LAS VEGAS — Phil Kessel matched the NHL record for consecutive games played, Chandler Stephenson scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1.
Logan Thompson made 23 saves for the Golden Knights. Stephenson’s goal 42 seconds into the third gave Vegas a 2-1 lead and held up for his 15th career game-winner – and second in three games.
Kessel tied defenseman Keith Yandle‘s ironman record by playing in his 989th straight game. The 17-year veteran is set to break the mark at San Jose.
Yandle’s streak began in 2009 and ended in March last season. Kessel’s streak started in November 2009.
“There’s some luck involved, but I always want to play,” Kessel said. “Obviously, there’s games you could miss throughout your career, but I’ve been fortunate so far.”
Thompson was looking for redemption after a 3-2 loss to Colorado.
“It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t happy with my performance, so you know, just forgot about it the next day and got back to work at practice and just needed to be ready to go tonight,” he said. “I felt good all night. The guys at the back end and the forward group made my job real easy.”
“We just got beat by a team that was better than us tonight in all facets,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said.
Shortly after what appeared to be Kessel’s 400th career goal got overturned, the Golden Knights forward picked up an assist when Vegas took advantage of a power play to open the scoring.
After Samsonov stopped back-to-back shots by Kessel and Reilly Smith, Roy was on the doorstep to bat the puck in.
“I didn’t even know. I had no clue. I thought I scored, actually,” Kessel said of his disallowed goal. “But you know, it is what it is. We scored right after.”
Nylander tied it midway through the second period when he took a pass from captain John Tavares, skated across the slot and beat Thompson with a snapper from the right side.
Amadio got his goal midway through the third when he ripped Nic Hague‘s pass from the left boards past Samsonov on the far side.
Toronto had a chance to draw closer late in the third when Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb was called for high-sticking with 2:43 left. But Thompson was fantastic under rapid fire, stopping the final four shots of the game, including three on the penalty kill.
“I think the whole team was rock solid tonight. We really shut down their big guns, and they’ve got a lot of them,” Thompson said. “So credit goes to the D-corps and the forward group. They were outstanding.”
NOTES: Stephenson has scored a goal in three straight games. … Tavares exited with 13:02 left when he took a slap shot from teammate Rasmus Sandin on the back of the knee. “Those are the kind of things that just take a little time to settle down,” Keefe said.
Maple Leafs: Play at San Jose.
Golden Knights: Play the second leg of a back-to-back at San Jose.