Golden Knights G Fleury looks to stay hot vs. Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- Marc-Andre Fleury's play in net will go a long way toward determining if the Vegas Golden Knights are going to repeat last season's success.
Of course, if the Golden Knights can produce offensively at a reasonable clip, it won't hurt.
Vegas will carry a three-game winning streak into Tuesday's road test against the Chicago Blackhawks, who have struggled to establish any sort of rhythm this year coming off their first playoff-free season in more than a decade.
Fleury has recorded back-to-back shutouts, an accomplishment even more impressive considering the veteran goalie did it on consecutive nights. His latest standout performance came in a 6-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday when Vegas scored four first-period goals and then coasted behind Fleury, who made 33 saves after shutting out the Calgary Flames on Friday.
"I was feeling good, composed, related," Fleury told reporters after Saturday's victory, according to the Las Vegas Sun. "I think we've been starting to play a bit (more) our style, how we can play and how we should play, and it's been playing off greatly."
The back-to-back shutouts marked the first time in Fleury's career he has accomplished the feat on consecutive nights and the third time he has held an opposing team without a goal in back-to-back games. William Karlsson got Vegas (12-12-1) on the board just 14 seconds into the game and the Knights used Fleury's effort to extend their winning streak.
Vegas coach Gerald Gallant said he didn't mind playing Fleury on back-to-back nights after Fleury didn't face much pressure on Friday against the Flames. Now, after two days off heading into Tuesday's game at the United Center, Gallant knows Fleury will be plenty rested to face Chicago.
"It makes it easy when you got a guy like Fleury," Gallant told reporters, according to the Sun. "He had enough work against Calgary, but it wasn't like he had 50 shots and he had to make outstanding saves back-to-back. We thought he was rested, he felt good, and that made the decision easy for you, especially when he had the shutout the last game."
Like Vegas, the Blackhawks are coming off back-to-back games and a victory after Chicago (9-10-5) picked up a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers. The victory, secured by Erik Gustafsson's overtime goal, snapped Chicago's eight-game road losing streak and provided the Blackhawks with their third win in their past six games.
The victory also preceded the Blackhawks trading Nick Schmaltz to the Arizona Coyotes for a pair of former first-round picks in forward Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini. Schmaltz told reporters that he was shocked by the trade despite struggling with just two goals and nine assists.
General Manager Stan Bowman told reporters on Monday that he believes adding Strome and Perlini improves Chicago's depth as the Blackhawks continue to try to adjust to the style of coach Jeremy Colliton.
"We got two NHL players on our team for one," Bowman told reporters, according to NHL.com. "You have to give to get. We're not going to get two really good players like that by not trading away a really good one."
Bowman likes what the new additions bring to the ice.
"Watching both Brendan and Dylan play, I think there are a lot of attributes to their game that are going to translate well to how we want to play," Bowman said. "They bring some size, they're both big guys."
Updated November 27, 2018