Las Vegas–Tonight the Vegas Golden Knights and the Nashville Predators squared once again this season at T-Mobile in their 2nd meeting of the 2017-18 campaign.
In their last matchup this season, the Golden Knights came away from Smashville with a 4-3 victory in the shootout that featured the first ever NHL contest between brothers Malcolm Subban and P.K. Subban. It was also James Neal first game against the Preds since being acquired by Vegas in the expansion draft.
Heading into the contest, Marc-André Fleury record against Nashville in regular season play over the course of his playing career was 8-4-1 with a 2.18 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
He also came into tonight’s tilt with a 7-1-1 record on the season with a 1.96 GAA and a .938 percentage which is a single season best for the 14 year veteran goaltender.
The opening period of play saw a very good tempo in two separate segments that gave off the feel of Stanley Cup Playoff game with both Fleury and Pekka Rinne making things difficult and stopping 19 shots combined between the two netminders.
Champion On Champion
At 17:53 left in the opening period, was a highlight moment for both Fleury and Nick Bonino, members of the 2017 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Bonino tried to score on Fleury but the 3-time champ closed the door on his former teammate.
One 2017 Stanley Cup champion stopped another in the first period as Fleury stoned Nick Bonino Bonino Bonino Nick Boninoooooooo pic.twitter.com/BQlwHExkgQ
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 3, 2018
In the first ten minutes of the 2nd period the Golden Knights were under siege by Nashville causing Fleury to be alert and often, having to stop 10 shots by the Predators attack.
For the 2nd half of the middle frame was a much different story as the Golden Knights finally were able get on the power play against the league leading Nashville road penalty kill of 87.6%.
On the power play, Nate Schmidt managed the keep the puck in the offensive zone and chipped the pass up to Reilly Smith who walked it in on Rinne where he found to way to bounce it off of his back pad to open the scoring for Vegas at the 12:10 mark of the 2nd. On the scoring play, this would be Smith’s 10th of the season for the Golden Knights.
Smith’s 2nd Period Power Play Goal For Vegas
— NHL (@NHL) January 3, 2018
1:30 later Shea Theodore extended the Golden Knights lead over the Predators. His defensive pairing partner on that sequence was veteran blueliner Deryk Engelland who fed the puck to the former Duck defenseman and his one timer blast managed to squeak by Rinne five hole at 13:40 of the 2nd period. For Theodore he connected on his 4th of the year with Vegas.
Theodore’s One Timer Squeaks By Rinne In The 2nd Period
SHEA THEODORE! 2-0 VEGAS! THE ARENA IS BUZZING! pic.twitter.com/4t86TlwUe1
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) January 3, 2018
In the 3rd period of the contest after they killed off their 14 straight penalty the Golden Knights, Jonathan Marchessault sealed the deal for Vegas with his empty net goal by a setup from Erik Haula and David Perron. After receiving the pass from Haula, Perron chipped it up to Marchessault on the breakaway who easily walked into Nashville’s end to ice it for a 3-0 final score.
For Marchessault this was his 15th goal of the year for Vegas which puts him at the halfway mark of last year’s high at 30 goals when he was a member of the Florida Panthers.
At the end of the night Fleury recorded his 2nd career shutout against the Predators and improved to 9-4-1 lifetime against Nashville with his 29 save performance. He also earned his 46th career shutout.
This was also his 2nd in a Golden Knights uniform and 3rd overall for the club that started off with Oscar Dansk back in the 1st quarter of the 2017-18 campaign. He improved to 8-1-1 this season backstopping the net for Golden Knights.
The Golden Knights 3-0 victory on Nashville, improved their record on the season to 27-6-2 for 56 points and maintaining their 3 point cushion ahead of the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. They would also improve to 17-2-1 at home this season.
This also put some distance between them and the Kings in the Western Conference by 3 points as well. In the league overall standings Vegas is just 4 points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who won their game tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 2-0 final with 60.
Season Series: 2-0 lead over Nashville
All season long the Golden Knights have continued to write in the history their firsts and for them, the 12-0-1 run in the 13 games became the longest such run by a franchise in their inaugural season where they collect points.
Making History Once Again
The @GoldenKnights extended their win and point streaks to eight and 13 games (12-0-1), respectively – the longest such runs in NHL history by a team in its inaugural season. #NHLStats #NSHvsVGK pic.twitter.com/P3rZWnFAkS
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 3, 2018
***Elias notes that the Golden Knights became the first major North American professional sports franchise to win eight straight games at any point in its inaugural campaign since the Denver Nuggets posted an equal run from Oct. 22 – Nov. 9, 1976 to begin their first season in the NBA.*** Per NHL
3 Stars Of The Game
Vegas Golden Knights: Marc-André Fleury (Shutout win)
Vegas Golden Knights: Alex Tuch (2 assists)
Vegas Golden Knights: Reilly Smith (Game Winning Goal)
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