LAS VEGAS (AP) — Shea Theodore blasted a shot from the left circle with 32.5 seconds left Tuesday night to give Vegas a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers and extend the Golden Knights’ season-opening winning streak to seven games.
“I think I saw six bodies in front of the net,” Theodore said. “I was just trying to get one through. I think I had 10 shots blocked tonight.”
The Knights scored two goals in the final 7:54 to overcome a 2-1 deficit.
“They turned it up,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “They throw caution to the wind. You end up backing up a little bit and being a little tentative. I think some of our younger players felt it a little bit, and these are some of the lessons we’re going to have to go through.”
In addition to Theodore, Ivan Barbashev and Paul Cotter also scored for the Knights and Jack Eichel had two assists. Logan Thompson made 26 saves.
Noah Cates and Cam Atkinson scored for Philadelphia, and Carter Hart stopped 26 shots.
The Knights’ 7-0 start ties seven other teams for ninth best in NHL history. Vegas, which has scored at least three goals in every game, also has the best start for a defending Stanley Cup champion.
The Knights scored the first goal at 6:54 of the first period when Jonathan Marchessault passed behind the Flyers’ net to Eichel for a point-blank shot. Hart saved the shot, but the rebound went right to Barbashev, who buried the shot.
The Flyers scored twice in the final 6:53 of the period to take a 2-1 lead. After Cates scored off teammate Joel Farabee’s rebound, Atkinson got a can’t-believe-it-went-in goal from the left circle. Thompson couldn’t corral the puck that was heading wide, but dropped behind him, and Atkinson smiled in disbelief.
“It happens to every goalie in this league from time to time,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “So now he makes some saves in the second to give us a chance. They don’t extend the lead. That’s where I give Logan a lot of credit.
“That’s how you stay in the league. You can’t be a young guy that gets affected by every mistake.”
It’s the first time this season the Knights have trailed after a period.
The Flyers’ lead held up through the second, though both teams had high-quality shots, Philadelphia early in the period and the Knights later. It was the second time Vegas has been shut out in a period this season.
Vegas wouldn’t be shut out in the third period. William Karlsson delivered a pass to Cotter as he was entering the zone. Cotter then deked Philadelphia’s Egor Zamula in the right circle and scored to tie the game at 2-2 with 7:54 left. The goal extended Cotter’s point streak to four games and Karlsson’s to five.
“It’s a move that I’m comfortable with,” Cotter said. “It’s something I’ve done so many times. I know how to do it. There are certain times to do it, and right time, right spot. I figured I would pull it off.”
Cotter came through even though he spent much of the second period off the ice when Cassidy shortened the bench to try to provide a spark.
“Sometimes the bench gets shortened,” Cotter said. “We’re in the NHL for a reason. As soon as our name’s called, we have a job to do. … If it happens, stay ready and explode out as soon as you get the chance.”
Cotter’s goal set up Theodore’s winner, extending his point streak to five games.
Vegas center Nic Roy went into the locker room in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Cassidy said he didn’t have an update.
Flyers: At home against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Golden Knights: At home against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday for the annual Nevada Day afternoon game.