Las Vegas, NV – Behind another solid performance by Marc-Andre Fleury, the suddenly resurgent Vegas Golden Knights were able to hold off the Pacific Division leading Calgary Flames with a closely contested 2-1 victory on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena. Wednesday’s win was the fifth consecutive victory for Coach Gerard Gallant’s club, since the acquisition of power forward Mark Stone, and also helped the franchise keep a perfect record at home against the Flames, improving the Knights to 4-0-0 all-time at “The Fortress” against Calgary. With the win, the Golden Knights pulled to within 7 games of 2nd-place San Jose in the tight Pacific Division standings.
Despite the aforementioned fact concerning their flawless record against the Flames in Vegas, this heroes for this particular game were anything but typical. Well, one of them at least. While Fleury may have disappointed some in not continuing a personal shutout streak stretching back the past two games, a feat which helped him earn recognition as the NHL’s first star of the week, he still undoubtedly earned one of the game’s stars, sending back 33 of 34 shots by the visitors. With the win, Fleury now has a remarkable 437 over his 15-year NHL career, and this amazing accomplishment certainly had added significance to the veteran goaltender, as it meant that he is now tied with legendary Montreal Canadiens netminder Jacques Plante for the 8th most by a goalie in league history.
The second hero of the game was certainly an unexpected -yet not unsung- one, as veteran defenseman Deryk Engelland found the net for just the second time all season, scoring the game-winner in the third period. The game-winning goal was admittedly extra special for the Edmonton, Alberta native as it came against his former club. “It’s always nice to chip one in no matter when it is, but its definitely a little sweeter against your old team,” admitted the veteran blueliner after the game when discussing how it felt notching the winning goal against his former teammates.
Beyond his normal elite goalkeeping prowess, Fleury also likley earned himself even more adulation and appreciation from the Vegas faithful during an interesting sequence late in the 2nd period of Wednesday night’s game, when he forcefully got into Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk’s face to ask what for, as a response to Tkachuk’s barreling into him (Fleury) moments before. This inevitably lead to a scuffle in Fleury’s crease. During the prolonged scrum however, Calgary netminder David Rittich skated to his own blue line, either to get a closer look at the action, or perhaps to see if his opposing number wanted to engage in some fisticuffs of their own. The man affectionately known as “Flower” throughout his playing career, appeared to be more than ready and willing to bump, as he made it a point to drop his goalie stick, and even could be seen removing his glove and blocker in anticipation of throwing hands against Calgary’s third-year goaltender. Alas, cooler heads prevailed and Vegas fans were denied the chance at witnessing the rarest of things- a legitimate scrap between goalies, pads and all.
Don’t forget the Golden Knights will now embark on a three-game road trip, beginning on Saturday with a tilt against the Canucks in beautiful British Columbia.
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