Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves through overtime and two more stops in the shootout, leading the Golden Knights to a 2-1 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday.
Playing for the second straight night for the last stop of a three-game trip, Vegas used a stellar performance by Fleury to improve to 7-0-0 against Chicago since entering the league for the 2017-18 season.
“He’s our ace. I mean he’s been outstanding all year for us,” coach Gerard Gallant said.
Fleury was beaten by Jonathan Toews in the first round of the tiebreaker, and then turned away attempts by Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore scored on Robin Lehner on the other end, giving Vegas the victory after it lost 6-2 at Philadelphia on Monday night.
It was win No. 446 for Fleury, snapping a tie with Terry Sawchuck for seventh on the NHL career list.
“I thought our game got better as the game went on,” Fleury said.
Kirby Dach scored his first goal in his second NHL game for Chicago, and Lehner had 33 saves in an impressive performance. Dach was selected by the Blackhawks with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft.
“I thought we did a lot of good things tonight,” Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It’s frustrating not to get rewarded for it.”
Lehner, who signed a $5 million, one-year deal with the Blackhawks in July, was working on his 15th career shutout when the Golden Knights replaced Fleury with an extra attacker late in the third period. Nick Holden then tied it at 1 when he shot it between Lehner’s legs with 1:33 left.
Vegas had a power-play opportunity in overtime, but Chicago killed it off. Lehner had a great stop on Max Pacioretty’s one-timer with 22.8 seconds left.
“These games are really exciting,” Holden said. “As a defenseman and as a player in front of Fleury, you don’t want to have him have to make those big saves. I’m sure that fans and everybody enjoys it. We want to try and limit those, but it was kind of a back-and-forth game.”
Standing all alone right outside the goalmouth, the 18-year-old Dach got the Blackhawks on the board when a deflected puck went off his left leg and into the net 16:15 into the first.
Dach celebrated by skating away and pumping his right arm as the crowd of 21,172 cheered wildly.
“It was a pretty cool moment,” Dach said. “I grew up dreaming of playing the NHL. Two games in, you’ve got your first goal. That’s pretty special, but at the same time, I’m pretty disappointed that we lost. That’s my main focus, the team game, not myself.”
Chicago almost added to its lead in the second, but Fleury made a tumbling save on DeBrincat’s shot off a slick pass by Toews. Brandon Saad had a one-timer go off the post with about 6:40 left.
Lehner denied William Carrier on a couple of prime chances in the second. First, Lehner kicked Carrier’s shot away about five minutes into the period. Lehner also got in the way of another Carrier try with about four minutes left.
NOTES: Blackhawks D Connor Murphy departed with a lower-body injury. Colliton said he will be sidelined for a couple weeks. … The Blackhawks acquired D Ian McCoshen in a trade with Florida for forward Aleksi Saarela in a swap of minor leaguers. The 24-year-old McCoshen, a second-round draft pick in 2013, will report to Rockford of the American Hockey League. … Chicago dropped to 2-2-2 on a seven-game homestand.
Golden Knights: Open a four-game homestand Friday night against Colorado.
Blackhawks: Host Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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