Jon Merrill’s first goal of the season snapped a third-period tie, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots against his former team and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Thursday night.
It was the first meeting between the defending Stanley Cup champions and Vegas, which acquired Fleury from Pittsburgh during the NHL expansion draft on June 21.
Fleury was taken by Pittsburgh with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft.
It’s a bittersweet reunion tonight. 🌼 pic.twitter.com/OBINFGRVxL
James Neal scored his 15th goal of the season for Vegas, while Ian Cole scored Pittsburgh’s goal.
The matchup between the Penguins and Fleury was arguably the most anticipated game against a former Penguin since Jaromir Jagr played against Pittsburgh on Dec. 11, 2001, for the first time after his trade to Washington.
After missing six straight games due to a lower-body injury, the Penguins activated goalie Matt Murray off injured reserve in time to face his mentor, Fleury.
Murray, who stopped 24 shots, had his personal regulation losing streak extend to four games, the longest of his career.
The Golden Knights became the fastest expansion team to 20 wins in NHL history.
Vegas wasted no time in giving Fleury an early lead, when Neal’s rebound off Colin Miller’s wrist shot found its way past Murray.
The Penguins tied it when Carl Hagelin found Cole, who beat Fleury top shelf from just behind the goal line for his second goal of the season.
Merrill’s one-timer put the Knights ahead with 11 minutes left in the game, slapping Erik Haula’s pass beneath Murray’s pad.
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