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Golden Knights rally past Panthers, take over first place

Jan 12, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA;  Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) celebrates with center Nicolas Roy (10) after scoring an empty net goal against the Florida Panthers during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

William Carrier scored with 2:36 remaining to break a tie as the Vegas Golden Knights scored three times in the third period to pull out a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night in Las Vegas.

Carrier redirected a Keegan Kolesar pass while crashing into Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for his 11th goal of the season. Florida challenged the score for goaltender interference, but it was determined that Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour had helped shove Carrier into Bobrovsky and the goal stood, earning Florida a delay of game penalty.

The Panthers still pulled Bobrovsky for an extra attacker, but the Golden Knights’ William Karlsson scored a power-play empty-netter with 1:07 left to seal the win.

Jack Eichel and Nicolas Roy also scored for Vegas and Kolesar had two assists for Vegas, which moved into first place in the Pacific Division. Adin Hill finished with 37 saves.

Sam Reinhart and Nick Cousins scored for Florida while Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 32 shots.

Florida took a 1-0 lead at the 2:02 mark of the first period when Cousins swept in a rebound of an Aaron Ekblad shot that caromed off the right post and across the crease. The puck went into the net just as the goal was being dislodged by Eric Staal, but after several minutes analyzing replays, officials determined Vegas defenseman Ben Hutton had knocked Staal into the right post and let the score stand.

The Golden Knights tied it early in the second when Kolesar forced a turnover along the left boards and fed Roy at the bottom of the right circle, where he snapped a shot past Bobrovsky’s glove for his eighth goal of the season.

Florida regained the lead later in the period on a power-play goal by Reinhart. Matthew Tkachuk set up the score with a pass from the right goal line to Reinhart in the slot. Reinhart then one-timed a shot through the pads of Hill, who had lost his stick earlier in the play, for his 13th goal of the season and first in 10 games.

The Panthers briefly made it 3-1 a few minutes later on a sharp-angle goal by Anton Lundell off Hill’s shoulder, but the goal was overturned after Vegas successfully challenged that the play was offside.

Shortly after killing a five-on-three power play that lasted 1:43 early in the third period, the Golden Knights tied it 2-2 when Eichel scored his 15th goal of the season on a breakaway.

Vegas forward Mark Stone left the game midway through the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return.

–Field Level Media