Thursday was about as good at it gets for the Vegas Golden Knights.
In the morning, the Knights acquired star center Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres in a trade, though he won’t be in uniform for some time after being scheduled for neck surgery.
In the evening, Vegas notched a 5-1 road victory over the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Golden Knights won for the fourth time in their last five games while getting back to .500 at 5-5.
Jonathan Marchessault had two goals for the Knights, doubling his season title, and William Carrier, Brett Howden and Alex Pietrangelo added one each.
Robin Lehner stopped 38 of 39 shots and raised his record to 4-5. Lehner also improved to 9-0-3 in his career against the Senators. He broke into the NHL with Ottawa from 2010-15.
“I think I’ve played with just two guys that is still on their roster so it’s a little different playing them this time around,” Lehner said. “But it’s always nice to come back here. I have a bunch of friends and stuff like that here who come to the game to watch. It’s where I started my career, so it’s always fun coming back.”
The Knights improved to 1-1 on their four-game road trip despite missing a host of key players, including wingers Max Pacioretty (fractured foot) and captain Mark Stone (lower-body injury) and second-line center William Karlsson (fractured foot).
Defenseman Zach Whitecloud (upper body) and center Nolan Patrick (upper body) are also sidelined with longer-terms injuries.
Coach Peter DeBoer was pleased by the Knights’ effort coming off a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
“I think it was exactly what we needed,” DeBoer said. “In the Toronto game, I didn’t think we played well, and we were not happy with our performance. We got shut out. We didn’t create a lot. So, I thought tonight we got back on the forecheck, we created some more offense we were harder to play against defensively and we fixed all the things we didn’t do in Toronto.”
After a scoreless first period, the Knights scored three consecutive goals in the second.
Carrier opened the scoring at 4:31 with his second goal of the season. Carrier took a pass from Evgenii Dadonov and slid the puck between the pads of Filip Gustavson. Chandler Stevenson also assisted.
The Knights scored twice within the span of 1:04 later in the period to push their lead to 3-0. Howden had his first goal of the season at 11:21 and Marchessault potted his third at 12:25.
Howden flipped a shot over Gustavson’s right shoulder from in front of the crease on a pass from Shea Theodore. Jonas Rondbjerg was credited with the secondary assist for his first NHL point.
Marchessault’s goal also came from in close. Nicolas Ray corralled a rebound and fed Marchessault. Nicolas Hague also had an assist.
The Senators finally cracked Lehner when Brady Tkachuk scored at 15:50 of the second with assists from Artem Zub and Drake Batherson.
Pietrangelo scored his first goal of the season at 14:01 of the third period to push the Knights’ lead to 4-1.
Marchessault added an empty netter with 2:10 remaining. He was assisted by Mattias Janmark.
The game was clean with each team being penalized only once. Marchessault was whistled for a cross-check at 4:05 of the first and Tkachuk was called for a high stick at 19:07 of the third.
Vegas didn’t cash in on its 53-second power play to end the game. The Golden Knights and have yet to score a goal with a man advantage through 10 games.
The Golden Knights held a slight 39-38 edge in shots on goal.
After having Friday off, the Knights play back-to-back games over the weekend as they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night and the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.