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game recap

Penguins top Golden Knights, spoil Fleury's return

Score five, deny goalie win in first game back in Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins scored five straight goals to spoil Marc-Andre Fleury's return to PPG Paints Arena with a 5-4 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Fleury made 33 saves for Vegas (35-14-4) in his second game against his former team; he made 24 saves in a 2-1 win against Pittsburgh (30-22-3) on Dec. 14.

"I didn't know what to expect. In the warm-up, I had goose bumps," Fleury said. "It's a night I won't forget. … It was very, just weird. The game was here, so it was different. But it was a game I'll remember forever."

 

[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Penguins highlights]

 

Matt Murray made 21 saves for the Penguins, who have won five of their past six games.

"It was what I think everybody expected it to be," Murray said. "It was an emotional, pretty free-flowing game. They're a really good team. They're tough to play against. We had to give it our best to get the two points."

Video: VGK@PIT: Reaves cashes in on a big turnover

Ryan Reaves cut the Golden Knights lead to 2-1 at 11:08 of the second after Riley Sheahan stripped Brad Hunt of the puck. Sheahan sent a pass to Reaves, who shot through Fleury's five-hole from the left face-off circle.

Ian Cole tied it 2-2 at 17:24 with a snap shot, and Jake Guentzel gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead at 18:40.

Evgeni Malkin made it 4-2 at 3:09 of the third period for his 30th goal of the season before setting up Phil Kessel, who extended the lead to 5-2 at 6:20.

Malkin (one goal, one assist), Kessel (one goal, one assist) and Sidney Crosby (two assists) each had two points. Malkin has 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in his past five games.

Video: VGK@PIT: Cole picks the corner to even the score

Crosby has 24 points (three goals, 21 assists) in his past 13 games, but is on a nine-game goal drought since scoring his 399th NHL goal on Jan. 14.

"Good for us to climb back in it there," Crosby said. "It wasn't looking good for a while when we were down a couple. So, a big second [period] followed with a big third."

Ryan Carpenter stopped the flurry with a wrist shot that cut it to 5-3 at 6:38. Jonathan Marchessault made it 5-4 at 12:04.

After Malkin was called for slashing Deryk Engelland at 1:07 of the first, William Karlsson ended his five-game goal drought on the power play to give Vegas a 1-0 lead at 2:09.

Video: VGK@PIT: Neal buries a pretty no-look backhander

James Neal extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:34 of the second period.

"It's a tough loss," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. "We played a real good 30 minutes, and then we sort of backed off. That's why they're the Stanley Cup champs. They can create good plays. I thought the first 30 we played real well.

"We didn't skate, we didn't work hard enough and our gaps were bad. When you give the room to make plays in the neutral zone, with their speed, they're going to attack you. I thought we backed off too much and gave them too many odd-man rushes."

Video: BGK@PIT: Fleury flashes the leather on Hagelin

 

Goal of the game

Malkin's goal at 3:09 of the third period.

Video: VGK@PIT: Malkin, Kessel capitalize on two-on-one

 

Save of the game

Murray against Karlsson on a breakaway at 7:31 of the second period.

Video: VGK@PIT: Murray denies Karlsson on breakaway

 

Highlight of the game

Kessel's goal at 6:20 of the third period.

Video: VGK@PIT: Kessel slams home a heavy one-timer

 

They said it

"[Fleury is] just a great person. Obviously a great player, but a great person. As you see, the city loves him. We certainly love him here. We're happy to have him. … We should have just had a better effort for him tonight. Played great again. Gives us a chance to win every single night." -- Golden Knights forward James Neal

 

"I thought both goaltenders did a terrific job. I think it was every bit as emotional for Matt Murray as it was for [Fleury]. I thought both of them handled themselves extremely well, as they always do. They're two really good pros. They're two really good people. And I thought they did a great job." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan

 

Need to know

The Penguins honored Fleury with a video tribute during the first television timeout. Following the video, the crowd chanted Fleury's last name as he raised his stick. … The Golden Knights lost after scoring first for the second time this season (22-2-0). … Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist missed a second straight game with a lower-body injury. After initially saying he didn't anticipate Hornqvist to be out long-term, Sullivan said he would be week to week on Monday. … Penguins forwards Carter Rowney and Tom Kuhnhackl did not play after the first period because of lower-body injuries. Sullivan said he would have more information on Thursday.

 

What's next

Golden Knights: At the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; SN360, NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Penguins: At the Dallas Stars on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-SW, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Penguins spoil Fleury's return with 5-4 win

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