Alex Tuch scored the first two goals of the game for the Vegas Golden Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a vintage performance making 34 saves to shut out the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Monday night.
With the win, Vegas earns a split in the four-game series between the two clubs and improves to 11-4-1 on the season. The Avalanche drop to 9-5-1 and lose on home ice for only the second time this season.
Fleury recorded his third shutout of the young season with 34 saves, 15 coming in the third period as he shut down the Avalanche attack. Not only did Fleury make several top-quality stops, but also received 17 blocks to help secure the win.
Tuch got the Golden Knights off and running with a power play goal off the rush at 2:53 of the second period. Just over three minutes later he banked a shot in off the stick of Avs defender Bowen Byram for the second straight game to make it 2-0.
Jonathan Marchessault scored the third goal for Vegas, beating Philipp Grubauer five-hole to wrap the scoring.
- William Karlsson recorded two assists in the game, the second time in three outings he has done that.
- Fleury’s shutout was his 64th of his career, tying him with Henrik Lundqvist for 16th all-time.
- It was also Marc-Andre Fleury’s 99th win in a Vegas Golden Knights uniform.
- Fleury is the only goalie to blank the Avs this season and has already done it twice.
- These two teams will not see each other again until March 25 for a two-game set.
Morning Skate Report: Golden Knights welcome back fans with West Division showdown against Wild
The last time the Vegas Golden Knights were supposed to play the Minnesota Wild, the sports world stopped.
Vegas got on a plane March 11, 2020 with the intention of playing a game in St. Paul, Minnesota. The next day, the Golden Knights returned home and wouldn’t play another game until August.
COVID-19 has created challenges far and wide, with many craving even the littlest of normalcy. Sanity returns Monday for 2,600 fans when they enter T-Mobile Arena Monday to watch the Golden Knights take on the Minnesota Wild in a West Division showdown.
“There was a big buzz around the group this morning … about the fact that we’re going to have fans there,” said Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer. “It’s a great first step on the way back to filling T-Mobile and getting that atmposhere back. Even with the number we’re going to have tonight, it’s a huge boost compared to playing in the empty rink.”
Clark County approved a directive to allow 15 percent of T-Mobile Arena’s capacity, capping at 2,600 fans, to attend Golden Knights games during March. Vegas will play seven times at home this month.
There aren’t many home-ice advantages that rival T-Mobile Arena. Even at its 17,500-seat capacity, the Golden Knights have averaged 18,223 fans during the first three years of their existence.
The Golden Knights’ 75 wins at home since the inaugural season and .676 points percentage at “The Fortress” are top-10 marks since 2017-18.
“Any time you can have your home crowd in the arena and cheering you on, and bring that energy like our fans do, it’s an advantage for us,” said defenseman Zach Whitecloud. “We’re all excited to have them back, and for them to come and watch games in person, we’re excited for them.”
What a treat for fans to come back to, as well. This is a matchup of the top two teams in the West Division; the Golden Knights are atop the division by points percentage (.735) and have a game in hand on Minnesota (.667).
The Wild have been a thorn in the Golden Knights’ collective side since 2017. Minnesota is 6-1-1 in eight all-time meetings with the Golden Knights, with five of those wins coming by at least two goals.
There’s a newfound energy surrounding Minnesota. Normally a grind-it-out, wear-you-down type of team that excels defensively, the Wild have found the scoring touch. They’re 10th in the league in scoring (3.17 per game) with four players with at least five goals.
Leading the way is 23-year-old rookie Kirill Kaprizov, the presumable Calder Trophy favorite at this juncture. Kaprizov, a 2014 fifth-round pick by Minnesota, leads the Wild with 17 points and has registered a point in every game during Minnesota’s six-game winning streak.
“What’s impressive about him is his willingness to do a lot of dirty work, winning battles in the corners, going to the net,” DeBoer said of Kaprizov. “He’s not a big guy, but he’s very strong on his feet. He makes a lot of things happen when he’s on the ice.”
The Golden Knights have already had troubles with Minnesota in the past, but it’s a deeper, more dangerous team this time around. Nevertheless, the fans in attendance tonight will get their money’s worth.
“Their game is real,” DeBoer said. “You look at their lineup, they’ve got a sneaky, deep lineup. It’s a great test for us.”
Vegas Golden Knights projected lineup
Alex Tuch — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Max Pacioretty — Cody Glass — Reilly Smith
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Keegan Kolesar
William Carrier — Tomas Nosek — Ryan Reaves
Shea Theodore — Alex Pietrangelo
Alec Martinez — Zach Whitecloud
Nicolas Hague — Dylan Coghlan
Nosek in, Roy out
Tomas Nosek will play his first game since Feb. 9 after spending the previous two weeks in COVID-19 protocol.
The fourth-line center will take his place back in the lineup, while Keegan Kolesar will be at third-line right wing with Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson.
Nicolas Roy will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season.
“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Nosek said. “It’s been a tough start after COVID, but I’ve been skating for more than a week.”
Nosek’s time away from the team due to COVID did provide a silver lining. His wife Eliska gave birth to their second boy, Matias, on Feb. 20. Their first child, Patrik, last January.
Because of COVID, Nosek said they had to reschedule Eliska’s appointment to induce the labor. They were able to reschedule and Baby Nosek arrived safely and healthy.
“Thank God I was able to be there,” Nosek said. “I was happy so they could reschedule it and I was able to be there. One of the happiest moments of my life. It’s a great feeling to become a dad again.”
Lehner remains out
Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner will not dress for the eighth consecutive game as he continues to deal with an upper-body injury.
Lehner has not played since Feb. 7 with what was considered a “tweak” during morning skate on Feb. 11.
