LAS VEGAS (AP) — Multiple injuries to the Golden Knights' defensemen have meant more playing time for Vegas blue-liner Nicolas Hague.
But he also wants to contribute offensively, and when Mark Stone passed to Hague in the left circle Saturday in overtime, he didn't waste the opportunity.
Firing what Knights coach Bruce Cassidy called “a freaking bomb,” Hague's one-timer on a delayed penalty with 2:56 left defeated the Nashville Predators, 5-4, and Filip Forsberg, who had a hat trick.
“The defending part is really important to us because we need that, and he’s done a real good job with that,” Cassidy said of Hague, who scored just his second goal this season. “I know that internally players want to (be on) the scoresheet. That’s just human nature. So, yeah, it’s a big-time goal for him.”
Hague's goal rescued the Knights after they blew a 4-2 third-period lead. Forsberg scored both goals to rally Nashville, including one on a 6-on-4 with 3.3 seconds left that sent the game into overtime.
“(Victory's) right there, but that stuff's going to happen,” Hague said. “We’ve done it to teams. Nothing's going to change that.”
Vegas is 4-0 on the final day of the year, and heading into the new year with a Western Conference-leading 52 points.
Three players had a multiple-point game for the Knights. Chandler Stephenson had a goal and two assists, Keegan Kolesar a goal and an assist, and Mark Stone added three assists.
Forsberg's three goals give him 501 career points. He is the third Nashville player to reach at least 500. He played in his 600th career game Friday at Anaheim and had a goal and two assists against the Ducks.
He has a team-record eight career hat tricks and nearly added a fourth goal early in overtime, but hit the left post. Forsberg extended his goals streak to three games. He has five goals and two assists in that span.
“I got a good start,” Forsberg said of his performance Saturday. “I think our line was playing well. Everybody was playing well in the third.”
The Predators had 20 shots on goal in the third period.
Nashville took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Forsberg and Jeremy Lauzon. Lauzon's was his first of the season, coming in his 28th appearance. It was his third career goal against Vegas.
“I thought those two goals are just like minor mistakes by us,” Stone said. “I didn’t think they were controlling the game out by any means. So I thought actually we were getting the better chances. Even when we were down 2-0, I thought we were playing pretty hockey. For the majority game, I thought we were the better team.”
The Knights cut the lead in half with 4:04 remaining when Kolesar redirected Daniil Miromanov's shot from the point.
Vegas went ahead in the second period on goals from Michael Amadio and Reilly Smith, and Stephenson scored 4:42 into the third on a shot from the slot before the Predators stormed back.
A player from each team was ejected midway through the second period. Vegas' Brayden McNabb was tossed for elbowing Mark Jankowski in the head. The Predators' Yakov Trenin was sent to the locker room for fighting McNabb, and he also received a two-minute minor for instigation. ... Amadio stretched his points streak to six games (four goals, four assists) and Stone to five games (four goals, six assists). ... Predators goalie Juuse Saros is one game away from making his 250th career appearance. He didn't play against the Knights.
Nashville: Hosts Montreal on Tuesday.
Vegas: At Colorado on Monday.
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