Kevin Fiala hat trick Los Angeles Kings beat Vega Golden Knights

Kevin Fiala hat trick Los Angeles Kings beat Vega Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kevin Fiala was named an All-Star two days ago, but he’s been on a scoring drought.

That ended on Saturday night – and in spectacular fashion.

Fiala scored three goals to help the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1 on Saturday night and move closer to their Pacific Division rivals.

Second-place Los Angeles has 52 points, just four behind the Knights, who have a game in hand. The Kings have won two of three meetings, with one game between the remaining teams on April 6 in LA

“These games are very important,” said Fiala. “We want to keep climbing. They’re No. 1 right now, so this is a big game for us.”

Los Angeles also ended the Knights’ four-game home winning streak and three-game overall winning streak.

“It’s got to be a rivalry,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That was probably the most disappointing game of the year for us when I look at our competition from top to bottom.”

Fiala had his first multi-goal game of the season and his second career hat trick. His next was April 7, 2021, against Colorado.

Until Saturday, Fiala had gone seven games without a goal and had just one goal in 14 games.

“Kevin had been bitten by the snake for a while,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “He’s left it now. Hopefully, things will start going for him a little more regularly.”

Matt Roy and Viktor Arvidsson also scored for Los Angeles, while Gabriel Vilardi had three assists. Arvidsson has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last six games.

Pheonix Copley made 19 saves for his eighth win in nine games, but his one loss during that streak was a 5-2 loss Thursday to the Boston Bruins.

“That was one of those games that we fought hard and, unfortunately, we didn’t win,” Copley said of the loss to the Bruins. “So to not let that get to us and to come out tonight and get a big win, that’s huge for us, and that definitely shows maturity.”

Copley came within 2:15 of his second career shutout before Jonathan Marchessault’s slap shot finally put the Knights on the scoreboard.

Fiala had an empty netter with 1:27 left to complete his hat trick and give him 13 goals on the season.

Los Angeles took control in the second half, scoring twice and holding Vegas to four shots on goal. Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy benched goaltender Logan Thompson after that period and inserted Adin Hill.

Two key players returned to the Golden Knights after being out. Marchessault missed the previous six games with a lower-body injury, and linebacker Alec Martinez returned from a four-game absence after blocking a shot on Dec. 27 against Los Angeles.

Marchessault is third on the team with 15 goals, and Martinez leads the NHL with 133 blocked shots.

THE CAPTAIN IS HERE AGAIN

Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar reached 500 career points on the road with an assist in the second period, the sixth active player to reach the mark. He is also one point out of 1100 points in total. Kopitar has been particularly effective against the Knights, with 31 points in 28 career games against them, the most of any Vegas opponent. Kopitar has points in three consecutive games (one assist, two goals).

NEXT

Kings: Host Edmonton on Monday night.

Golden Knights: Host Florida on Thursday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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