“It’s one of those injuries where, when you get it, you hope it’s a week, but it’s all based on symptoms and becoming symptom-free,” DeBoer said. “There is no timeline on those types of injuries.”
This will be Marc-Andre Fleury’s ninth straight start, and the Golden Knights have gone 5-3-0 with Lehner out. Oscar Dansk is expected to be the backup after winning three consecutive starts last week with the Henderson Silver Knights.
“You’re hopeful that when the injury happens that it’s a quick recovery, but if symptoms persist, it might be a little longer,” DeBoer said. “It’s heading in a positive direction and hopfeully we’ll see him soon.”
Marc-Andre Fleury Nets Win 100 in 3-2 OT Victory at Anaheim
William Karlsson scored twice including the overtime game winner and Marc-Andre Fleury earned his 100th win in a Vegas Golden Knights uniform with a 3-2 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks Saturday night.
Karlsson’s second goal ended the game as he broke in alone behind the Ducks defense at 3:23 of overtime. After being hooked up on the backcheck, Karlsson still maintained the puck and deked to his backhand, sliding it past the outstretched left pad of Ducks goalie John Gibson.
Alex Pietrangelo also had a big night offensively for the Golden Knights, scoring once and setting up a beautiful goal by William Karlsson for his first of the night on a long stretch pass in the second.
falling for you 🙃 pic.twitter.com/QzK6RYHvLH
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 28, 2021
Marc-Andre Fleury was his typically terrific self in net, turning aside 28 shots for his 100th victory in a VGK uniform.
Adam Henrique and Rickard Rakell scored for the Anaheim Ducks.
- The lack of a game Thursday was a nice rest for Marc-Andre Fleury, who was making his 8th consecutive start. Fleury made several tremendous saves including two big ones in the overtime to preserve the win.
- Marc-Andre Fleury also hit a milestone with the victory, marking his 100th win in a Vegas Golden Knights uniform.
- Alec Martinez had a rough night, heading down the tunnel twice after blocking shots during the game. A tremendous effort to be sure, but Martinez will be reaching for the ice packs tonight.
- William Karlsson scored twice for his fourth multi-point game of the season.
- Both of Vegas’ overtime wins this season have come against Anaheim.
- The new line combinations for the Vegas Golden Knights show a lot of scoring distribution, and even though it’s been only one game I’d expect head coach Pete DeBoer to give them some time to gel after what we saw tonight.
Golden Knights Gameday: Golden Knights vs. Ducks
Tonight the Vegas Golden Knights return to the ice for the first time since Monday night when they travel to California to play the Anaheim Ducks at 7 pm PT.
Vegas Golden Knights (11-4-1) vs. Anaheim Ducks (6-10-4)
The Vegas Golden Knights return to the ice after the postponement of Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks due to a COVID-19 protocol listing of forward Tomas Hertl.
First and foremost, the sending-down of goalie Oscar Dansk, defenseman Dylan Coghlan and forward Patrick Brown shows where the Golden Knights are in regards to their roster. Goaltender Robin Lehner and defenseman Brayden McNabb appear ready to return from injuries, while Tomas Nosek is back from his time on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list.
In Lehner’s absence, Marc-Andre Fleury has been carrying the load capably in net. Fleury has started seven straight games in his absence due to an upper body injury, and while George McPhee did say earlier this week he’d like to see a rotation develop again it’s not clear when Lehner will start.
Something else that’s not clear is the lines for Vegas tonight. Head coach Pete DeBoer won’t tip his hand until warm-up, and there could be several moving parts at play. Even on defense where McNabb could slot back in on the top pair it’s not quite clear if that’s the plan yet.
Whatever the lineup, Vegas is fresh off splitting a four-game series with the Colorado Avalanche in which the top two teams in the Honda West Division split two games apiece. The series was by far the toughest test for Vegas so far, and the Golden Knights looked good winning 3-0 on Monday.
Conversely, Anaheim has not won since shutting out the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0 back on February 11th, going 0-4-1 since. The Ducks have surrendered 19 goals in those five games while scoring only an average of two per game. Some of the big names have been disappointing for the Ducks this season, including big free agent signing Kevin Shattenkirk who has only contributed five assists so far. In fact, no Ducks player has more than ten points on the season except Max Comtois (8-5-13) who has fared well against the Golden Knights this season with four goals and five points in four games.
Keep An Eye On
Vegas Golden Knights
Mark Stone has four assists and five points in four games against the Ducks this season despite Vegas being shut out in the last outing against Anaheim. Stone has been the spark plug for the Vegas Golden Knights, leading the team in assists (13) and points (17). In a game where Vegas could get the Ducks to fold early if they get out in front, his line will be key.
It’s hard not to single out Max Comtois for Anaheim. He scored the first three goals of the season for the Ducks, all against Vegas. Comtois leads the team in points both against the Golden Knights and overall. On a team begging for production from just about anywhere, his ability to stay hot against the Golden Knights will be incredibly important.
Vegas Golden Knights
- Jonathan Marchessault has a three-game point streak (2-1-3).
- Alex Tuch has three goals in his last two games.
- Vegas is 8-0-1 when scoring first this season, while the Ducks have given up the first goal in nine of its 20 games this season, winning only once when that happens (1-6-2).
- Vegas also has not lost a game when leading after any period this year. They’re 5-0 with a first period lead and 6-0 with a second period lead.
- While Max Comtois leads the Ducks in points this season, he’s also converting his shots at an incredible 23.5 percent rate.
- The Ducks penalty kill has been surprisingly good this season, ranking sixth overall in the NHL with an 85.2 percent success rate.
- Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk will play in their 700th NHL games tonight.