Las Vegas–Tonight the Vegas Golden Knights hosted the Florida Panthers for the first this season after coming off of their 2-1 victory over the back-2-back Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins.

For Head Coach Gerard Gallant heading into this game has been a longtime coming for him along with Assistant Coach Mike Kelly.

Both Gallant and Kelly were fired last year on November 28 after the Florida Panthers produced a record of 11-10-1 after his then team who was defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

Prior the game today, former Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Marchessault shared his thoughts on playing his old club.

Last season with the Panthers organization, Marchessault produced 30 goals for them which was an NHL career high for him.

Things did not actually go as the Golden Knights wanted in the opening stages of the 1st period as forward David Perron drew the contest’s 1st penalty at 1:35 into it and for the Florida Panthers they cashed in on their opportunity.

Radim Vrbata opened the scoring for the Panthers who connected off of a back hand pass from Denis Malgin. Vrbata’s one timer shot beat Malcolm Subban stick side for the early 1-0 lead over Vegas on the man advantage.

Shortly after Vrbata put Florida up early, Mike Matheson extended the Panthers lead over Vegas. Matheson converted from a pass by Evgenii Dadonov and ended up blasting a close range slap shot past Subban that brought it to a 2-0 game at the 5:13 mark.

Side note for tonight’s game is Dadonov is the friend of former Golden Knights center Vadim Shipachyov.

Just over a minute later the Golden Knights began their 1st period comeback and getting it done for Vegas was Nate Schmidt. Schmidt actually started this scoring play on the other end of the ice.

After the Golden Knights made entry into Florida’s end, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith teamed up to feed Schmidt that led to a backdoor goal that James Reimer couldn’t stop and made it a 2-1 score.

Schmidt Get’s Vegas On The Board

With 2:40 remaining in the 1st period, Vegas erased a 2 goal deficit and it was another blueliner in Colin Miller making it happen for the Golden Knights. Miller connected with a Marchessault pass from the point and on an authoritarian shot fired a laser beam that Reimer had no chance at stopping which tied it up a 2-2.

This was Miller’s 2nd goal of the campaign for Vegas.

Miller’s Laser Beam Shot That Ties The Game For The Golden Knights

In the 3rd period, the Golden Knights completed their third power play opportunity against the Florida Panthers and moments following it, Erik Haula would put Vegas ahead for the first time of the night. His goal came courtesy of a redirect shot from Marchessault that made it ways over the shoulder of Reimer.

For Haula this was his 12th of the season with the Golden Knights.

Haula’s Tip-In Goal Past Reimer

In the last three minutes of the final period, the Golden Knights would add two more goals with Marchessault and James Neal each scoring empty netters that would secure a 5-2 Golden Knights victory over the Florida Panthers.

Marchessault would record his 11th of the season as he put the Golden Knights ahead by 2 and Neal knotted his 16th of the campaign that gave Vegas a 3 goal cushion.

Neal’s 16th of the season, moved him back in the lead with the Golden Knights in goals ahead of Karlsson who currently has 15.

Vegas’s 5-2 win over Florida moved them in a 2-way tie in points with the idle Los Angeles Kings tonight at 44. The Golden Knights improved to 21-9-2 with 2 games in hand vs LA.

At the end of the night, Subban earned his 8th win of the season and improved to an overall record of 8-2-0.

On the other side of things it was Reimer who between the two goalies had the most work of the contest with a 35 save performance on 38 total shots. He completed the contest with a .920 save percentage.

Since December 1, the Golden Knights improved to a 6-0-1 record.

The Golden Knights, they are also in the top 4 in the league overall in wins at home with a 13-2-1 record with their 5-2 win over Florida and lead in the Western Conference in that category.

For Golden Knights Head Coach Gallant this long awaited redemption he waited for was worth the wait.

It was also a career milestone for Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland as he celebrated his 500th NHL game.

3 Stars Of The Game

Vegas Golden Knights: Jonathan Marchessault (3 point night, 1 goal and 2 assists)

Vegas Golden Knights: Co-2nd Star Colin Miller and James Neal (1 goal and 1 assist each)

Florida Panthers: James Reimer (35 save night and a .920 save percentage)

Honorable Mention: Vegas Golden Knights Erik Haula (Game Winning Goal)

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