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Insider Only Round 1 Goes to Fleury and the Golden Knights

Golden Knights 2 – Penguins 1

In a game dubbed Murray vs Fleury, neither goaltender would disappoint.

Matt Murray turned aside 24 shots in a very strong performance after being on the shelf for six games and Marc Andre Fleury also stopped 24 shots, but it was Fleury and Golden Knights who would prevail with a 2-1 win.

This was a game you knew Fleury badly wanted and he delivered to knock off his former team, stopping all 10 shots he faced in the third period.

It’s December 15th, more than two months into the season and it’s the Golden Knights with a 20-9-2, 42 pts, record, while Pittsburgh has lost three straight and are 16-14-3, 35 pts, on the season.

Jon Merrill (1) broke a 1-1 tie at 8:17 into the third period to put the Golden Knights ahead 2-1. The goal was off a brutal turnover from Brian Dumoulin in the neutral zone as the Penguins were changing and Merrill blistered a feed from Eric Haula.

As Fleury got the win, it was a former Penguins connection 1:41 into the game as James Neal (15) scored his 15th goal of the season with David Perron assisting.

Ian Cole scored Pittsburgh’s lone-goal with a beautiful assist from Carl Hagelin at 12:41 of the first period.


— Shots ended up 26-25 Vegas, the Golden Knights fit the scouting report of being a very well coached team who are fast on pucks. Their speed game was backed up by a 26-16 edge in scoring chances during 5 on 5 play and +4 edge in high danger chances.

Mike Sullivan has felt the Penguins have lacked a consistent net-front presence and the lack of ability to get a dirty area goal hindered the Penguins again tonight.

“We have to be harder to play against,” Sullivan said.

— The experiment of Patric Hornqvist playing left wing on Evgeni Malkin’s line didn’t go well. The Malkin line was at 37% in driving possession.

Sidney Crosby had 0 shots in 24 shifts.

Dominik Simon was bumped up to the 1st line right wing spot. Simon was on the ice for a team-high 23 shot attempts at even strength and posted a 64 CF%.

Carl Hagelin played just 56 seconds in the third period of Monday’s game vs the Avalanche at even strength and coming into tonight’s game there was talk of him possibility being a scratch. He stepped up tonight with one of his better performances. Had a gorgeous assist in setting up Cole for the Penguins lone goal but Hagelin was doing things he does well in applying pressure on the forecheck and playing that speed/chaos game.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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