It was a night full of emotion for the Vegas Golden Knights as Marc-Andre Fleury and the Chicago Blackhawks came to town. But the Golden Knights were unable to shake off some of their goosebumps and only put up one goal as the Blackhawks took the game 2-1.
“I think we let them off the hook a little bit and played their game. We had a little too much rush opportunities and we kind of just let them play a track meet and they made some big blocks and did a good job keeping second chances away from their net,” said Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith.
Fleury stopped 30 of 31 shots en route to his tenth win of the season. He was up against a lot of former teammates who were looking to score against him such as Jonathan Marchessault who had four shots on goal. Fleury stated postgame that Marchessault was chirping him on the ice as expected but he tuned him out. Marchessault also had quite the reaction to Fleury’s video tribute before the start of the game.
— Owen Krepps (@OKrepps85) January 9, 2022
Fleury capped off his night by staying on the ice after the final buzzer and saluting the fans in Las Vegas.
“I just wanted to say thank you to the fans. It was an amazing four years, and again tonight they were awesome. I’m glad I got to say thanks,” said Fleury.
“Obviously it was a big night for Flower (Fleury) and a big night for their team. This game couldn’t have been set up much worse for us with them losing in Arizona the other night, having a team meeting, and then Flower’s return to Vegas. You knew that they were going to give everything they had and empty the tank and that their group was going to play really hard for him (Marc-Andre Fleury),” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer.
The Golden Knights struggled offensively Saturday night despite tallying over thirty shots. None of the team’s chances had any sort of spice or pizazz and Fleury turned down all but one of the Golden Knight’s chances. The only goal that did go in came off the stick of Ben Hutton, who scored his first career goal with the Vegas Golden Knights.
“I have had a few chances this year that haven’t found the back of the net but finally I did (score) so that felt good. Every game I play, each time I feel like I am gaining more and more confidence so it has been good so far,” said Hutton.
Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer was not over the moon about his team’s performance, but he is not panicking on the team’s path heading forwards.
“There are always things you can do more but I am not going to overanalyze it. It’s a mid-December game. There are different separation levels in this league every night and different things bring that desperation level out,” said DeBoer.
DeBoer also thinks it is still December apparently.
Overall, this game ends quite an eventful week for the Vegas Golden Knights in terms of welcoming back members of their organization. Paul Statsny, Nate Schmidt, Ryan Reaves, Gerard Gallant, and now Fleury all returned to T-Mobile Arena for the first time since leaving the Golden Knights this week.
As much as these moments are special, the Golden Knights will look to push them aside and focus on their upcoming schedule. The next game in which we will see a video tribute at T-Mobile Arena is likely February 2nd when Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, and the Buffalo Sabres come to town.
The Golden Knights are about to enter a strange part of their schedule as their two games against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames were previously postponed. They will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs this upcoming Tuesday at home at 7:00 pm before having a long break and then taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 17th.