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game recap

Smith's two goals boost Golden Knights past Blue Jackets

Scores shorthanded; Columbus winless streak reaches five

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

Smith's shorthanded snipe

VGK@CBJ: Smith nets second goal while shorthanded

Reilly Smith lets go of a wrist shot that finds the back of the net for a shorthanded goal, his second tally of the game

  • 00:47 •

COLUMBUS -- Reilly Smith scored twice when the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.

Smith's shorthanded goal at 7:36 of the second period broke a 1-1 tie for the Golden Knights (9-5-2), who had lost their previous two games in overtime after surrendering two-goal leads to the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets.

"I've had chances the past few games," Smith said. "To be able to help us win tonight was a good feeling."


[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Blue Jackets highlights]


Former Columbus forward William Karlsson had two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for Vegas after missing the 4-3 loss to the Jets on Saturday because of the flu.

The Golden Knights began a four-game trip after a 1-1-2 homestand.

"Those last two losses at home we had the lead going into the third and we found ways to lose those games," Fleury said. "It was tough, it was frustrating, but tonight we were up by one and we stuck with it. We didn't make any mistakes and maybe we can build off that."

Video: VGK@CBJ: Smith scores off defender in front

Boone Jenner scored, and Joonas Korpisalo made 23 saves for the Blue Jackets (5-7-3), who are 0-4-1 in their past five games.

"You've got to keep building here," Jenner said. "We have to find a way to put those chances in.

"In a game there's going to be close chances, but obviously you want to cash in. We have to play a little bit better if we want better results."

Vegas took a 1-0 lead on Smith's goal from the right side of the net with 45 seconds left in the first period.

Jenner tied it 1-1 at 5:37 of the second period. He took a pass from Dean Kukan and snapped a shot to the upper right corner from the left face-off circle.

Smith made it 2-1 by finishing a 2-on-1 with Karlsson.

Columbus was 0-for-4 on the power play.

"The penalty kill was awesome," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. "The shorthanded goal was obviously a big part of the game."

Video: VGK@CBJ: Jenner picks the corner on Fleury

Columbus has allowed four shorthanded goals in 15 games this season.

"We played good defensively," Korpisalo said. "Of course, mistakes happen every game. You can't do anything with that."

The Blue Jackets came close to tying it in the third period, but Kukan's shot from the right point hit the left post at 5:32, and after Fleury made the save on Seth Jones' shot from the slot at 10:24, Golden Knights defenseman Jon Merrill stretched to clear the puck from in front of the goal line.

"We were pretty resilient just trying to clear the front of the net tonight," Smith said. "[Fleury] made a lot of big saves, but it seemed they had a lot of ways to pressure and they were creating chances.

"It was nice to see it go our way after the last couple went the opposite way. It's frustrating, so it's nice to get a win like that, especially on the road to start a long road trip."

Video: VGK@CBJ: Fleury denies Jones' wrist shot


They said it

"Our zone exits were a lot better than the last couple of games. A couple of shifts in the third period we struggled a little bit, but overall it was a solid game." -- Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant

"We were close, I thought, in the second period. A little sloppy with turnovers. We're close, but that doesn't put you in the win column." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

Video: Clutch Performance: Reilly Smith nets two big ones


Need to know

Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara left the game at 3:10 of the second period after the puck deflected off his stick and hit his face. There was no update on him. … Karlsson has seven points (three goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak. … In losing three straight at home, Columbus has been outscored 9-2.


What's next

Golden Knights: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNO, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A PLUS, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Video: Smith, Fleury lead Golden Knights to 2-1 victory

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