Blog: Karlsson‘s hat trick leads Golden Knights to sixth straight win

A shot taken by Toronto’s Auston Matthews (34) makes it past Vegas Golden Knights goalie Malcom Subban (30) during the second period of thier game at T-Mobile Arena, Dec. 31, 2017.

Published Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 | 12:08 p.m.

Updated Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 | 3:10 p.m.

William Karlsson tallied the first hat trick in franchise history to lead the Golden Knights to their sixth-straight win Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.

Vegas held on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 after jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period.

Karlsson’s goals give him 20 on the season, which is good enough for sixth in the NHL to this point. His final goal came with just over a minute to play, when Karlsson dove and knocked a bouncing puck into the Maple Leafs empty net.

Jonathan Marchessault also had a goal and an assist, and continues to pace the Golden Knights in points with 36.

Malcolm Subban stopped 23-of-26 shots for his sixth straight win.

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Golden Knights lead 4-2 after two periods

William Karlsson scored his second goal of the game, and 19th of the season, in the second period, but the Maple Leafs scored two of their own to cut the deficit to 4-2 entering the final period.

Toronto woke up early in the second period when Patrick Marleau hooked the puck just past the outstretched skate of Malcolm Subban to make it 3-1. That goal brought the Maple Leafs’ faithful that traveled to Las Vegas back into the game, but Karlsson quickly silenced them with another one-timer goal.

The puck ricocheted off the referee’s skate behind Toronto’s goal and right to Jonathan Marchessault. He fed the puck to Karlsson in front of the net and he slapped it past Frederik Andersen.

Auston Matthews would score with only 48 seconds left in the period, winging a wrist shot past Subban to make it a two-goal game.

The Golden Knights are 14-2-0 when leading after two periods, while the Maple Leafs are 1-12-1 when trailing after two.

Golden Knights lead 3-0 after one period

The Golden Knights dominated the Maple Leafs in what may have been their best period of the season to date, and lead Toronto 3-0 after 20 minutes of hockey.

Vegas opened up the scoring 2:24 into the contest when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare deked Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen out of his crease and slid the puck into the wide open net.

The Golden Knights followed that up with a one-timer goal by William Karlsson, and a wrist shot by Erik Haula that both beat Andersen to give Vegas a commanding 3-0 lead.

Perhaps more impressive than the offensive outburst, was the defensive effort by the Golden Knights. They suffocated the Maple Leafs high-scoring offense, allowing only five shots on goal. Malcolm Subban was solid in net, stopping all five of them.

Pre game

The Golden Knights look to extend their franchise record six-game winning streak this afternoon as they host the Toronto Maple for a New Year’s Eve matinee showcase at T-Mobile Arena.

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Toronto’s superstar forward Auston Matthews will play today. The 20-year-old has two goals and an assist in three games since returning from an injury that forced him out of the six prior contests.

The Maple Leafs bring one of the best offenses in the NHL to Las Vegas, averaging 3.3 goals per game, but the Golden Knights’ offense may be even better. Vegas is third in the league with 3.4 goals per game and has averaged 3.5 goals per game during the current six-game winning streak.

The first matchup between the teams ended in a 4-3 shootout loss for the Golden Knights in Toronto, but that was with fourth-string goaltender Maxime Lagace in goal.

Malcolm Subban will start in net for the Golden Knights. The 23-year-old netminder ranks fifth in the NHL with a goals against average of 2.18, and seventh with a save percentage of .925.

Subban has won five straight starts and is an impressive 9-2-0 on the season.

Prediction : Golden Knights 3, Maple Leafs 2 shootout

Season record for predictions: 21-13

Puck drops: 12:30 p.m.

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM

TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink Prism 1760)

Betting line: Golden Knights minus-130, Total 6 minus-130 to the under

Golden Knights (25-9-2) (15-2-1 home)

Coach: Gerard Gallant

Goal leader: James Neal and William Karlsson (17)

Assist leader: Jonathan Marchessault (21)

Expected goalie: Malcolm Subban (9-2-0, 2.18 goals against average)

Toronto Maple Leafs (23-14-2) (12-9-2 away)

Coach: Mike Babcock

Goal leader: James van Riemsdyk (17)

Assist leader: Mitch Marner (24)

Expected goalie: Frederik Andersen (20-10-1, 2.64 goals against average)

Golden Knights game day roster

Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Tomas Nosek, David Perron, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.

Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.

Goalies (2): Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban

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