The Associated PressLAS VEGAS (AP) — Night after night, the Vegas Golden Knights keep proving it’s no fluke they’re the top team in the West. Just ask last year’s conference champions.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots in his second shutout of the season, leading Vegas past the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Tuesday for its eighth straight victory.
“It’s always a work in progress. It’s never perfect,” Fleury said. “When you get a shutout, it doesn’t mean it was a perfect game on my end. I know there’s still stuff to be worked on, but it’s definitely nice to be rewarded with a shutout.”
Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault scored for the surprising Western Conference leaders. Fleury improved to 8-1-1 with his 46th career shutout.
“Our goaltending has been unbelievable all season long,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “Fleury keeps going in there and playing really well. Tonight, they probably should’ve had the lead in the first period. In the second, they come out in the first five minutes and have some really good chances. He stood on his head, made some great saves, and gave us a chance to get the lead. He played really well and he’s a big part of that win tonight.”
Vegas has won eight in a row and earned at least one point in 13 consecutive games, both NHL records for a first-year team. The expansion Golden Knights are 17-2-1 at home and 27-9-2 overall.
Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for the Predators, who also lost at home to Vegas 4-3 in a shootout last month.
“That’s a good hockey team over there. Give them credit, they played well,” said Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, who made his season debut after recovering from knee surgery. “A lot of it comes back to us as far as turning pucks over and not getting pucks deep, getting away from our game plan.”
Nashville’s penalty kill ranks first in the league on the road, but Vegas converted its lone opportunity with the man advantage.