Fleury expected to play for Golden Knights vs. Coyotes
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Now that the Vegas Golden Knights have proven they can win with the goaltender who had the fewest wins in the NHL, they’ll try to win another with the goalie who leads the league in wins.
Marc-Andre Fleury (21-10-4) is expected to start when the Golden Knights play the second half of a weekend back-to-back against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Sunday. Darcy Kuemper (5-10-2) will start for the Coyotes, who defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 in overtime Saturday.
Fleury’s 21 victories are one more than Frederik Andersen (20-9-1) of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Fleury stopped 31 of 32 shots during the Knights’ 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, before Malcolm Subban made 30 saves during Vegas’ 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Subban lost his first five starts as the Golden Knights scored just six goals combined. But he finally got his first victory of the season as the Golden Knights won for the second time in as many games. They also gained a point for the fifth consecutive game and the ninth time in 10 games (6-1-3).
“Like the Colorado game, it was a good, solid road game,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “We worked hard, we did the right things with the puck and we got an early lead.”
Or something Fleury is more accustomed to than Subban.
Fleury is 8-5-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average against the Coyotes, including a 3-2 win at Arizona on Nov. 21 in which he stopped 19 of 21 shots. Max Pacioretty scored the game-winning goal 3:36 into overtime.
“We kept going at them and eventually we started to break them,” Stastny said.
Stastny has four goals and seven points in 11 games with Vegas.
“He’s real solid. When we got him (as a free agent in July), we know what he does,” Gallant said. ‘He’s not a big, big point producer, but he’s a great defensive player, wins face-offs, does the right things. And when he plays the way he played (Saturday), he’s going to contribute offensively, too.”
Almost everyone contributed for the Coyotes, who trailed 3-1 before rallying to defeat Anaheim. Nick Schmaltz won it by scoring 33 seconds into overtime as the Coyotes won for only the fourth time in 12 games.
“It probably wasn’t the most fun game for the coaching staff,” said Christian Fischer, who began Arizona’s comeback by scoring in the second period to make it 3-2. “But this was great to see. Everyone stayed with it. The first period wasn’t our best, but it’s nice to have it (their resiliency) pay off.”
Arizona has won one of six games against Vegas since the Golden Knights began play last season as an expansion team. The Coyotes’ only win was a 3-2 decision on March 28 in the fifth and final regular-season meeting in 2017-18.