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Golden Knights build early lead, breeze past Penguins

Jan 5, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates in front of Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) during the first period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists and Adin Hill made a season-high 38 saves to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night in Las Vegas.

It was the 10th multiple-point game of the season for Eichel, who had missed the previous 11 games with a lower-body injury.

Mark Stone, Paul Cotter and Phil Kessel also each had goal and an assist, William Karlsson dished off two assists and Chandler Stephenson added a goal for Vegas, which won its third straight game overall and fourth in a row at home.

Sidney Crosby scored his 20th goal of the season, the 15th time in his career he hit that milestone, and also had an assist, and Ty Smith also scored for Pittsburgh, which lost its sixth straight game, just one off matching its longest losing streak of the season.

Casey DeSmith finished with 26 saves, and Jake Guentzel added two assists for the Penguins.

Kessel gave Vegas a 1-0 lead at the 1:52 mark of the first period when he scored on the first shot of the game. Cotter, back after missing eight games with an upper-body injury, made a crossing pass to Kessel standing alone by the right side of the goal, and Kessel then tapped a shot into a wide-open net for his seventh goal of the season.

Eichel made it 2-0 just 3:25 later when he took a Nicolas Roy pass and streaked down the right wing before firing a wrist shot inside the far post for his 14th goal of the season.

Stephenson extended the lead to 3-0 at the 11:20 mark with a power-play goal, one-timing a Stone pass from the high slot inside the right post for his 11th goal of the season.

The Penguins outshot the Golden Knights 20-12 in the second period but failed to score. Stone, meanwhile, made it 4-0 with 11 seconds to go in the period when he deflected Brayden McNabb’s shot from the left circle through DeSmith’s pads for his 17th goal of the season.

Smith cut it to 4-1 early in the third period when he fired a wrist shot from the edge of the right circle through traffic that clanged in off the far post for his first goal of the season.

Cotter extended the lead to 5-1 when he finished a two-on-one with Kessel with a one-timer from the right side of the net for his fifth goal of the season.

Crosby ended the scoring when he tapped in a Rickard Rakell pass inside the left post with 1:30 remaining.

–Field Level Media