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game recap

Fleury makes 31 saves, Golden Knights hold off Avalanche

Pirri scores tiebreaking goal for Vegas, which has point in eight of past nine

by Danny Webster / Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- Brandon Pirri scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves for the Vegas Golden Knights in a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday.

Pirri gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead at 10:11 on a shot from the left point. He has five points (four goals, one assist) in four games since he was recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Dec. 19.

"My confidence never wavered," Pirri said. "I always believed in myself and this is just another opportunity to prove myself."


[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Golden Knights highlights]


Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist on his 33rd birthday for the Golden Knights (21-15-4), who are 5-1-3 in their past nine games and extended their point streak at home to nine games (7-0-2). 

"I felt a little sluggish at times, but it got better as the game went on," Fleury said. "I thought everyone worked really hard helping out in the defensive zone."

J.T. Compher scored and Philipp Grubauer made 41 saves for the Avalanche (19-13-6), who have lost three in a row and are 2-6-1 in their past nine games.

Compher scored a power-play goal at 9:42 of the first period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. Mikko Rantanen had an assist on the play to become the second player in the NHL with 60 points (Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning).

"I thought it was a fair contest," Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie said. "They played a good game and we played to our strengths as well. We had a couple chances to tie it up, but sometimes it's not going to go your way."

Video: COL@VGK: Pirri rips long shot through traffic

Nathan MacKinnon, who was named the Central Division captain for the 2019 All-Star Game on Thursday, had an assist and Gabriel Landeskog didn't have a point and was minus-2.

"I think we took time and space away from them," Stastny said of defending Colorado's top line. "[Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb] was physical with them, [defenseman Nate Schmidt] had a good stick. We didn't let them stay in the zone too long." 

Stastny tied it 1-1 at 11:40, getting his own rebound in the crease and scoring at the right post.

Colorado had two power plays in the final six minutes of regulation, but Fleury made five saves to preserve the lead.

"We did a good job taking those cross seams away. Those are good players, they're going to find them," Stastny said. "When [Fleury] makes saves like that, he controls the rebound, then it makes it so much easier for the D-man to clear it."

Video: COL@VGK: Fleury shuffles over to stop Andrighetto

The Avalanche are 3-for-22 on the power play in their past five games.

"I think we've gone through some stretches where we've had some trouble with our breakouts here, which we've never really had before," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I think in our zone we're too selective on our shots. I'd like to see us move it, shoot it a little more. It doesn't have to be a fancy highlight reel play, it's just got to get to the net and make sure we have numbers."

They said it

"I think we did a better job playing to our strengths. We played OK, we just weren't playing our type of hockey. I think we did a better job initiating the tone tonight. It's a step in the right direction, but we still have work to do." -- Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie 


"I think it was just special how we competed for a full 60 [minutes]. If we're going to be successful, we have to stick with that. I don't think we played bad those last two games [losses in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings], we just had a couple of mental lapses here and there. Tonight was a great example, we played a full 60 and didn't give them a whole lot." -- Golden Knights forward Brandon Pirri

Need to know

Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves had two shots, one hit and one block in 8:26 of ice time in his NHL debut after being recalled from Colorado of the AHL on Thursday. … Colorado has scored nine goals in its past five games. … Golden Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare missed his first game of the season as a healthy scratch. Tomas Nosek took his place in the lineup as the fourth-line center, and Oscar Lindberg got the start on the third line. … Vegas forward Ryan Carpenter played his 100th game in the NHL. ... Fleury's win was his 50th with the Golden Knights.

What's next

Avalanche: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)

Golden Knights: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-W, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Video: Stastny, Fleury lead Golden Knights past Avalanche

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