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Fleury has successful debut with Golden Knights

Goalie makes 26 saves in preseason win against Ducks

by Dan Arritt / Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Marc-Andre Fleury glanced up at the scoreboard over center ice at Honda Center on Sunday, and the big screen caught his eyes. The goaltender watched a quick replay of a save he just made and received another reminder that he was no longer wearing the uniform he donned the first 13 years of his NHL career.

Fleury was making his debut for the Vegas Golden Knights after spending his entire career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Shortly after winning the Stanley Cup for the third time, Fleury was acquired in the NHL Expansion Draft in June, becoming the Golden Knights' most high-profile addition.


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Fleury played well in his first preseason game with the Golden Knights, making 26 saves in a 4-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks.

Fleury made several of the high-quality saves many became accustomed to seeing during his time with the Penguins. Only this time when Fleury looked up at the replay, he saw a goalie in a white jersey with silver, gold and red sleeves, rather than Pittsburgh black and gold.

"Little different, but I got used to it right away," Fleury said.

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

Fleury was pleased the Ducks also played several of their top players, including captain Ryan Getzlaf, forward Corey Perry and their most skilled defenseman, Cam Fowler.

"They're definitely one of the best teams in the League, so it's good to get a chance to play preseason against them," Fleury said.

Fleury had to wait longer than he hoped to make his first save. He finally got his chance at 3:36 of the first period on a shot by Perry.

"It was a little bit of a slow start for me because there weren't that many shots right away," Fleury said. "I thought we came out very strong, did well and I was kind of eager to get a little bit of action, but the guys did a really good job."

Video: VGK@ANA: Fleury uses glove to swat puck away

He made eight more saves in the opening period, when the Golden Knights took a 2-0 lead.

"I thought I got better as the game went on," Fleury said. "I got more comfortable."

The 18th shot he faced got past him (Scott Sabourin at 11:52 of the second period), but Vegas had already taken a 3-0 lead. He gave up another goal to Giovanni Fiore with 25 seconds left in the game.

"I thought he was really sharp," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. "He played a lot of the pucks behind the net. He made a lot of big saves at key times of the hockey game and he was the difference in the hockey game."

Fleury said there were some knots in his stomach before the game, but nothing compared to 2003, when he was a rookie playing in his first preseason game with the Penguins after being the No. 1 pick at the NHL Draft earlier that year.

"I had a little bit of nerves before I went on the ice," Fleury said of his debut with Vegas. "I wanted to do well, show them what I could do and do well for my new team, my new coach." 

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