Golden Knights Win Franchise Opener

Marc-André Fleury made 45 saves and James Neal scored twice in the third period as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Dallas Stars 2-1 in their first game in franchise history.

In what may be the prototypical Knights game this season, Fleury stood on his head and kept the game close until the offense was able to come up with just enough to get the win.

Trailing 1-0 midway through the third period, James Neal took a drop pass at the blue line from Defenseman Nate Schmidt, skated into the top of the right circle and snapped a wrist shot past Stars Goalie Kari Lehtonen for the first goal in franchise history. 

Five minutes later, with time winding down, Neal scored the game winner. Jason Garrison started the play at center ice, pushing the puck up to a streaking Cody Eakin who split the defense, barreling his way right down the slot before sneaking a cross ice pass to an open Neal on the right wing. Neal, who was falling to his knees after receiving the pass, lifted the puck over the sprawling Lehtonen and into the top of the net for the game winning goal. 

After a moving pregame ceremony honoring the victims of last Sunday’s senseless attack in Las Vegas that saw the entire Stars team skate over and stand with the Golden Knights for the National Anthem, the teams skated to a penalty filled scoreless tie at the end of the first period.

Tyler Seguin opened the scoring 17 minutes into the second period with his first of the year following a holding penalty on Knights Defenseman Colin Miller. 

 Marc-André Fleury shutout the Stars the rest of the way, stopping all 11 shots he faced in the third period, giving the Knights the opportunity they needed. 

The Knights are back in action tonight, facing the Arizona Coyotes in Arizona before heading home for their TMobile Arena debut on Tuesday, also against the Coyotes. Puck drop is at 6:00 PM PST.

Mark Warner

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