The Marc-Andre Fleury Revenge Game went exactly how the Golden Knights hoped.
Fleury turned in one of his finest outings in a Vegas jersey, making 29 saves to blank his old team in a 3-0 win against the Penguins.
“It still felt a little weird coming in,” Fleury said to AT&T SportsNet. “By the third period I started feeling more comfortable and normal in the game. I’m just happy we got the win tonight.”
Paul Stastny scored on the power play for the Golden Knights, and William Karlsson and Mark Stone scored against an empty net. It was Karlsson’s first goal of the season.
Jake Bischoff made his NHL debut for the Golden Knights. The 25-year-old defenseman skated alongside Deryk Engelland and recorded two shots on goal, three blocks and two hits in 16:06 of ice time.
“It was awesome, absolutely a dream come true for me,” Bischoff told AT&T SportsNet.
Here are three takeaways from the victory.
Fleury wins in Pittsburgh
When Fleury is on his game, there are few goalies in the league that are better. And was Fleury ever on his game Saturday.
The former Penguin made multiple highlight reel saves, including twice stretching all the way across the crease to deny a back-door one-timer. It was Fleury first win against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, as he lost two years ago and did not play last season.
According to Moneypuck.com, the Penguins played well enough to score 2.16 times, according to the site’s expected goals metric. The Penguins had 24 scoring chances and eight high-danger scoring chances, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
“He made some saves that were just insane and kept us in it early,” Bischoff said to AT&T SportsNet. “We were able to just hold on and a lot of it was because of him making unbelievable saves back there.”
Special teams still clicking
Coming into the game, the Golden Knights were sixth in the league with a 29.6% power-play efficiency. Their first goal came on the power play and their second was even better.
The first one saw Paul Stastny drift to the circle where no Penguins player picked him up. The only player on the ice that seemed to see him was Cody Glass who slid the cross-ice pass over for an easy tap-in for Stastny, his fourth of the season and third on the power play.
The second one was exactly what special-teams coaches draw up. The unit of Glass, Stastny, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Shea Theodore stayed on the ice for the entire two minutes and did not lose the zone once. They had seven shot attempts and one more two seconds after the penalty expired. Pacioretty even hit the post.
The Golden Knights were just as good when Pittsburgh was on the power play. The Vegas penalty kill entered the game with a league-best 93.5% success rate. They improved upon it with four successful kills, including three in the third period. Vegas has killed 33 of 35 penalties this year.
“I was trying to make the next save, see the puck,” Fleury said to AT&T SportsNet. “The guys in front of me did an amazing job clearing the puck and getting the goal there at the end.”
Before the season began, you could have gotten long odds on Glass winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Nine games into the year it’s still a longshot, but maybe not as crazy as it was before the season.
Glass has been everything that Vegas could have hoped for so far, and with his assist on the Golden Knights’ first goal, he has six point in nine games. That’s tied for second among league rookies two behind Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson for the lead.
Four of the eight forwards who won the Calder in an 82-game season had fewer than 30 goals, but all had more than 50 points. At his current pace, Glass would finish the season with 18 goals, 36 assists and 54 points.