the expansion vegas golden knights looked as though they were beginning to fade when december began, but have answered with a six-game point streak as they prepare to host the florida panthers on sunday. vegas knocked off two-time defending stanley cup champion pittsburgh 2-1 on thursday for its fourth one-goal victory during an impressive 5-0-1 surge.

"it's about the guys coming to the rink every day to get better," golden knights coach gerard gallant told the las vegas review journal. "the guys know each other and they're pretty confident. ... as long as we keep competing and battling and working hard we'll have a good opportunity to win games." gallant faces his former team for the first time since he was fired after an 11-10-1 start last season and told the sun sentinel, "i loved my time there. i loved my players there. i thought it was going real well. obviously, other people had different thoughts." the panthers have struggled since gallant was let go (36-41-15), but managed to pick up at least a point in five of the last six games (2-1-3) before thursday's 2-1 loss at colorado. center aleksander barkov takes a six-game point streak into sunday's contest after scoring last time out for florida.

tv: 8 p.m. et, fsn florida, at&t sportsnet rocky mountain (vegas)

about the panthers (12-15-5): james reimer has raised his level of play since no. 1 goalie roberto luongo went down with another injury and allowed six goals in the first three games of the road trip on 93 shots. "he knows he needs to be good and step it up, and help this team get where we need to be," florida coach bob boughner told reporters. "he's certainly done that in the last couple games." center vincent trocheck has posted three goals and six assists over the last seven games to tie left wing jonathan huberdeau for the team lead with 32 points.

about the golden knights (20-9-2): marc-andre fleury has turned aside 59 of the 62 shots he has faced in two games since returning from a concussion that kept him out of action for almost two months. forward erik haula has recorded three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak and former panther reilly smith scored twice in his last three contests. william karlsson, who has been kept off the scoresheet in three straight contests, and former panther jonathan marchessault (one point, five games) lead the team with 26 points.

overtime

1. florida rw radim vrbata has not scored since registering a hat trick against anaheim on oct. 26 - his only goals of the season - with only three assists in his last 17 games.

2. vegas d deryk engelland is slated to play his 500th nhl game sunday.

3. panthers rw evgenii dadonov (18 points) was held off the scoresheet in his first two games on two shots combined since returning from a shoulder injury.

prediction: panthers 5, golden knights 4