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Sport Vegas Golden Knights' rise tied to taking Marc-Andre Fleury

18:05  14 march  2018
18:05  14 march  2018 Source:   ap.org

Tatar scores first, Fleury makes 33 saves, Vegas wins

  Tatar scores first, Fleury makes 33 saves, Vegas wins It didn't take Tomas Tatar long to get going with the Vegas Golden Knights. Three games into his tenure, Tatar got a winner with his first goal and Vegas avoided its first four-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over New Jersey on Sunday, handing the Devils their third-straight loss."It's a big goal after getting traded and it's a big one to get the monkey off the back, but the even bigger thing is it helped us win the game," said Tatar, who was acquired in a trading-deadline deal with the Red Wings last Monday. "It's a good start for our road trip.

FILE - In this March 8, 2018, file photo, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Detroit. The Vegas Golden Knights seemingly made all the right decisions to turn their expansion season into a special one. Marc-Andre Fleury has made one move look brilliant. No one expected the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights to be this good this season, building the largest lead by a first-place team with less than a month left in the regular season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)© The Associated Press FILE - In this March 8, 2018, file photo, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Detroit. The Vegas Golden Knights seemingly made all the right decisions to turn their expansion season into a special one. Marc-Andre Fleury has made one move look brilliant. No one expected the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights to be this good this season, building the largest lead by a first-place team with less than a month left in the regular season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

DETROIT — The Vegas Golden Knights turned their expansion season into a special one by making a lot of good decisions.

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Like the addition of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

"He makes an expansion team not be an expansion team," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said.

No one outside the organization expected the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights to be this good so fast. With less than a month left in the regular season, they easily have the largest divisional lead and are chasing Nashville for the most points in the Western Conference.

The odds are not long that Vegas could hoist the Stanley Cup.

"The expectations weren't high, but we all thought we could be better and we showed it," Fleury said after his 47th career shutout, a 4-0 win in Detroit. "Sometimes earlier in the season, I would wonder, 'Wow. Are we really still in that position?' And, we kept winning and holding strong in the standings."

Seattle's NHL expansion bid creates bigger buzz than Vegas

  Seattle's NHL expansion bid creates bigger buzz than Vegas <p>When Seattle Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Marilyn Strickland saw a 20-by-20 NHL flag raised atop the city’s iconic Space Needle, she viewed it as the sign that there’s a new game in town.</p>“There’s a buzz,” Strickland said. “When you say, ‘25,000 season-ticket deposits (sold) in one hour,’ people talk about that. There’s a civic pride and an enthusiasm. ... People may not necessarily be hardcore fans of the sport, but they want to be caught up in the event.

Fleury has a lot to do the startling success.

Pittsburgh left him unprotected in the expansion draft after he waived his no-movement clause, allowing the Penguins to keep 23-year-old Matt Murray after he led the franchise to its second straight Stanley Cup championship.

"I had a good idea it was going to happen, but you're never sure until your name is called," Fleury said. "I was still in a shock for me and my family. But the organization in Vegas from the staff, the coaches, the GM, the owner, was very welcoming and helped us with the transition."

The Penguins even gave Vegas a second-round pick in 2020 to take Fleury, who had two years and more than $11 million left on his contract. He has provided a return on the investment.

"The fit has been perfect," Golden Knights general manager George McPhee said. "His leadership was something we wanted for our locker room."

Fleury ranks among the league leaders with career bests in goals-against average (2.15) and save percentage (.930). He also became a three-time All-Star this season.

Coleman scores 2, Devils beat Golden Knights 8-3

  Coleman scores 2, Devils beat Golden Knights 8-3 Blake Coleman scored twice, Michael Grabner and Nico Hischier each had a goal and an assist, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Vegas Golden Knights 8-3 Wednesday night.TaylorTaylor Hall, Travis Zajac, Stefan Noesen and Kyle Palmieri also scored for the Devils, who improved to 9-6-0 in their last 15 and moved one point ahead of idle Columbus for the top wild card in the Eastern Conference. Keith Kinkaid stopped 39 shots.

"I feel pretty good, but my teammates have been good in front of me," he said. "By blocking shots and clearing rebounds away, that makes me look better."

Fleury has won 25 of 37 starts in a season stunted only by a concussion that kept him out of the lineup for two months. Earlier this week, he became the 13th goaltender in NHL history to win 400 games , trailing just Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist among active players.

"At the start of the year, he was our best player," Vegas forward David Perron said. "When he got hurt, we found out we had a really good team because we kept winning. Then, we got him back and we took another step and we haven't stopped."

GAME OF THE WEEK

Boston at Tampa Bay on Saturday night, the second of their four scheduled games. The winner of the season series increasing their chance at securing the Presidents' Trophy for having the most points in the NHL and earning home-ice advantage through the playoffs. In the first matchup on Nov. 29, Brad Marchand had two assists in the first period and the Bruins scored the first three goals in a 3-2 win at home over the Lightning.

LEADERS

Through Tuesday's games:

Goals: Alex Ovechkin (Washington), 42; Assists: Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg), 59; Points: Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay), 91; Wins: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay), 40; Goals-against average: Carter Hutton (St. Louis), 2.02; Save percentage: Hutton, .934.

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