Three games into his tenure, Tatar got a winner with his first goal and Vegas avoided its first four-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over New Jersey on Sunday, handing the Devils their third-straight loss.
“It’s a big goal after getting traded and it’s a big one to get the monkey off the back, but the even bigger thing is it helped us win the game,” said Tatar, who was acquired in a trading-deadline deal with the Red Wings last Monday. “It’s a good start for our road trip.”
Deryk Englland and David Perron also scored for the Golden Knights, which is starting a five-game road trip.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped a half-dozen excellent chances in the first period, made 33 saves, including a last-second shot by Kyle Palmieri to win for the 22nd time in 33 games.
“We didn’t give up near as many chances as we did the last couple of games,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said of the recent 0-2-1 skid. “I felt we played a better defensive game and ‘Flower’ (Fleury) was really good in the net for us. He made a great save with one second left in the hockey game.”
Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for New Jersey to extend his points streak to a league-best 19 games. He has a point in the last 25 games he has played. He missed three games with an injury, so the personal streak is longer than the league-recognized run.
“It’s hockey so you are going to lose some games,” Hall said of the Devils’ recent ups and downs. “You are going to go through rough patches. No one has gone 82-0. It’s a hard league and there is so much parity there are no easy games.”
After a scoreless first period, there were five goals in the second, with the Golden Knights getting three and Tatar providing the winner with his 17th of the season.
Tatar, who was acquired for three high draft picks over the next four years, gave Vegas a 3-1 lead with 2:17 left in the period when slid a rebound of Perron’s blast that Schneider could not hold under the goaltender for a power-play goal.
Schneider felt he had the puck between his pads. He didn’t.
“I was just trying to get down on it and whoever it was just speared into the pads and knocked it through,” said Schneider, who is now 0-2 since returning from hip and groin injuries. “They called it a good goal and we didn’t challenge it. You just have to live with it.”
Tatar said his teammates made a nice play off the faceoff and Perron had a hard shot.
“He was walking down main street and I tried to help him so that he could have the best shooting lane,” Tatar said. “The puck dropped there and I poked it in.”
Hall reduced the lead to a goal 12 seconds later with his career-best 30th goal. He collected a puck that Golden Knights defenceman Colin Miller mishandled behind his own net and came quickly came out in front and beat Fleury.
“I’d give it all up for a couple of wins,” Hall said of his streak.
Perron opened the scoring at 4:39, putting the rebound of a deflection by Tomas Hyka into an open net.
Sami Vatanen tied it a little more than four minutes later with a power-play goal from the left circle. Hall set it up with a cross-ice pass.
Engelland put the Golden Knights ahead to stay at 11:17 with a rising shot from the right point past a screened Schneider. It was his first goal in 35 games and fourth of the season.
NOTES: Devils F Brian Gibbons will skate with the team this week for the first time since breaking a thumb on Jan. 20. … Perron’s 59 points are a career high. … Vegas scratched F James Neal and Oscar Lindberg and D Luca Sbisa and Nate Schmidt with injuries. … Devils rookie F Jesper Bratt was a healthy scratch. … D Jon Merrill, who Vegas took from New Jersey in the expansion draft, got an assist on Perron’s goal. … Patrick Maroon, who the Devils acquired on a trading deadline deal, has three assists in three games.
Golden Knights: At Columbus on Tuesday night.
Devils: Host Montreal on Tuesday night.