Nicolas Roy was a six-year-old when Marc-Andre Fleury made his NHL debut.
The two are teammates now, and on Sunday night Roy scored his first career NHL goal and Fleury made 13 saves, leading the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Roy, making his first appearance as a member of the Golden Knights, showed off his blazing speed when he split two Anaheim defenders and slipped a shot through Ducks goaltender John Gibson’s pads for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
“Usually I don’t even celly after a goal, but that one I had to, it was so fun,” said Roy, who celebrated by jumping into the glass that separated him and a slew of frenzied Golden Knights fans. “It was such a great feeling, a really great night.”
Roy, who was drafted 96th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, was inserted into the lineup in place of Brandon Pirri and centered a fourth line better known for its rugged play with wings Ryan Reaves and William Carrier, two of the league leaders in hits. Sunday, the trio finished with a total of three points, as Carrier assisted on Reaves’ second goal of the season and team-leading career seventh against the Ducks.
“I don’t know what it is,” Reaves said of his success against Anaheim. “I played a lot of Duck Hunter when I was young.”
Reaves complimented Roy’s immediate chemistry on the fourth line, which in just 7:18 of time on ice had an impressive Corsi edge of 11-2.
“(He was) really good, solid, all over the ice, some crazy speed on his goal,” Reaves said. “Really solid defensively and nice offensive touch.”
Mark Stone, William Karlsson and Paul Stastny also scored for Vegas, which moved ahead of the Ducks and into sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division.
Vegas has 16 points, one point behind first-place Edmonton. Anaheim has 14 points.
The Golden Knights, who were outshot 40-26 in a 6-1 loss to Colorado on Friday, outshot the Ducks 49-15, including a whopping 17-5 in the first period when they seized control with a 3-1 lead.
The 15 shots on goal were the fewest Vegas has allowed this season.
“They were awesome, from start to finish,” said Fleury, who improved to 14-4 all-time against Anaheim. “That was a tough loss to Colorado, not just because of the score, but maybe the way that the game played out. That wasn’t us, and I think tonight, it’s the type of games that we want to be playing.”
Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique scored for the Ducks, while Gibson dropped to 1-7-1 against Vegas after allowing five goals. Gibson, who made 44 saves, has started every game for Anaheim against the Golden Knights since Vegas entered the league in 2017.
The Ducks appeared to have carried their momentum from Saturday’s 5-2 win at Colorado, as Getzlaf opened the scoring when he took a pass from Max Comtois and slipped it through Fleury’s pads, making it 1-0 just 4:12 into the game.
The lead didn’t last. Stone was credited with tying the game 34 seconds later, when his wrist shot off the post ended up on the end of Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler’s stick. Fowler accidentally knocked the puck into his own net to tie the game at 1-1. The onslaught of shots at Gibson continued in the second period. Karlsson made it 4-1 with a power-play goal midway through the period.
Stastny put the game out of reach early in the third when he netted Vegas’ second power-play goal. He took a pass from Max Pacioretty and netted his fifth goal of the season.
“They have three lines of high skill and high speed,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “Then their fourth line is about as heavy as it gets. That’s why they are a top team in this league.”
NOTES: Stone, who is three games shy of playing in the 400th of his career, has picked up at least one point in 11 of Vegas’ 13 games. … The Ducks are three games shy of their 2,000th game in franchise history, which is scheduled for Nov. 3 vs. Chicago. … Gibson entered the game tied for the highest career save percentage (.922) among all-time NHL goaltenders with at least 200 games played. … The Ducks’ power-play woes continued, as they were 0 for 1 with a man advantage, and are now 3 for 31 this season, fifth-worst in the league.
Ducks: Host Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
Golden Knights: Host Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.