LOS ANGELES — Mark Stone scored the tiebreaking goal with 24.9 seconds to play, giving the Golden Knights a season-opening victory in coach Bruce Cassidy’s debut, 4-3 over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Arthur Kaliyev tied it for the Kings with 7:02 left, but the Knights capitalized in the waning seconds after the Kings made a push up ice instead of running out the clock for overtime.
Chandler Stephenson controlled a turnover in the neutral zone and carried the puck in for Stone, who whipped a shot past Jonathan Quick to cap the Knights’ three-goal third period.
“We had our breakdowns, but that’s just learning curves,” Stone said. “If we can cut those in half, we’ll get it done. Power play got a little talking-to in between periods there. We stepped up for it in the third.”
William Karlsson had a goal and an assist as the Golden Knights put a whopping 51 shots on Quick, including 20 in the final period. Jonathan Marchessault and Jack Eichel also scored, while Alex Pietrangelo had assists on the Knights’ last two goals.
Cassidy spent the past six seasons with the Bruins, who fired him in June even though Boston made the playoffs each year he was there. The Golden Knights hired him eight days later to get the NHL’s model expansion franchise back to the postseason.
“I thought we showed a lot of resilience,” said Cassidy, whose Knights open Thursday night at home against the Chicago Blackhawks. “We kept pushing back whenever something didn’t go our way. … For a coach, you’re always worried that when you don’t know your team that well — it’s our first league game — what will happen when things don’t go well? It’s always, to me, a sign of good character in the room when a team is resilient, so that’s a big plus for me no matter how the score turned out.”
Logan Thompson made 27 saves in his first game since becoming Vegas’ first-choice goalie in the absence of injured Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit.
Quick made 47 saves while starting on opening night for the 14th time in the Kings’ last 15 seasons. Gabe Vilardi and Adrian Kempe also scored for Los Angeles, but coach Todd McLellan lamented his team’s poor game management and overall defensive intensity while saying the Kings’ last-minute turnover “makes no sense” and “was just stupidity.”
“We’ve preached and preached about it,” McLellan said. “Sometimes you’ve got to get hit pretty hard with a two-by-four. Maybe this was it. … That is all game management. That’s getting engaged and being ready to go. Their team did a better job of it than we did tonight.”
The Knights’ impressive entrance into the NHL in 2017 coincided with the Kings’ decline from the best times in franchise history, but the momentum shifted last season between two teams separated by about 3 1/2 hours of desert freeway.
Los Angeles ended its three-year playoff drought and stretched Edmonton to seven games in the first round after finishing the regular season five points ahead of the Golden Knights, who missed the postseason for the first time.
In their first meeting of the new season, the Knights showed they’ve got more than enough offense to break through the defense-minded Kings.
“We wasted an outstanding goaltending night by not at least getting a point,” McLellan said. “That’s disappointing.”