LOS ANGELES — The Golden Knights want to monitor goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s workload more this season. Nights like Sunday make it tempting for them to not.
Fleury was sensational starting for the second time in two days, making 36 saves in the Knights’ 5-2 road win against the Los Angeles Kings (2-3-0). The 34-year-old improved to 4-0-1 in Game 2 of a back-to-back with the Knights (4-2-0).
Fleury looked fresh and kept his teammates in the game while they found their legs in the first period. He made two spectacular right-pad saves in the first to keep the Knights in front — one on center Kings Anze Kopitar on the penalty kill and one on left wing Jeff Carter on a 2-on-1.
“I’ve played with goalies that read the puck really well but aren’t athletic and I’ve had goalies that aren’t the smartest goalies but are super athletic,” center Paul Stastny said. “He’s ‘Flower’ for a reason. He’s got a mix of both. He’s super athletic, but he’s able to anticipate really well.”
Right wing Reilly Smith, left wing Max Pacioretty, Stastny (twice) and right wing Mark Stone scored to back up their goaltender. Right wings Austin Wagner and Dustin Brown scored for the Kings.
Here’s what else stood out from the Knights’ win:
1. Power play plugs in
The Knights were 3-for-3 on the power play against the Kings, which matched their season-high for power-play goals in a game from last season.
Their unit with Pacioretty, Stastny, Stone, rookie Cody Glass and defenseman Shea Theodore was outstanding. Pacioretty beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick with a high glove-side shot 6:59 into the first period, then set up Stastny for a tip-in goal with 5:09 left in the second.
“We scored, but even when we didn’t score we had chances,” Stastny said.
Stastny also scored on the power play with three minutes left in the second. The Knights are scoring on 30 percent (6-of-20) of their power-play opportunities so far this season after finishing at 16.8 percent last season, which ranked 25th in the NHL.
“We’ve got some top players, and when they make plays like they did tonight we’re going to have success,” coach Gerard Gallant said.
2. Second line reunion pays dividends
Pacioretty, Stastny and Stone didn’t just look good 5-on-4.
Their line, which was the Knights’ best in the playoffs, played well for the second straight night after being reunited Saturday against the Calgary Flames.
Stone scored his fourth goal 4:41 into the third. Pacioretty finished with a goal and two assists. Stastny finished with two goals and two assists. He scored zero points playing on the third line for the first four games.
”I think the most important thing is everyone works hard and everyone works for each other,” Stastny said. “Anytime you can just go out there and forecheck as hard as you can, knowing that (Pacioretty) or (Stone) is going to be (the second or third forward) or vice versa, you don’t have to go out there and waste energy for no reason.”
3. Division statement
The Knights’ win against the Kings finished up their stretch of five division opponents in six games. They went 4-1 overall and 2-1 on the road.
The Knights now play one division opponent in their next 14 games.
“The parity is so good around the league,” Fleury said. “If you’re on top of your division, you’ll be in good shape to make the playoffs. That’s why those games mean so much more.”