime Comtois leads the team with 28 total points.
The Golden Knights are 33-11-2 against the rest of their division. Vegas is fifth in the NHL recording 9.2 points per game, averaging 3.4 goals and 5.8 assists.
Vegas defeated Anaheim 5-2 in the last meeting between these teams on April 18.
TOP PERFORMERS: Comtois leads the Ducks with 28 points, scoring 13 goals and registering 15 assists. Alexander Volkov has four goals and one assist over the last 10 games for Anaheim.
Mark Stone leads the Golden Knights with 53 points, scoring 18 goals and adding 35 assists. Max Pacioretty has nine assists over the last 10 games for Vegas.
LAST 10 GAMES: Ducks: 3-6-1, averaging 2.1 goals, four assists, 4.5 penalties and 12.2 penalty minutes while giving up 2.6 goals per game with a .924 save percentage.
Golden Knights: 9-1-0, averaging 4.1 goals, 6.9 assists, 2.6 penalties and 5.5 penalty minutes while giving up 1.8 goals per game with a .934 save percentage.
INJURIES: Ducks: None listed.
Golden Knights: Keegan Kolesar: day to day (lower body), Reilly Smith: day to day (undisclosed).