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Golden Knights 4, Ducks 2: 3 Takeaways

Marc-Andre Fleury earned the win in his Golden Knights debut.

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

On the surface, Sunday favored the Ducks.

Anaheim is one of the most veteran teams in the league, and a favorite to win the Western Conference this year. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, are an expansion team, of whom little is expected by many experts.

Vegas wasn't playing Vadim Shipachyov, David Perron, Jonathan Marchessault or Nate Schmidt, electing rather to use a bunch of players vying for roster spots. The Ducks, on the other hands, had both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the lineup, as well as stud defenseman Cam Fowler.

None of this mattered to the Golden Knights, who rode a strong performance by Marc-Andre Fleury and three straight goals before the game's midpoint and cruised to a 4-2 victory.

Here are three immediate impressions from Sunday's game.

1. Fleury came as advertised

When the Golden Knights acquired Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins in June's Expansion Draft, it was with the expectation that he'd be the most recognizable face on Vegas' roster.

 

Video: Marc-Andre Fleury reacts to winning his VGK debut

 

After sitting the first three preseason games, Fleury made his debut on Sunday and lived up to his billing.

Fleury finished with 26 saves on 28 shots and got the win.

With three preseason games remaining - Tuesday vs. LA, Thursday vs. Colorado, Sunday vs. San Jose - at T-Mobile Arena this week, expect to see Fleury once more, if not twice. Also expect to see Calvin Pickard once more.

For now, though, it's all good for Fleury, who played the first game of his 13-year NHL career for a team other than the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

2. Guys on the bubble on the score sheet

With more roster cuts on the horizon, the Golden Knights elected not to play many of their more established scorers on Sunday. Instead, the team dressed many players who are fighting for the team's few remaining roster spots.

Two of them scored goals, too.

Tomas Hyka, a player who most expected to be a surefire member of the Chicago Wolves, scored. Hyka now has four goals in the preseason, after scoring twice in Rookie Camp against the LA Kings.

 

Video: VGK@ANA: Hyka tips in Reinhart's shot to boost lead

 

In total, Hyka now has six goals in five games.

Teemu Pulkkinen, a winger acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in the Expansion Draft, played in both the NHL and AHL last year. He also scored, and has goals in two straight games.

 

Video: VGK@ANA: Pulkkinen opens scoring with one-timer

 

3. The Brad Hunt Conundrum

Brad Hunt was not supposed to make this team. Despite being a multi-time AHL All-Star, this is a player who's mostly been seen as a career minor leaguer, having floated through the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues organizations the past two years.

Hunt continues to force the Golden Knights' hand, though.

He had another two assists on Sunday, and now has five helpers in three games this preseason. He also has a goal, using a rocket of a slap shot to get Vegas on the board on Tuesday in Colorado.

 

Video: VGK@COL: Hunt rips a slap shot top corner

 

The Golden Knights still have more than 10 defensemen in training camp, and only eight NHL roster spots for them. And many of them came into camp much higher in the pecking order.

Hunt has outplayed them all, however.

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