Engelland helps Vegas beats Flames for 5th straight win
LAS VEGAS (AP) — After a loss nearly two weeks ago, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant yearned for a return of the misfits, the nickname the team adopted during its stellar inaugural season a year ago. Three days later the Golden Knights acquired Mark Stone in a blockbuster trade with Ottawa, and the misfits rediscovered their mojo.
The Golden Knights have won five straight since acquiring Stone, and pulled seven points behind second-place San Jose in the Pacific Division and 10 behind first-place Calgary.
“There was a lot of things I liked tonight,” Gallant said. “I thought in the first period we weren’t as good as we were in the prior games. But after that I thought we played a great hockey game.”
Fleury, who recorded back-to-back shutouts in his previous two starts, tied Jacques Plante for eighth on the NHL’s all-time wins list with his 437th victory. The 15-year veteran netminder has allowed just one goal in his last 228 minutes, 43 seconds.
“They’re one of the best in the league and a big challenge for us. I thought we rose to it,” Fleury said. “We’ve been playing good hockey lately. Just another example of beating a good team here. Those games are fun. They’re close, they’re intense and fun to win.”
Vegas improved to 14-5-2 against the tightly contested Pacific Division, and 3-0-0 in March. The Golden Knights are 5-2-0 against Calgary all-time, including a perfect 4-0-0 mark at home.
Engelland, who played 226 games for the Flames from 2014-17, scored his first goal since Dec. 6 when he beat Calgary goalie David Rittich with a tight fit into the corner.
“It’s always nice to chip in no matter when it is,” Engelland said. “It’s definitely a little sweeter against your old team.”
Travis Hamonic scored Calgary’s lone goal, while Rittich made 36 saves.
Calgary, which is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games, is now 0-3-0 in March. The Flames saw their four-game road win streak snapped.
Theodore put the defending Western Conference champs on top midway through the first, with a slap shot into the top corner that gave Vegas a 1-0 lead.
Calgary thought it tied the game when Johnny Gaudreau backhanded a rebound past Fleury. But after the goal was challenged for goaltender interference, officials ruled “the actions of (Matthew) Tkachuk impaired Fleury’s ability to defend his goal.”
Fleury’s career-high scoreless streak came to an end in the second period, when Hamonic lasered a slap shot from the point to tie the score at 1-all. Fleury hadn’t allowed a goal in the previous 200:41.
Tempers flared near the end of the second when Tkachuck backed into Fleury and Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller took offense. After the two tussled, Tkachuck got in Fleury’s face, and was met by Vegas’ Cody Eakin and Nate Schmidt. Then it was Fleury laying his stick down and removing his right glove while staring down Rittich, who didn’t budge from his zone.
“He came to the blue line so you feel a little challenge,” Fleury said. “I don’t want to be chasing a goalie around though. That’s fine, I just thought he was gonna come. Nothing happened.”
Said Rittich: “I didn’t want to cross the red line and take a penalty.”
Calgary, which has outscored opponents 95-55 in the third period, was outshot 15-11 in the third period while being kept out of the net by Fleury.
Flames coach Bill Peters, who wanted a call on Eakin late in the third period, didn’t hold back with his displeasure of the referees. Peters said Eakin threw a hip into Gaudreau, adding it was “as obvious a penalty as anything that was called in the evening.”
“I didn’t like the fact the officiating standard changed,” Peters said. “I though the calls early were poor. Especially the call on Hathaway — a real poor call, real soft call this time of year. And then they put the whistles away in the third. So, in the first, everything is a penalty. And in the third, nothing is a penalty. … I thought that standard definitely changed, and it doesn’t help you when you’re either chasing the game or trying to score to get it tied up. It is what it is.”
Vegas visits Calgary on Sunday for the final meeting of the season.
NOTES: William Karlsson played in his 150th as a member of the Golden Knights. … Vegas forward Reilly Smith has a point in 10 of his last 13 games (four goals, nine assists). … The Flames came into the game 7-0-0 in the first game of a back-to-back this season. … Calgary’s Sean Monahan extended his point streak to five straight games after assisting on Hamonic’s goal.
Flames: At Arizona on Thursday night.
Golden Knights: At Vancouver on Saturday night.