CHICAGO (AP) — These Vegas Golden Knights are beginning to look like the old Vegas Golden Knights.
Well, like the Golden Knights of last season, at least.
Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore each had two goals and an assist, and Vegas beat the Chicago Blackhawks 8-3 on Tuesday night for its season-high fourth consecutive victory.
“I think everyone’s putting in the work,” Eakin said. “I think it’s just a matter of finding that chemistry with new guys. Our D are playing the right way. Our forwards are getting open for them. We’re doing the right things and we’re starting to see some positive outcomes from it.”
Alex Tuch added a goal and an assist as Vegas continued its resurgence in the opener of a three-game trip. William Karlsson, Ryan Reaves and Daniel Carr also scored, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves for his sixth win in his last seven starts.
The Golden Knights (13-12-1), who made it to the Stanley Cup Final last season as an expansion team, improved to 4-0 against the Blackhawks since entering the league.
“We’ve been trying to concentrate on our defensive part. Getting pucks out and simplifying has really helped,” Tuch said. “I know we have a lot of offensive weapons in this room, but if we concentrate on the team first, things are working out for us.”
Dylan Strome had a goal and an assist in his Chicago debut, but the sliding Blackhawks lost for the third time in four games. Defensemen Gustav Forsling and Erik Gustafsson also scored.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 24 of 30 shots before he was replaced by Cam Ward for the third period. Ward finished with 11 saves.
“If you don’t defend hard enough then you don’t give yourself a chance to win,” coach Jeremy Colliton said.
Strome and Brendan Perlini were acquired in a trade with Arizona on Sunday night for Nick Schmaltz in a swap of former first-round draft picks. Strome, who went No. 3 overall in 2015, looked quite comfortable while centering a line with former junior hockey teammate Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane.
But that was about the only bright spot for Chicago (9-11-5), which got off to another slow start and committed a couple of ugly errors in its worst defensive performance of the season.
“We’re giving up way too much,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Getting behind the 8-ball early in games and tonight, we start pressing, trying to create offense, and we just open things up way more, and just make mistakes.”
Carr, Tuch and Eakin scored in the first as Vegas jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Carr got his first of the season at 2:10, Tuch picked off Crawford’s errant pass and extended his goal streak to three games at 12:14, and Eakin converted a slick backhand in front at 16:14.
The Blackhawks have been outscored 11-1 in the first period over their last four games.
Fleury lost a shutout streak of 150 minutes, 54 seconds when Forsling’s shot ricocheted off Karlsson and into the net 29 seconds into the second. Karlsson responded with a power-play goal at 6:27.
“I felt we controlled the game in the second and third,” Fleury said. “I thought we had the puck and we didn’t give them many shots.”
Theodore and Reaves also scored in the second to extend the Golden Knights’ lead to 6-2 going into the third. Eakin was credited for his 10th of the season when his shot went off Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith all alone in front and into the net midway through the final period.
NOTES: It was the most goals allowed by Chicago at home since an 8-3 loss to Nashville on Jan. 5, 2007. … Vegas D Deryk Engelland had three assists. … Blackhawks D Henri Jokiharju was held out because of an illness. Fs Chris Kunitz and Andreas Martinsen also were scratched. … Blackhawks D Brandon Davidson had right knee surgery. He is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks. … It was Strome’s second multipoint performance in 49 NHL games.
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