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Golden Knights 5, Canucks 2: 3 Takeaways

Erik Haula's third-period goal broke a 2-2 tie and carried Vegas to victory

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Tonight says a lot about the Golden Knights.

After a disastrous 8-2 loss in Edmonton on Tuesday, with six losses in their last seven road games, after blowing a two-goal lead tonight…Vegas just found a way.

Erik Haula scored to break a 2-2 tie early in the third period and when Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith added insurance, Vegas skated away with a 5-2 victory. 

With the win, the Golden Knights not only salvaged a split on their two-game road trip leading into Sunday's showdown with the LA Kings at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas also improved to 11-6-1 for the season, and moved to within one point of first place in the Pacific Division at the time of this writing.

Here are three immediate takeaways from Thursday's 5-2 win in Vancouver.

Video: VGK@VAN: Haula finishes Perron's great pass

 

1. Loads Of Resilience

When the Canucks' Bo Horvat officially erased Vegas' lead that had once been 2-0, it looked bad for the Golden Knights.

With 2:22 remaining, there was that pit that was beginning to form in your stomach.

For a team that has been snake bitten so often lately, surely Vegas wasn't going to lose this one, too? Especially after dominating so thoroughly through the first period and a half, right?

As the third period began, this seemed possible. It would've been a nightmare scenario, too, after Tuesday's 8-2 loss in Edmonton and a 1-4-1 road trip that finished last week.

But the Golden Knights showed loads of resilience tonight.

Where rather than folding after Vancouver seized the momentum, the Golden Knights rebounded, using an Erik Haula goal 6:27 into the third period to go ahead for good. Two late insurance goals made it 5-2.

For a team whose status has been delicate as of late, it needed a big goal to right itself.

Haula came through with perhaps this team's biggest goal all year, as Vegas earned a split on the road trip.

 

2. Karlsson Stays Hot

When the Golden Knights came into the NHL as an expansion team, it automatically was going to give several players better chances than at any point in their careers.

 

Video: VGK@VAN: Karlsson roofs a shot from in front

 

Twenty-three extra roster spots throughout the league, plus the chance for many players to assume larger roles, after many had been blocked on crowded depth charts throughout the league.

No player has embodied this for the Golden Knights more so far this season than William Karlsson. After going scoreless through six games, Karlsson was moved from wing to center and has since caught fire.

Now centering a line with Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault, Karlsson's been the hottest Golden Knight for weeks now.

In fact, his goal that gave Vegas a 2-0 first-period lead was his seventh in his past 12 games. To put that in perspective, Karlsson scored six all year with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 81 games last season. His career-high is nine goals.

Now on pace for 32 goals and 59 points this season, Karlsson's continued strong performance helped set a tone in the first period. Where even though the Canucks eventually fought back to tie it, the Golden Knights were never chasing the game tonight, as has been the case in several recent road games.

Karlsson deserves a lot of credit for this.

 

Video: VGK@VAN: Perron dangles, snipes in sweet goal

 

3. Lagace WHAT!?

Over the past few weeks, Maxime Lagace has become a bit of a piñata for some Golden Knights fans. The goalie, the team's fourth string goalie, has assumed the starter role since October 30, when Oscar Dansk went down to injury in Brookyn.

 

Video: VGK@VAN: Lagace denies Sutter with left pad save

 

What was then an 8-1-0 record for the Golden Knights has been followed by a 2-5-1 stretch entering tonight. Which although several elements have gone into this beyond goaltending, as the goalie, Lagace has often been the target for many fans.

With Malcolm Subban skating with the team on both Wednesday and Thursday and seemingly nearing a return, it's hard to say how many more games Lagace will get.

But after his worst start on Tuesday - seven goals against - Lagace rebounded and stopped 19 of 21 shots to earn the win.

While Lagace is by no means Marc-Andre Fleury, you have to give the man his due. On more nights than not, he's given the Golden Knights a chance to win.

And after a recent bout of adversity, he deserves all sorts of credit for how he performed on Thursday.

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