LOS ANGELES (AP) — Marc-Andre Fleury had not received much help lately as he continued his climb up the record books, with the Vegas Golden Knights providing 10 goals of support in his previous seven starts.
With Vegas finally unleashing the offense in front of their veteran goaltender, Fleury made 21 saves to earn his 485th win and break a tie with Ed Belfour for fourth place in NHL history as the Golden Knights beat the Los
Angeles Kings 6-2 on Wednesday night.
Max Pacioretty and Tomas Nosek each had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights, who have won four straight. Alex Tuch, Chandler Stephenson, Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo also scored, and Vegas went 6-2-0 in the eight-game season series against Los Angeles.
“It’s fun to see them (score),” Fleury said. “See a lot of different guys contribute also, get some goals and feeling good. I see the game is more relaxed when we get all those goals, but it’s nice. I knew it was gonna come at some point, and everything worked out today and we got a win.”
Picking up where they left off in a 4-2 win over the Kings on Monday, the Golden Knights continued to highlight their speed and transition play as they went up 2-0 11:04 into the game.
When Jonathan Quick misplayed Pacioretty’s bouncing dump in from outside the blue line to put the Golden Knights up 3-1 late in the first period, resulting in the Kings’ own accomplished goalie being replaced after allowing three goals on eight shots, it was clear it would be Fleury’s night to make history.
“Kind of one of those things where it almost felt like every other game we were playing well, and it just happened to fall (poorly) in the games that Flower played,” Pacioretty said. “But in that short amount of time, he still played well and was able to help us win. So, yeah, it was nice to get him some runs for. I don’t know how much he needed it tonight because he played pretty well, played very well again.”
Trevor Moore scored twice in his first multigoal game for the Kings, who have lost nine of 12. Cal Petersen made 21 saves in relief.
The issues that have done in Los Angeles during their downturn after playing their way into postseason contention continued, notably an overeagerness to chase the puck that resulted in easy scoring chances.
Those breakdowns were evident on Stephenson’s breakaway goal to make it 4-1 with 4:13 left in the second, set up by Pacioretty’s clever tip pass at the blue line.
Kings coach Todd McLellan said he was troubled by the loss of structure and it was imperative the team not give back the gains made earlier in the season.
“We just were like kids on a soccer field, we just chased the puck all over the place, and the open man is killing us,” McLellan said.
Fleury reached the milestone win in 876 games. Belfour played in 963 games, though his 111 ties to Fleury’s two reflects that their respective careers overlapped for just three seasons.
“Looking back, to be able to be here now and having passed Eddie, who’s a guy I loved watching and have a lot of respect for, it’s pretty cool and I’m very humbled by that,” Fleury said.
Fleury needs four more wins to tie Roberto Luongo’s 489 for third place in NHL history.
Mattias Janmark had an assist in his first game for Vegas after being acquired from Chicago in a trade Monday. He was a plus-two in 15:21, playing on the third line with Nosek and Tuch.
“It was a lot of fun to play with him,” Nosek said. “I think he brings the speed there and skill. I think we had pretty good chemistry for first game, and hopefully we keep it going and be good every game.”
Golden Knights: At Anaheim on Friday.
Kings: At Colorado on Friday.