It took Evgenii Dadonov a little while to get back at the Florida Panthers for not offering him a contract in 2020.
On Thursday night, he got it.
Dadonov, who played three seasons in his second stint with the team who drafted him in 2007, scored twice in the second period as the Vegas Golden Knights held off the Panthers 5-3.
Florida is now 0-4 all-time at T-Mobile Arena since the Knights came into the league in 2017. Florida’s seven-game point streak also came to an end with the four-game road trip wrapping up Friday night in Anaheim.
Dadonov is just the latest Florida tie to the Golden Knights, a run which started with Gerard Gallant being hired as their first coach and Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith going to them at the expansion draft.
Now with Pete DeBoer behind the bench, the Knights were desperate to put an end to a five-game losing streak and found themselves down 1-0.
Carter Verhaeghe got the Panthers going, scoring on a follow-up shot after going wide on Logan Thompson 8:04 into the game.
Florida played a choppy game for a lot of the first two periods with Vegas playing the aggressor and the Knights were able to tie the score at 17:09 of the first when Brett Howden’s shot went off the skate of Brandon Montour and past goalie Spencer Knight.
The Panthers did not do much to slow down Vegas in the second, Dadonov — who signed as a free agent with Ottawa after not being brought back to the Panthers, only to be traded to Vegas — ripped past Gus Forsling and beat Knight with a whip of a shot as he flew into the slot.
Less than 10 minutes later, Dadonov scored again — this time by deflecting a shot from down low offered up by Shea Theodore.
Florida was able to pull itself back into the game with 2:22 left in the second when Sam Bennett hopped on a Anthony Duclair rebound for his 25th goal of the season.
The Panthers tied the score with 7:34 remaining on a power play slap shot that Sam Reinhart deflected into the net off an Aaron Ekblad shot which gave him three points on the night and made him the highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history.
The lead was short lived.
Vegas took advantage of Sam Bennett losing the puck in the offensive zone with Nic Roy coming in and beating Knight just a minute later.
In that series of events, Duclair was hit with two unsportsmanlike penalties — a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct.
Florida also was without Patric Hornqvist for a big part of the game as he left in the second period and did not return.
The shorthanded Panthers pulled Knight with just over two minutes left and the Knights’ William Karlsson took advantage with the empty net goal.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Evgenii Dadonov, Vegas
2. Aaron Ekblad, Florida
3. Logan Thompson, Vegas