Stone propels Golden Knights past Ducks in season opener

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LAS VEGAS — Mark Stone had a goal and an assist for the Vegas Golden Knights in a 5-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks in the season opener for each team at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday.

Stone, named the first captain in Golden Knights history Wednesday, broke a tie 49 seconds into the third period off a one-timer from Chandler Stephenson to give Vegas a 3-2 lead.

Stone leads the Golden Knights with 76 points (27 goals, 49 assists) since being acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 25, 2019.

“We have a good core group of guys that have done this before,” Stone said. “We have guys that have played a lot of games in this league. … I think we can battle adversity very well.”

Jonathan Marchessault, Tomas Nosek, Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch also scored for the Golden Knights. Robin Lehner made 20 saves.

Video: ANA@VGK: Pacioretty goes five-hole on Gibson

Alex Pietrangelo had an assist in 25:30 in his Golden Knights debut. The defenseman signed a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with Vegas on Oct. 13 after playing the first 12 seasons of his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues.

“A little different without the fans, obviously,” Pietrangelo said. “I feel like I’ve adjusted well. … So far so good. We played well tonight; the team did a good job out there. I enjoyed myself out there. It’s a fun group to be a part of.”

Max Comtois scored twice for the Ducks, who played their first game in 309 days; they were not among the 24 teams in the NHL Return to Play Plan after last season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. John Gibson made 24 saves.

“We haven’t played in nine months,” Comtois said. “We’ve just got to go back to the video room, see what went good, see what went wrong.”

Marchessault scored at 1:07 of the first period to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead. Nosek scored 1:06 later to make it 2-0 at 2:13.

Video: ANA@VGK: Marchessault picks the corner for early goal

Comtois scored at 4:22 to make it 2-1 and then tied it 2-2 at 7:58. It was the fastest two goals scored by a player to start a season since Jeremy Roenick did it in 4:18 for the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 5, 2005 against the Dallas Stars.

It was also the fastest two goals to start a season in Ducks history (Joffrey Lupul, 22:19 on Oct. 5, 2005).

Anaheim forward Danton Heinen hit the post at 13:53 of the second after a neutral zone turnover from Vegas forward Ryan Reaves.

The Ducks played a good portion of the second period in the Golden Knights zone and outshot them 8-6.

“We know we can play with those guys; we saw it in the first and the second,” Comtois said. “We’ve just got to stick to that and make sure we give it for 60 minutes.”

Video: ANA@VGK: Comtois beats Lehner for second goal

Stone assisted on Pacioretty’s goal at 10:59 of the third period to make it 4-2, drawing a penalty and passing to Pacioretty while falling down, and Pacioretty scored five-hole.

“[Stone] led the way, that’s why he’s wearing the ‘C,'” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. “He has the ability to raise his level at important times and that’s what you want your captain to do in those moments in the game.”

Tuch scored an empty-net goal at 19:46 for the 5-2 final.

“I think if you’re playing in a normal season, we get up 2-0 like that, the building is rocking,” Stone said. “We’ve got to learn not to put our foot off the gas after going up 2-0 whereas if you’re playing at T-Mobile [with fans], sometimes we can finish teams in the first five minutes.”

Video: Stone, Golden Knights defeat Ducks, 5-2

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