Marc-Andre Fleury was waiting for the right time to debut his glittering gold goaltending pads.
He chose Wednesday, and might not take them off.
Fleury marked the occasion with a 29-save shutout and the Golden Knights scored on three of their first four shots of the second period en route to a 5-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena.
“I don’t know if it was the pads or the way the guys played, you know?” Fleury said. “Definitely a good feeling to get a win again and not give up too many goals there.”
Center Cody Eakin scored twice for his first multigoal game since March 8 at Detroit. Alex Tuch and defenseman Nick Holden finished with a goal and an assist to help the Knights start their two-game homestand on a high note.
“I’m just having fun,” said Eakin, who has scored points in five consecutive games. “I think that’s important to enjoy it and have fun. Pucks are going in right now. There will be times when they aren’t, but I’ll try and ride it.”
The five goals by the Knights match a season high set Nov. 8 in a 5-3 victory at Ottawa.
Anaheim goaltender John Gibson was denied his 100th career victory and was pulled with 12:41 remaining in the second period after allowing three goals on 12 shots.
Fleury’s new equipment gave some extra juice to the announced crowd of 18,111, and the Knights fed off the energy to snap their two-game losing streak and move within three points of a playoff spot.
He made a blocker save on Ondrej Kase with a little more than two minutes remaining in the third period to preserve his 51st career shutout.
“It was good,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said after the game. “I thought we had some great jump. The second period was an excellent period for us. The puck went in; we got a few puck lucks tonight. We got some breaks tonight, finally. Hopefully it’s going to turn for us.”
The Knights, who also defeated Anaheim 3-1 on Oct. 20, improved to 5-2-1 at T-Mobile Arena.
Eakin took over on the second line after center Erik Haula was injured Nov. 6. He has three goals and a pair of assists in his five-game surge.
He neatly finished off a 2-on-1 with Tuch only 25 seconds into the second period for a 2-0 lead, firing a rising shot from his off-wing over Gibson.
The Knights then caught a rare break with 12:41 remaining in the second to go ahead 3-0.
Holden banked a pass off the boards to Jonathan Marchessault, who was standing in front of the Ducks’ net.
But before Marchessault could get his stick on the puck, Anaheim forward Adam Henrique knocked it into his own goal while trying to give it to Gibson so he could cover up.
Ryan Miller replaced Gibson after the goal and had 11 saves for the Ducks.
Eakin added his second goal with 10:25 left in the second with the Knights short-handed. He blew past Jakob Silfverberg in the neutral zone and roofed a backhander over Miller for his seventh goal, one behind Marchessault for the team lead.
Tomas Hyka notched his first goal at 5:10 of the third period, and second of his career, when he put in a rebound after Tomas Nosek was turned away by Miller.
The Ducks played their first game outside of Southern California since Oct. 25 at Dallas and were successful early at slowing the pace.
The Knights had the better chances in a largely uneventful first period, including a 2-on-1 midway through that William Carrier and Ryan Reaves were unable to finish . Less than a minute later, Tomas Nosek was camped out in front and fired over the net after a set-up from Ryan Carpenter.
But Tuch converted on the Knights’ third power play of the period with 2:18 remaining, extending his points streak to four games (2-3-5).
Max Pacioretty deflected Colin Miller’s drive, and when Gibson left the rebound near the crease, Tuch pounced for his fifth goal.
Tuch thought it was the Knights’ best game this season.
“We played a full 60 minutes,” he said. “At times, we gave up a few odd-man rushes, but everyone was on the same page, dialed in and working really hard. It makes it easy on everyone.
“When you’re working as a five-man unit, this team especially, I think is unstoppable.