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game recap

Golden Knights defeat Hurricanes, sit atop NHL standings

Move one point ahead with win against Carolina

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Vegas Golden Knights moved into first place in the NHL standings with a 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Sunday.

Colin Miller had a goal and two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the Golden Knights (31-11-4), who moved one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the most in the NHL. 

 

[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Hurricanes highlights]

 

"Maybe a little unexpected, right?," Fleury said. "It's been a lot of fun. We started this team from scratch and chemistry was built very quick between us. Every night, all the guys bring their best effort. I'm proud of our team to be where we're at right now."

Miller and James Neal scored the Golden Knights' first power-play goals in eight games to help them finish their road trip 2-1-1.

Video: VGK@CAR: Neal goes five-hole on backhand for PPG

The Hurricanes (21-18-8) have lost five of their past seven games.

"The expectations of where guys need to be (compared to) what was provided wasn't close," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We need some better play out of some guys. Some guys might be a little too comfortable. There's no question about that."

Vegas scored first on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare's fifth goal of the season. William Carrier fought off two defenders before leaving a drop pass for Bellemare, who finished with a wrist shot for a 1-0 lead at 2:55 of the first period.

Miller made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 12:20, a one-timer from inside the blue line.

Jonathan Marchessault's 17th of the season gave Vegas a 3-0 lead 39 seconds later. He took William Karlsson's pass from the neutral zone and scored on the short side at 12:59.

Darling was relieved by Cam Ward after Marchessault's goal. Darling made five saves.

Jaccob Slavin's power-play goal made it 3-1 at 19:15 of the first period when he took a pass from Jeff Skinner and beat Fleury with a shot inside the far post.

Video: VGK@CAR: Skinner sets up Slavin for top-shelf PPG

"We weren't very good in the first period," said Neal, noting two early penalties when Vegas relied on Fleury to be sharp. "Every chance we got, we buried right from the start. Then we continued to get better throughout the game."

Vegas capitalized on the power play again at 13:42 of the second period for 4-1 lead. Neal gathered the rebound of Brad Hunt's shot and sent a backhand between Ward's legs. Neal extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.

Brendan Leipsic extended the lead to 5-1 at 10:20 of the third period. Miller stripped the puck from Victor Rask and set up a tap-in for Leipsic for his second of the season.

Ward made 23 saves.

"It was a step below the level we want to play at," Hurricanes captain Justin Faulk said. "I can't really pinpoint one thing right now. We just didn't have it tonight."

 

Goal of the game

Bellemare's goal at 2:55 of the first period.

Video: VGK@CAR: Carrier sets up Bellemare with no-look pass

 

Save of the game

Fleury's save on Victor Rask at 16:41 of the first period.

Video: VGK@CAR: Fleury turns aside Rask's attempt from slot

 

Highlight of the game

Marchessault's goal at 12:59 of the first period.

Video: VGK@CAR: Marchessault roofs wrister, chases Darling

 

They said it

"Early on in the year, I think we surprised some teams. Now I think every team will get up to play us. It's just something that will be another test for this group." -- Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller

"We've got to be better in front of our goaltenders. When we play properly and we're committed and competitive, we have a chance. When we don't do that for 60 minutes, then we don't. It's pretty simple for me to see. We can't have passengers. You've got to provide that primary dimension that you're here for." -- Hurricanes coach Bill Peters

 

Need to know

The Golden Knights are 16-2-3 in their past 21 games. … The Hurricanes have scored six even-strength goals in the past seven games. … Prior to the game, Peters said he didn't think forward Sebastian Aho's lower-body injury was significant and hopes to have Aho back after the All-Star break. Peters cautioned Aho's return is also contingent on his recovery from a concussion.

 

What's next

Golden Knights: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, FS-O, SN360, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, FS-SE, NHL.TV)

Video: Miller, Fleury lead Golden Knights to 5-1 win

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