Golden Knights, Marc-Andre Fleury blank Flames in 2-0 win
Marc-Andre Fleury posted his league-leading fourth shutout, and the Golden Knights blanked Calgary 2-0 on Friday in front of an announced crowd of 18,206 at T-Mobile Arena.
Updated November 23, 2018 - 8:41 pm
There was a bit of hesitancy in their voices, which is understandable considering how they’ve been wrong previously.
On more than one occasion, the Golden Knights thought they figured out what was ailing them, only to fall back into a rough patch.
That helps explain why the Knights were reluctant to declare their troubles are over despite Friday’s spirited 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames before an announced crowd of 18,206 at T-Mobile Arena.
“Have we won two games in a row this year?” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury asked rhetorically. “We’re not out of the hole yet. We’ve still got some climbing to do, but it’s good for the confidence, good that different guys are putting up points and goals. We can play more relaxed now.”
Fleury made 29 saves for his league-leading fourth shutout, and to answer Fleury’s question, the Knights won consecutive games for the first time since a three-game streak from Oct. 13-20.
Fleury, who could start Saturday when the Knights host San Jose in the second game of a back-to-back, earned his 52nd career shutout to move past Curtis Joseph and Rogie Vachon into 24th on the all-time list.
Alex Tuch continued his recent hot streak with a goal and an assist, and defenseman Colin Miller notched his first goal as the Knights, wearing their white jerseys for the second time at home, made amends for a 7-2 thumping at Calgary on Monday.
The Knights (11-12-1, 23 points) also remained two points behind third-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
“The last two (games), there’s some urgency in our game, and I think we’re finding our game,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We played a real good, solid hockey game tonight. But I thought for five or six minutes we let Calgary come toward us when we made it 2-0.
”We can’t play like that. You’ve got to play the same way, and you’ve got to play solid hockey and smart hockey, keep pucks going forward.”
Unlike the wide-open affair at Calgary four days prior, Friday’s game was tight-checking and space was hard to come by. The Knights owned a 36-20 advantage in hits and limited the Flames to 16 shots on goal in the opening two periods before Calgary made a strong push in the third after falling behind by two goals.
Fleury had back-to-back stops on Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway midway through the third and turned away Mikael Backlund with 6:22 remaining to preserve the shutout.
Miller scored his first goal with a drive from the left point on a power play that beat Flames goaltender David Rittich at 2:34 of the third period for a 2-0 Knights lead.
“I think it was a good effort from all of us,” Miller said. “I still think there was definitely times where we gave up a little too much, but that’s a good team over there.“They create a lot of offense with their (defensemen) supporting the rush and all that stuff. Definitely can still build on it.”
Tuch, playing in his 100th career NHL game, opened the scoring with 3:51 left in the second period when he redirected Cody Eakin’s shot for his sixth goal.
Tuch also picked up an assist on Miller’s goal and has 10 points in his past nine games.
“I thought we were playing five-man in the defensive zone, in the neutral zone and the offensive zone,” Tuch said. “It’s a little bit of payback. It’s nice being on top this time and especially against divisional opponents. Every win counts. I know it’s early in the season, but every win counts, every point counts, and we’ve just got to keep pushing through.”
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■ Who: Golden Knights vs. Sharks
■ When: 7 p.m. Saturday
■ Where: T-Mobile Arena
■ TV: AT&T SportsNet (Cox 313/1313, DirecTV 684, CenturyLink 760/1760, U-verse 757/1757, Dish 414/5414)
■ Radio: KRLV (98.9 FM, 1340 AM); ESPN Deportes (1460 AM)
■ Line: Off