Updated April 12, 2021 - 10:35 pm
LOS ANGELES — Max Pacioretty didn’t reach his milestone with a rebound or tap-in goal. That wouldn’t have been right.
The Golden Knights forward did it with a laser shot, just like he’s done so many times before.
Pacioretty registered his 300th career goal Monday as the Knights rode their top players to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.
“I thought after hitting three posts in the last game that maybe it would take awhile to get it,” Pacioretty said. “Luckily, I got a great screen from (Mark Stone), so it made it a lot easier. I told him I was looking for a tap-in tonight, and that was pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to that.”
Alex Tuch snapped a long scoring drought with the go-ahead goal early in the third period for the Knights, who scored four unanswered goals to win their third straight.
Nicolas Roy and Stone (short-handed) scored in the second period as the Knights (28-11-2, 58 points) kept pace with first-place Colorado in the West Division.
Goalie Robin Lehner stopped 26 of 28 shots and won his third straight while improving to 9-1-2 overall.
“We knew that early on in that game we really didn’t have legs,” Pacioretty said. “We adjusted the game plan a little … and I thought that kind of changed the game a little bit in our favor.”
The Knights played the second of back-to-back games without injured forwards Ryan Reaves and Keegan Kolesar. Tomas Jurco got an assist in his second appearance, and Dylan Coghlan was forced to fill in at forward for the first two periods before he returned to his normal spot on defense.
Tuch snapped a 14-game goal-scoring drought when he picked up the puck in his own zone and raced through the Kings’ defense before snapping a shot past goalie Calvin Petersen for a 3-2 lead at 4:35 of the third period. It was his first goal since March 13.
“It feels really good, honestly. I can’t lie. It’s been a while,” Tuch said. “To get the go-ahead goal, that doesn’t happen if our whole team doesn’t step up because I think we feed off each other’s energy.”
Pacioretty added a power-play goal for a 4-2 lead in the third. He fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle to reach the 20-goal mark for the eighth time in his career.
He is the 23rd American player to reach the 300-goal plateau.
“I’ve said this numerous times, it’s the best shot I’ve ever played with,” Stone said. “I don’t know if there’s five guys in the league that shoot it harder than him.”
Stone scored his first goal in 11 games and had an assist. Defenseman Shea Theodore finished with two assists.
“We said in the coaches’ room after the game that the right guys got goals for us,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “They take that personally, and it weighs on them. The fact they all got on the board, looked good doing it, that’s real important for them and for us.”
The Knights fell behind 2-0 in the second period after Anze Kopitar buried Dustin Brown’s feed at 8:57, but turned up the pressure on Petersen to tie the game.
Jurco absorbed a big hit from Brown along the wall to spring Roy on an odd-man rush. Roy raced down the right wing and opted to shoot, slipping a forehand under Petersen’s arm at 14:20.
Stone evened the score with 26.7 seconds remaining in the period moments after Chandler Stephenson missed the net on a clean breakaway.
Stone raced past Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi while short-handed and caught Petersen going the other way on the breakaway before tucking in his 13th goal and first since he scored twice against St. Louis on March 22.
“I can’t go 10, 11 games without scoring a goal,” Stone said. “I put a lot of pressure on our top players. Those are the guys that are going to win you games. … If we want to sustain streaks of wins, the guys that are playing 18, 20 minutes a night have to produce.”