THE ANGELS – There was no guarantee that Marc-André Fleury would get enough games during a condensed schedule to climb the NHL record.
After putting another “Hall of Fame” goalie in his rearview mirror Wednesday, Fleury has a chance to climb even higher before the season ends.
Fleury went on to rank fourth on the all-time win list and was a barrier for the Golden Knights in a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.
“I was hoping it would come at some point,” Fleury said. “It is a very beautiful number, and I am humbled by it.”
Mattias Janmark received an assist on his debut with the Knights after being acquired at the trade deadline on Monday, while the new third line was on the ice for three goals and created numerous opportunities.
Tomas Nosek finished with one goal and two assists, and Alex Tuch had two points for the Knights (29-11-2), who won their fourth straight overall and became the fourth team to reach the 60-point mark.
“We had very good chemistry for our first game,” said Nosek. “I hope we can continue like this and be good in every game.”
Fleury made 20 saves and earned his 485th career victory to break a tie with Ed Belfour of the Hall of Fame. He has a chance to catch up with Roberto Luongo (489 wins) for third place before the end of the regular season.
Fleury improved to 110-60-14 in his career with the Knights after posting a 375-216-68 record in 14 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“For me, I think those two players are the ones I idolized. Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur, ”said Fleury. “They are a great reason why I wanted to be a goalkeeper and because of the way I play as a goalkeeper. It’s great to be between them and Roberto Luongo, too ”.
Fleury finally received offensive support after the Knights scored 10 goals in their last seven games.
The Knights lashed out at Kings starter Jonathan Quick with three goals on eight shots before he was retired in the first period.
Max Pacioretty was credited with his team-leading 21st goal after a lucky rebound in the first period and added two assists. In the second period, he assisted Chandler Stephenson on a breakaway and, in the third, Mark Stone for his 14th goal.
Alex Pietrangelo also scored in the third period.
The Knights swept the two-game game and finished the season series beating Los Angeles 6 of 8.
“We were aware of Fleury’s accomplishment, and I think that’s what made us even more upset that we weren’t able to give him some support in a couple of those games,” Pacioretty said. “Going forward, we have to try to play like we did tonight in terms of putting pucks into the net and letting him do his thing.”
Janmark was involved in the Knights’ first two goals and scored his first point with the team.
He didn’t get an assist on Nosek’s goal, but he took a hit along the wall that allowed the puck to go out of the Knights’ zone and create an odd-man run. Nosek followed and ran down the right wing before shooting over Quick’s glove at 7:18 for his eighth goal, equaling his career high.
Tuch put the Knights ahead 2-0 with his second goal in two games and his 15th overall. He took a Janmark pass on the blue line and lifted a shot that beat Quick from the side of the glove.
Trevor Moore scored both of the Kings’ goals.
“Now is when you want to play your best hockey,” said coach Pete DeBoer. “We still have some work to do, the special teams, obviously. But we are playing well at the right time of year. “