There wasn’t much action in the first period other than a penalty against Brayden McNabb. The elite Golden Knights penalty team made quick work of that, and the first period remained scoreless.
It was Paul Stastny who drew first blood for Vegas in the second, assisted by Cody Glass and Max Pacioretty. His wrist shot squeaked past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, and would remain unanswered for the rest of the period. Vegas led 1-0.
GOAL. Paul Stastny scores on the power play to open the scoring. Excellent set-up feed from Cody Glass. pic.twitter.com/fnn82vGUjy— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 20, 2019
Power play goals were apparently the theme tonight, as Vegas scored another one late in the third period. Defenseman Jon Merrill was sent to the box for crosschecking with 2:50 left in regulation.
But again, it was Vegas’ elite penalty killing team to the rescue. William Karlsson, assisted by Deryk Engelland, netted his first goal of the season, and an empty-netter at that.
Mark Stone would quickly follow suit with the game-sealing empty-net goal for Vegas. Vegas would conquer Pittsburgh in a 3-0 victory, a shutout for Marc-Andre Fleury against his former team.
GOAL. Another empty-netter for Vegas. This time it's Mark Stone just as Jarry heads to the bench. pic.twitter.com/uhojDexlvX— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 20, 2019
As per usual, there were three stars of the game. One was Karlsson, but the other two were the goaltenders Fleury and Jarry. When it was mentioned earlier that there wasn’t much action in the first period, it’s because of those two...but mostly Fleury.
Fleury was a brick wall the entire evening. The Penguins couldn’t find a single weak spot on him. Though...they certainly should get an A for effort. They had plenty of opportunities tonight, all of which they took, but Fleury was always just right there.
There was a moment of panic before the end of the second period. The puck was in front of Fleury, with several Penguins flocking after it. After a mad scramble to keep the puck out of the net, his helmet was knocked off his head.
CHAOS. Don't know how Pittsburgh couldn't get this past Fleury. Play blown dead as Fleury's helmet came off. pic.twitter.com/abf0s7EDkc— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 20, 2019
While having a spectacular goalie is beneficial, it’s important to note that there was a defense change today as well. Nicolas Hague was penned as a healthy scratch, and Jake Bischoff got his NHL debut alongside Engelland.
Having a young gun out there trying to prove himself alongside the veterans proved to be beneficial. The Golden Knights had the Penguins waddling all over the place.
It will be interesting to see how the changes in defense will be once Nate Schmidt is off of IR. He’s still day-to-day with a lower body injury, but speculation says he could be rejoining the ranks within the next week or two. Will the AHL rookies be shuffled onto other defensive pairings just to test them out, or will they be on a plane back to Chicago?
This was the first of three road games for Vegas, who now moves to 6-3-0 this season. They’ll try to clip the wings of the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.