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game recap

Golden Knights top Kings in Game 3, one win from advancing

Score three straight goals in third; Fleury makes 37 saves in victory

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The Vegas Golden Knights scored three goals in the third period for a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Staples Center on Sunday.

The Golden Knights lead the best-of-7 series 3-0. Game 4 is here Tuesday.


[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Kings highlights | Complete Golden Knights vs. Kings series coverage]


Vegas is the first NHL team to win its first three Stanley Cup Playoff games in its inaugural season.

"We're very happy to be 3-0. Did I expect it? I don't know," coach Gerard Gallant said. "We take it one at a time, and we've played some good hockey."

Video: VGK@LAK, Gm3: Neal nets go-ahead goal in the 3rd

Cody Eakin, James Neal and William Karlsson scored, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves for the Golden Knights.

Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, Alex Iafallo scored his first NHL playoff goal, and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings, who trail 3-0 in a series for the ninth time.

Neal beat Quick five-hole at 14:23 of the third to give Vegas a 2-1 lead, and Karlsson made it 3-1 at 14:44 with a one-timer off Reilly Smith's backhand pass from near the end boards.

"I think when you do the right things, if you're finishing your checks, you're playing well defensively, the goals will come," said Neal, who scored his 26th NHL playoff goal. "I've been in enough of those games, I feel like if you stick with it, you'll get your chance."

Kopitar tipped Oscar Fantenberg's shot past Fleury to pull the Kings within 3-2 with 2:04 remaining.

The Golden Knights tied it 1-1 at 6:10 when Eakin scored with a one-timer from the right face-off circle off a pass from Ryan Carpenter after Colin Miller hit the crossbar earlier in the sequence.

Los Angeles coach John Stevens pointed out that all three Vegas goals came on plays off the wall.

"First goal came from a stalled puck off the forecheck where we got beat on the wall. Second goal came from a play we got beat off the wall," Stevens said. "It's unfortunate. I thought we made a good push here tonight, created a lot more zone time, and made Fleury work a little harder than he had to this point in the series, but had some critical errors at critical times along the wall ended up costing us."

The Kings took a 1-0 lead at 13:14 of the first period, their first lead in the series. Iafallo shot into the top of the net from close range, but play continued for three seconds. After a stoppage, the Situation Room reviewed the play and ruled the puck crossed the goal line for Iafallo's first NHL playoff point.

Iafallo, who was a healthy scratch for Game 2, had not scored in 12 games dating to March 3.

The Kings outhit the Golden Knights 10-2 in the opening 4:40 and 28-13 in the first period.

"We knew they were going to come out and bring everything they had in that first period, and they definitely did," Gallant said. "They probably should have been up more than one goal."

Vegas is the third NHL team to win at least its first three playoff games, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1970 and the Florida Panthers in 1996. The Penguins (four wins) and Panthers each did so in their third season in the League.

Video: VGK@LAK, Gm3: Fleury makes flurry of saves


Goal of the game

Karlsson's goal at 14:44 of the third period.

Video: VGK@LAK, Gm3: Karlsson buries great pass from Smith


Save of the game

Fleury stopping Tyler Toffoli at 6:18 of the second period.

Video: VGK@LAK, Gm3: Fleury stretches to rob Toffoli


Highlight of the game

Eakin's goal at 6:10 of the third period.

Video: VGK@LAK, Gm3: Carpenter finds Eakin for tying goal


They said it

"We've played the same way all year. We roll four lines, and we try to create situations that's going to end up into offensive chances and playing the right way all game." -- Golden Knights forward David Perron


"All the experience and veterans in this locker room, they've been through it all. They have been helping us young guys throughout the whole way. Believe in them and believe in ourselves, and we'll be fine." -- Kings forward Alex Iafallo


Need to know

Perron had an assist in 17:12 in his return after missing the final six games of the regular season and the first two of the series with an undisclosed injury. His 50 assists led Vegas. ... Kopitar scored his 21st NHL playoff goal, passing Marcel Dionne (20) for sixth most in Kings history. … Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin was minus-1 with two shots on goal in 22:04 after missing the final five games of the regular season and the first two of the series because of an upper-body injury. ... Los Angeles is one of four teams in NHL history to come back from down 3-0 in a series, defeating the San Jose Sharks in the first round in 2014 to join the Philadelphia Flyers against the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the New York Islanders against the Penguins in the 1975 quarterfinals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final.


What's next

Game 4 of Western Conference First Round at Staples Center on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, PRIME, ATTSN-RM)


Video: Golden Knights rally in the 3rd, take 3-0 series lead

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