LAS VEGAS – Mere metres from a strip where the likes of Criss Angel, David Copperfield and Penn & Teller have performed endless illusions, the Calgary Flames staged one of their own Saturday.
Golden Knights snap two-game skid, top Flames 6-2
In the midst of their fifth appearance ever at T-Mobile Arena, the visitors did well to make it look like they were actually in the game for a time.
Two goals in 33 seconds to open the second period gave the Flames a 2-1 lead in a game in which they had no business pretending to be front-runners.
Alas, the Golden Knights dominance over the Flames resumed soon thereafter when a Mark Stone goal minutes later kicked off a five-goal spree from a host team that has still never lost to Calgary at T-Mobile Arena.
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"Until we start to play hard — and play hard for 60 minutes — it’s going to be up in the air all night long, or you’re going to get blown out. We’ve got to develop a little bit of a work ethic here.”
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"I think we started to play the right way there for a couple minutes and we got rewarded for it," said Milan Lucic, whose club erased a 1-0 deficit early in the second thanks to a Rasmus Andersson goal and another credited to Johnny Gaudreau that was actually tipped in by William Karlsson.
"Then we went back to cheating for offence and once we started turning pucks over and not covering up we gave up some odd man rushes and the puck wound up in the back of the net.
"Its one of those games we can learn a lot from early on and thats what we need to do with a quick turnaround playing (Sunday) night."
He thwarted an admirable number of the 18 scoring chances the Knights generated, but twice saw pucks squeeze through his pads, thanks to shots from Paul Stastny and Ryan Reaves.
"They caught up in shots at the end of the game obviously (the Flames outshot Vegas 35-30), but I thought for 50 or 55 minutes we carried the game."
Reaves goal made it 5-2 early in the third on a play in which Andersson turned the puck over after Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett collided at the blue line. Reaves then walked around Andersson and beat Rittich to put the game out of reach.
Stats aside, T-Mobile Arena hasnt been a welcoming building for the Flames. Since Vegas has entered the league they are 4-0-0 against Calgary in their home barn and are averaging just under four (3.8) goals a game there, compared to Calgarys paltry one goal average.
It marked the fifth-straight start for Rittich, who has faced 30 or more shots every outing, en route to a 2-2-1 record.
It had been predetermined hed give way to Cam Talbot on Sunday in San Jose where the assignment doesnt get any easier for a team that has yet to hit its stride this season.
Vegas snaps two-game slide versus FlamesVegas snapped a two-game slide on Saturday, defeating the Calgary Flames at home 6-2 behind another stellar performance from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Mark Stone finished with a goal and an assist, while Fleury allowed just two goals on 35 shots to help the Golden Knights improve to 3-2-0 through five games. For Stone, it was his fourth multi-point effort in five games. Tomas Nosek was among the other Knights to tickle the twine on the evening. He and Stone are now tied for the team-lead in goals (3) and Stone leads the team in points with eight.
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For the third time this year the Flames were outskated the first 20 minutes, but bailed out by Rittich once again.
"We’ve got to be ready to play," said Andersson, who played on the top defensive pairing with Mark Giordano.
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"The first period was not good. I’ve said it (before), we haven’t played good for 60 minutes yet. That’s what we’re looking to do here. We started off the second period really well. We got two quick ones there. If you make mistakes against a team like this, they’re going to punish you and that’s what they did.
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“We’re disappointed the way we’ve played. We haven’t played hard enough. We’re well aware we haven’t played hard enough and we haven’t played hard enough on a consistent basis.”
Veteran goaltender Jonathan Quick is expected to patrol the crease for the Kings on Sunday. Quick has been part of the early season problems for the Kings. Through two starts (0-2-0), the 33-year-old has an ugly .750 save percentage and 7.71 GAA. He is coming off a disappointing year in which he posted a 3.38 GAA and .888 save percentage in 46 starts. Quick made two starts versus the Predators in 2018-19, going 0-2-0 with a 2.58 GAA and .921 save percentage.
LAS VEGAS — The Vegas Golden Knights came into the season with one of the best top-six forward units in the NHL. In their latest win, they proved they have the potential to be a threat with all four lines.
Mark Stone and William Carrier each had a goal and an assist and Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves to lead the Golden Knights past the Calgary Flames 6-2 Saturday night.
Tomas Nosek, Paul Stastny, Ryan Reaves and rookie Cody Glass also scored to help Vegas remain undefeated at home against the Flames. All three forwards on the fourth line scored and 12 players had at least one point.
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“When you get your team going like we had tonight, all four lines contributed, thats a big part … youre excited when you see that,” said Vegas coach Gerard Gallant, who is now one win shy of his 250th. “Not too often our so-called fourth line are gonna get three goals in a game, but they went out there, they did their jobs, they kept the game simple, they worked really hard … they did their job and they got rewarded for it.”
Since the Golden Knights joined the NHL in 2017, Calgary is winless in five visits to T-Mobile Arena while being outscored 21-6.
Fleury, who went 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average and a .984 save percentage last season against the Flames, improved to 13-4-1 in his career against Calgary.
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With regular backup Malcolm Subban nursing an undisclosed lower-body injury, Fleury figures to have a heavy workload ahead of him with Vegas playing six games over the next 10 days. Vegas recalled goaltender Oscar Dansk from Chicago of the AHL earlier Saturday.
The Golden Knights will endure their first back-to-back situation, as they travel to play in Los Angeles on Sunday, but Gallant said he would confer with goalie coach Dave Prior before deciding on his starting netminder against the Kings.
“Were looking forward to it, its gonna be a tough game,” Gallant said. “L.A. had a real good game today … theyll be on a high tomorrow. Well go in there tonight, no morning skate tomorrow and get ready for a game tomorrow night and it should be a real good hockey game. Theyre playing real well this year, doing a real good job.”
Vegas found its offence at the right time, with back-to-back Pacific Division opponents on deck, after losing to Boston on Tuesday and at Arizona on Thursday.
“A little scrambly for us the last couple of games, so we had to just get back to playing simple hockey,” Reaves said. “But being in position for each other and getting in on the puck and reloading and getting out of piles properly is something that we talked about and it definitely showed today.”
Rasmus Andersson and Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary. David Rittich stopped 24 shots in his fifth straight start, and dropped to 2-4 with a 3.67 goals against average in six starts against Vegas.
Calgary coach Bill Peters wasnt pleased with his teams effort, as it was thoroughly outplayed after Andersson and Gaudreau gave the Flames a 2-1 lead early in the second period.
“We didnt play hard enough,” Peters said. “Until we start to play hard, and play hard for 60 minutes, its going to be up in the air all night long or youre going to get blown out. … Were disappointed the way weve played.”
Meanwhile, Vegas has benefited from a well-balanced offence, including a fourth line that has eight points (six goals, two assists) in five games.
“Were trying to be the best fourth line in the league,” Carrier said. “Shift after shift, whatever the team needs — a big hit, tonight it was a goal, but it could be anything out there — were just trying to be the best fourth line out there.”
NOTES: Calgary backup G Cam Talbot will make his Flames debut Sunday, when Calgary finishes up a three-game trip at San Jose. … Vegas D Brayden McNabb played in his 400th career game. … The game marked the first showdown between the Stone brothers, since Michaels younger sibling, Mark, was traded to Vegas from Ottawa last season. … Oakland Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs cranked the opening-game siren. … Mark Stone has a point in four of Vegas first five games and is one assist shy of 200 in his career. … Gaudreau played in his 399th game and is expected to play in his 400th Sunday in San Jose. . Stastnys registered his 26th career goal and 63rd point against Calgary — both career highs against an opponent.