LAS VEGAS (AP) — Paul Cotter scored and Logan Thompson stopped 27 shots in the Vegas Golden Knights’ 1-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night.
The win marked the fourth time in Vegas’ first six seasons in the NHL, which opened 2-0-0, while Chicago (0-2-0) have now lost their first two games in four straight seasons.
Thompson, who was only making his 22nd NHL appearance, got his second career shutout. It was his third time against the Blackhawks and he improved to 2-0-1 against them.
“It was good, it was a lot of fun,” Thompson said. “You know, nice to see Paul win the game and overall I’m just happy with the two points.”
Alex Stalock excelled at net for Chicago, finishing his first start of the season with 36 saves.
Both goalkeepers excelled on penalties and each made six saves in power-play situations. Chicago was 0 to 2 man advantage while Vegas was 0 to 3.
“Both goalies were the stars of the show tonight,” said Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Blackhawks didn’t look like a team playing the second of consecutive nights after opening their season in Denver on Wednesday. Chicago’s aggressiveness at the forecheck allowed the Blackhawks to thwart any attempt by the Knights to move into the transition during the opening period, as they played the high-flying Golden Knights fairly evenly and passed Vegas 10-9 in the first period.
Vegas, who won their season opener in Los Angeles on Tuesday, got an excellent game from Thompson, who made timely saves during a penalty shoot-out towards the end of the first and maintained a goalless game.
“It was good to get in early,” Thompson said of Chicago’s early recovery. “Seeing a couple of shots early helps with confidence and helps you feel the game and they had some weird bounces which resulted in some scoring chances for them but luckily they were able to keep the puck out tonight.”
Vegas struck first when a rested Cotter came out of the box just after the Golden Knights killed a penalty, breaking into the zone with a 2-on-1 and deciding to take the shot on his own short side from Stalock at 8: The second to strike 44 o’clock.
It was Vegas’ fourth 2-on-1 of that stretch, with Cotter finally breaking through for the Knights with his first goal of the season. He scored two goals in seven games last season.
“It’s rewarding, it’s great, it’s a good feeling, especially the first one is out of the way,” said Cotter.
Vegas finished the second outshoot Chicago 18-8 and then had a 10-9 advantage in the third.
“The level of competition was very high from everyone tonight, the goaltender out and we’re pretty happy with a lot of things that we’ve seen on the ice. It’s a shame we just couldn’t break that line,” said Chicago coach Luke Richardson. “I thought their goalkeeper played well very early on and there were a couple of chances at the end that we had. I think in the middle of the game we didn’t net much, but we still competed and played a lot better, so it was a step forward for us.”
NOTES: Both managers – Cassidy and Richardson – are in their first seasons at their respective clubs. … Vegas veteran Phil Kessel continued his journey toward the league’s Iron Man mark after appearing in 984 straight games, the longest active streak and five away from tying Keith Yandle’s career record of 989. … Vegas D Zach Whitecloud earned his first assist of the season on Cotter’s goal.
Blackhawks: Saturday in San Jose.
Golden Knights: Saturday in Seattle.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.