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game recap

DeBoer wins debut as Golden Knights coach against Senators

Stone has goal, assist in return to Ottawa, Fleury makes 33 saves for Vegas

by Callum Fraser / Independent Correspondent

Stone scores in return to Ottawa

VGK@OTT: Stone nets wraparound in return to Ottawa

Mark Stone picks up the loose puck and quickly slips a wraparound past Craig Anderson for a 2-0 lead, as he scores in his return to Ottawa

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OTTAWA -- Peter DeBoer won his debut as coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, 4-2 against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

"It was a tough week for them, and I thought they responded the right way," DeBoer said. "They came out, they poured their energy into the game, playing the right way, and we got rewarded for it. Hopefully it's the start of a roll here."

DeBoer was hired on Wednesday, replacing the fired Gerard Gallant. DeBoer was fired by the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 11.

"I thought our leaders led tonight," DeBoer said. "I thought [Mark Stone] was the best player on the ice, and everyone else kind of jumped on board."


[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Senators highlights]


Stone had a goal and an assist in his return to Ottawa; Vegas acquired the forward in a trade with the Senators on Feb. 25, 2019.

"It was weird, for sure," Stone said of playing his first game for the away team in Ottawa. "Six great years over there. They took a chance on me from Day 1. I was no shoo-in to be an NHL hockey player and [the Senators] kind of helped me develop and molded me into the player that I am today. It was unfortunate that we ended my career here, but at the same time, Vegas has become home and it's now the place that I want to spend the rest of my career."

Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tied Henrik Lundqvist for fifth place in NHL history with his 458th win. He made 33 saves and ended a personal three-game losing streak.

"I felt better tonight," Fleury said. "I think I made more key saves to keep us ahead in the game."

Connor Brown had a goal and an assist, Vladislav Namestnikov scored, and Craig Anderson made 39 saves for the Senators (16-23-8), who have not won in nine games (0-5-4), their longest stretch of the season without a victory.

"Obviously, [Vegas] was motivated with all the changes going on and [Stone] coming back to play here," Brown said. "It was a good effort to push back, but obviously not good enough out of the gate."

Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for Vegas (25-19-6), which ended a four-game losing streak.

Video: VGK@OTT: Stastny finishes give-and-go with Stone

"They took it to us in the first 10 [minutes]," Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey said. "And we talked about it, but we just weren't able to make any plays to get anything going up the ice in those first 10. And we were really on our heels after that."

After working a give-and-go with Stone, Stastny scored with a snap shot on the rush to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead 34 seconds into the first.

"I've seen him a lot over my tenure [in Toronto] playing against him, so you don't get surprised by anything," Brown said of Stone. "But he picks off passes and he steals pucks and he seems to make the right play every time he touches it. He's an elite, elite player in this league and we knew that coming in."

Stone picked up a rebound at the edge of the crease, circled the back of the net and tucked in a wraparound to make it 2-0 at 18:55 of the second.

Chandler Stephenson intercepted a pass at the Vegas blue line and scored with a wrist shot on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 3-0 at 5:50 of the third. Namestnikov one-timed a pass from Chris Tierney on the power play one minute later to cut it to 3-1.

Video: VGK@OTT: Stephenson steals puck, pots wrister for SHG

Anderson misplayed the puck behind the net, and Ryan Reaves one-timed a pass from William Carrier into an open net to make it 4-1 at 9:23.

Brown scored on the power play to cut it to 4-2 at 12:30.


They said it

"I told [my players] if I call any of them 'Jumbo' or 'Burnsy' to kick me. I didn't make any mistakes on names, but it was a good night. It's a good group. After a tough week and some hard days, it was nice to get a win and kind of move past that." -- Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer

"They are very good, very deep, very big. They've got [Fleury] over there, who's a proven guy. They are certainly a team that has all the capability in the world to have a very good season." -- Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey on the Golden Knights


Need to know

Stastny has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 15 games against Ottawa. … Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau was a late scratch due to an upper-body injury.


What's next

Golden Knights: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. (7 p.m. ET; Citytv, SNE, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Senators: Host the Calgary Flames on Saturday. (4 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, SNW, NHL.TV)

Video: DeBoer earns 4-2 win in debut as Golden Knights coach

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