Eakin scores, Fleury shutout in Ve­gas’ win over Fly­ers

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By Dan Gelston

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Marc-An­dre Fleury put a stop to Ve­gas’ early sopho­more slump.

Fleury keyed the Golden Knights’ far-fetched run to the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal in their rookie sea­son and then had a high­light-reel out­ing to si­lence a slow start to their sec­ond one.

Fleury turned away break­aways, made slid­ing stops and used great glove­work to stop 26 shots to lead the Ve­gas Golden Knights to a 1-0 vic­tory over the Philadel­phia Fly­ers on Satur­day.

“Fleury was out­stand­ing to­day and he was the dif­fer­ence in the hockey game,” coach Ger­ard Gal­lant said.

But he al­most needed over­time.

Cody Eakin bailed out the Golden Knights with the win­ner with 1:25 left in the game. Eakin ended the score­less tie with a sen­sa­tional se­quence for the goal. He made a dive for the puck to keep it away from Fly­ers cen­ter Sean Cou­turier in Philly’s end of the ice. Ryan Car­pen­ter snared the puck and passed it back to Eakin, who fired it from the cir­cle past Brian El­liott for the win­ner.

“It’s just one of those ones where a stick and a bounce, and we were in the right spot at the right time,” Eakin said.

El­liott was pulled to give the Fly­ers the man-ad­van­tage and they still couldn’t solve Fleury. Fleury made a div­ing stop across the crease with 30 sec­onds left to deny Fly­ers cap­tain Claude Giroux the ty­ing goal.

He beat the Fly­ers for the 29th time, got his 406th ca­reer win and 49th NHL shutout.

The Golden Knights had had hit the skids with a 1-4 start that in­cluded an open­ing-night home loss to the Fly­ers. But on the fi­nal game of a five-game road trip, Fleury car­ried Ve­gas to a needed win be­fore it re­turns home next week to open a five-game home­s­tand.

Fleury made 10 saves in the sec­ond pe­riod and all of them were wor­thy of retweets. He stuffed Scott Laughton on a short­handed break­away that wiped out the cen­ter and sent him crash­ing into the boards. Laughton crashed back-first into the boards and was down on the ice for a few sec­onds, then went straight to the locker room. He didn’t re­turn un­til the third .

Mo­ments af­ter that save, Giroux was alone on a break­away, took a nifty skip over a Ve­gas blade and was also stopped by Fleury. Fleury lay on his right side and snared the puck with his glove a tick be­fore it reached the crease. Giroux’s stick hop was a playof-the-day can­di­date — had Fleury not topped him with the save of the month. The Golden Knights tweeted the clip with the cap­tion, “Don’t you Fleury bout a thing.”

“You know he had a cou­ple des­per­ate saves there,” Giroux said. “He’s a goalie that doesn’t quit on the puck.”

The Fly­ers were stomped 8-2 in their home opener Tues­day night against the San Jose Sharks and were booed off the ice to start a make-or-break year in coach Dave Hak­stol’s fourth sea­son. They re­bounded 24 hours later with a gritty win at Ot­tawa and played a solid 60 min­utes Satur­day against the Western Con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons. It just wasn’t enough for a team that can’t avoid any more in­juries.

“This is one of those nights, tip my hat to Fleury in net, they made a play late in the hockey game and it hurts like hell to walk out of here with noth­ing,” Hak­stol said.

El­liott re­bounded from the eight-goal disas­ter in his last home start to stop 20 shots against Ve­gas.

“Both teams had a lot of chances. Goalies played well and we were able to get the last one,” Eakin said.

DERIK HAMIL­TON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ve­gas Golden Knights’ Wil­liam Karls­son, left, and Philadel­phia Fly­ers’ Wayne Sim­monds bat­tle for a loose puck dur­ing the first pe­riod of an NHL hockey game, Satur­day in Philadel­phia.

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