PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cody Eakin scored with 1:25 left in the game and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Eakin ended the scoreless tie with a sensational sequence for the winner. He made a dive for the puck to keep it away from Flyers center Sean Couturier in Philly’s end of the ice. Ryan Carpenter snared the puck and passed it back to Eakin, who fired it from the circle past Brian Elliott for the winner.
Elliott was pulled to give the Flyers the man-advantage and they still couldn’t solve Fleury.
Fleury earned his first shutout and second win of the season for the Western Conference champions. The Golden Knights had been in a bit of a sophomore slump with a 1-4 start that included an opening-night home loss to the Flyers. But on the final game of a five-game road trip, Fleury carried Vegas to a needed win before it returns home next week to open a five-game homestand.
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Fleury made 10 saves in the second period and all of them were worthy of the highlight reel. He stuffed Scott Laughton on a short-handed breakaway that wiped out the center and sent him crashing into the boards. Laughton crashed back-first into the boards and was down on the ice for a few seconds, then went straight to the locker room. He didn’t return until the third.
Moments after that save, Flyers captain Claude Giroux was alone on a breakaway, took a nifty skip over a Vegas blade and was also stopped by Fleury. Fleury lay on his right side and snared the puck with his glove a tick before it reached the crease. Giroux’s stick hop was a play-of-the-day candidate — had Fleury not topped him with the save of the month. The Golden Knights tweeted the clip with the caption, “Don’t you Fleury bout a thing.”
He won his 29th career game against the Flyers.
The Flyers were stomped 8-2 in their home opener Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks and were booed off the ice to start a make-or-break year in coach Dave Hakstol’s fourth season. They rebounded 24 hours later with a gritty win at Ottawa and played a solid 60 minutes Saturday against the Western Conference champions. It just wasn’t enough for a team that can’t avoid any more injuries.
Laughton was banged up and forward Oskar Lindblom also hit the locker room in the third after Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb plowed him into the glass. The Flyers were already without two of their top nine forwards — Nolan Patrick and James van Riemsdyk. Patrick could miss up to 10 days after he took a stick to the face against Ottawa. Van Riemsdyk, who signed a $35 million, five-year contract in the summer, is out another month because an injury suffered when was hit with a shot in the second game of the season.
The Golden Knights played their straight game without injured center Paul Stastny, who was signed to a $19.5 million, three-year contract in the offseason.
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NOTES: Mascot Gritty taped a segment at a Philadelphia cheesesteak landmark for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that aired this week. “Picked up a side hustle for when Claude’s on the road,” Gritty tweeted. His in-game skits are a hit with fans — especially a videotaped segment that showed him taking out the trash and doing other chores around the arena.
Golden Knights: Host Buffalo on Tuesday.
Flyers: Host Florida on Tuesday.
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