LAS VEGAS — Jonathan Marchessault scored three goals for his second career hat trick to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
Shea Theodore, Max Pacioretty, Oscar Lindberg and William Karlsson also scored as the Golden Knights improved to 16-4-3 at home this season. Marc-Andre Fleury, who spent his first 13 seasons with the Penguins, stopped 34 shots to up his record to 27-12-4.
Marchessault scored twice less than four minutes apart in the second period to give Vegas a 5-3 lead. His empty-netter with 21 seconds left in the game completed the scoring with the Golden Knights’ first hat trick of the season and third in franchise history.
The attendance was 18,511, for the second-largest regular-season crowd in the second-year franchise’s history.
Phil Kessel, Dominik Simon and Sidney Crosby scored for Pittsburgh, and Casey DeSmith finished with 28 saves.
Both goalies were exceptional against two of the more high-energy offences in the league. All 18 Vegas skaters had at least one shot, while 14 of Pittsburgh’s 18 had one shot.
After surviving an onslaught from several of his former teammates, Fleury couldn’t stop Kessel, who took a feed from Olli Maatta and beat the former Penguin top shelf 3:51 into the game. It marks the 11th straight season Kessel has hit the 20-goal mark.
Theodore ended Vegas’ three-game drought on the power play when he blasted a one-timer from the right point and tied the game with his sixth goal of the season at 6:09.
Later in the first, the Golden Knights would make it 3-1 with back-to-back goals in 43 seconds, as Pacioretty fired a muffed shot by Paul Stastny past DeSmith, then Lindberg capitalized on a two-on-one break with Ryan Carpenter to push Vegas’ lead to two goals with just under four minutes remaining.
The Penguins showed no signs of fatigue after playing the night before in Arizona, as they came out flying in the second period with consecutive goals by Simon and Crosby inside the first six minutes to tie the score 3-3. Jake Guentzel, who has eight goals in nine games since the start of 2019, assisted on both goals.
NOTES: Fleury continues to lead the league with 43 starts, 27 victories and six shutouts this season. … Alex Tuch, who assisted on Pacioretty’s goal, leads the Golden Knights with 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists) this season. … Evgeni Malkin, who also assisted on Kessel’s goal, is just two assists shy of reaching 600 for his career. … Tonight’s game concluded the Penguins sixth of 11 back-to-back situations. They sport a cumulative record of 8-3-1 in back to backs (5-0-1 the first night; 3-3-0 the second night). … Since being recalled from the Chicago Wolves on Dec. 19, Brandon Pirri leads the team with 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists), but had his four-game point streak end.
Pittsburgh: Hosts New Jersey on Jan. 28
Vegas: Hosts Minnesota on Monday
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W.G. Ramirez, The Associated Press