LAS VEGAS — Erik Gustafsson scored his first goal of the season, Corey Crawford made 39 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Vegas 5-3 on Wednesday night for their first victory over the Golden Knights.
Patrick Kane, Calvin de Haan, Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome also scored for the Blackhawks. Crawford, who improved to 2-0-2 in his last four games, entered 0-3-0 versus Vegas with a 5.38 goals-against average and .859 save percentage.
William Carrier, William Karlsson and Nate Schmidt scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots but dropped to 10-6-4 against Chicago.
After going 1-2-1 on their most recent road trip, the Golden Knights started strong against a team they’ve dominated since entering the NHL in 2017.
Trying to shake up a stagnant offence, coach Gerard Gallant shuffled his lines dramatically. That seemed to spark the Golden Knights from the opening faceoff, as Carrier and Karlsson gave Vegas a 2-0 lead just 6:29 into the game.
Kane cut the margin in half 16 seconds after Karlsson’s goal, extending his season-high point streak to seven games since Nov. 2.
The second period took a wild twist in favour of the Blackhawks, as Vegas went from thinking it was ahead 3-1 to trailing 3-2 in a matter of 65 seconds.
In his first game back from his second injury of the season, Vegas wing Alex Tuch lasered a shot past Crawford. The puck appeared to go in, setting off the lights and goal horn, but actually hit the crossbar and was ruled no goal.
Only 20 seconds later, de Haan beat Fleury with a wrist shot over his glove to the top corner, tying the game and swinging energy further Chicago’s way. And 45 seconds after that, Gustafsson took advantage of the momentum shift — and a Vegas turnover — to put the Blackhawks in front 3-2.
Dach extended Chicago’s lead early in the third with his third goal of the season, when he knocked his own rebound past Fleury. Former Golden Knight Ryan Carpenter got his sixth assist on the 18-year-old centre’s goal.
Strome beat Fleury over his glove with a little more than three minutes left to make it 5-2. Schmidt scored with 1:01 to go.
NOTES: The game marked Carpenter’s first at T-Mobile Arena since signing with Chicago after spending two seasons with the Golden Knights. … Slater Koekkoek was a healthy scratch for Chicago, while Drake Caggiula is in concussion protocol.
Blackhawks: At the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
Golden Knights: Visit the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
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W.G. Ramirez, The Associated Press