Jonathan Marchessault scored a natural hat trick in a span of less than nine minutes before the midway point of the third period Tuesday night for the visiting Vegas Golden Knights, who beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in Newark, N.J. -- just hours after the Devils fired head coach John Hynes.
The win was the season-high fourth in a row for the Golden Knights, who also received a second-period goal from Chandler Stephenson in his first game with the club. Stephenson was acquired from the Washington Capitals on Monday. Goalie Malcolm Subban made 32 saves for Vegas.
Kyle Palmieri, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier scored for the Devils, who have lost three straight and six of eight. Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood recorded 26 saves.
The Devils, whose 22 points leave them mired in 30th place in the 31-team NHL, replaced Hynes with Alain Nasreddine a day after giving up five goals in the first period of a 7-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. New Jersey lost Hynes' last two games by a combined 11-1 and gave up 11 goals over a two-game span five times this season.
The midseason coaching change is the 11th for the Devils since the franchise relocated to New Jersey following the 1981-82 season. The last in-season replacement to win his first game at the helm was Lou Lamoriello, who took over prior to the 80th game of the 2006-07 season and coached New Jersey to a 2-1 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators.
The Devils took a pair of leads Tuesday. Palmieri scored the game's first goal when he beat Subban on a breakaway with 3:29 left in the first period. After Stephenson scored 5:24 into the second, New Jersey went ahead again when Bratt's shot sailed past Subban just after Golden Knights center Paul Stastny knocked over New Jersey left winger Taylor Hall and into Subban. The goal was upheld upon review.
Marchessault didn't take long in the third to ensure the Golden Knights would ruin Nasreddine's debut. Marchessault tied the game just 65 seconds into the period by getting his stick on William Karlsson's pass into the crease. The center put Vegas ahead for good 3:59 later with another redirection, this one of a pass by Deryk Engelland.
Marchessault completed his third career hat trick at the 9:40 mark, when he put back the rebound of his own shot over the leg of a sprawled Blackwood. Hischier scored just 20 seconds later for the Devils, but New Jersey could get no closer despite pulling Blackwood with less than two minutes left.
--Field Level Media