The Vegas Golden Knights can tie the record for the longest winning streak in team history as they go for their eighth consecutive victory on Friday night against the visiting Buffalo Sabres in Las Vegas.
The Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights improved to 11-3-2 since Peter DeBoer replaced Gerard Gallant as head coach on Jan. 15 with a 3-0 shutout of the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. The seventh straight win matched the second-longest streak in team history.
The team-record eight-game winning streak took place in the Golden Knights’ memorable inaugural season– Dec. 14, 2017 to Jan. 2, 2018 — when they reached the Stanley Cup Final.
Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 29 saves for his fifth shutout of the season, moving into a tie with Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins for the league lead. It was the 61st career shutout for Fleury, who also moved into a tie for 17th place on the all-time shutouts list with Walter “Turk” Broda.
“Tonight, I got a little lucky with two goals that didn’t go in,” said Fleury, referring to a first-period Connor McDavid shot that went off the crossbar and a third-period shot from the right circle by Leon Draisaitl that clanged off the far-left post. “I think the way our team has been playing has been more consistent. We’re not giving up as many scoring chances and I think that makes me look better.”
Fleury improved to 5-0-0 with a 1.60 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage in his last five starts.
“As a team we went through ups and downs for the first part of the season,” Fleury said. “We hung in there to be in a playoff spot. I feel now we’re playing more consistent night after night.”
Max Pacioretty scored his 30th goal of the season — the sixth time he’s reach the 30-goal mark — and Nick Cousins, acquired from Montreal at Monday’s trade deadline for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, and Shea Theodore also scored for the Golden Knights.
Cousins played despite not arriving from Montreal on a flight until 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning and missing the team’s morning skate. He became the sixth Vegas newcomer to score a goal in their debut this season.
“That was fun,” Cousins said. “It’s been a crazy couple of days here with all the travel and stuff like that but there’s no better way to be thrown into the fire than to play a game at home.”
Buffalo, 5-2 over its last seven games, began a four-game western road trip with a hard-fought 3-2 loss at Colorado on Wednesday.
J.T. Compher scored the game-winner for the Avalanche with 8:06 to play. Buffalo nearly tied it in the final minute after pulling goalie Carter Hutton but Victor Olofsson hit the post with one shot and Colorado goalie Paval Francouz robbed him on another attempt.
“It was a really good hockey game,” Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger said. “If this was the fifth game of the season you’d be quite happy right now. It’s just that all that matters to us are results. It really hurts but there’s a lot to take with us here for how we need to play on the road. Right now, all that’s at the surface is the pain.”
Forward Dominik Kahun, acquired by Buffalo at the trade deadline from the Pittsburgh Penguins, told the Buffalo News he hopes to make his Sabres debut on Friday after taking part in the team’s morning skate on Wednesday. Kahun missed his last two games with the Penguins with a lower-body injury.
–Field Level Media