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September 15, 2019

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Fleury ties season-high with 5 goals allowed as Golden Knights fall to Kings

Malcolm Subban may start against the Stars to finish off a back-to-back


Alex Gallardo / AP

A shot by Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter, right, gets deflected into the net by Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, center, and defenseman Nate Schmidt, left, for a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.

The Golden Knights scored first, but allowed five unanswered goals in a 5-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Kings Saturday at Staples Center.

Marc-Andre Fleury gave up goals to five different players on 25 total shots from the Kings, and the Golden Knights’ offense couldn’t keep up. That ties the most goals Fleury has allowed this season, and it’s the most the Golden Knights have surrendered since a 7-2 loss to the Flames on Nov. 19 in Calgary.

“We weren’t even close to good enough,” coach Gerard Gallant said to AT&T SportsNet. “It looked like we were tired today for some reason.”

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Maybe at least one player was tired

Fleury is going to need some rest this season. The loss to the Kings was his ninth straight start, and 11th in the Golden Knights’ last 12 games.

That’s a much larger workload than most goalies typically take on in the modern NHL. The Golden Knights are going to have play Malcolm Subban at some point — maybe tomorrow at 6 p.m. when they host the Stars at T-Mobile Arena.

Problem is, Fleury has played well and the team has been winning — it’s tough for Gallant to give up his best chance at ending the day with two more points in the standings — but he’s currently on pace for 71 starts. Last year’s league leader, Cam Talbot of Edmonton, started only 66 games.

Fleury has allowed multiple goals in six straight games, and with Sunday being the second game of a back-to-back, it could be time to see Subban’s first home start of the year.

Sometimes you run into a hot goalie

In the other net, the Kings’ Jonathan Quick looked like the two-time Stanley Cup champion of old on Saturday. Quick has endured his struggles this year as he entered the game with a 3.52 goals-against average, .884 save percentage and had just given up five goals to lowly New Jersey on Thursday, but he was superb against Vegas.

He made 29 saves to pick up his second victory of the season — he's spent extended time on the injured reserve — and was at his best during a stretch in the third period with his team up 4-1, making five saves in three minutes.

“We had a couple of good shifts when it was 4-1, I thought we had three or four good shifts back-to-back, but that was it all day,” Gallant said.

All in all, there was nothing pretty on Saturday

The Golden Knights opened the scoring with Oscar Lindberg’s first goal of the season, and it went downhill after that: Nikita Scherbak’s goal tied the game for Los Angeles less than four minutes later.

The Kings were 1-16-1 when allowing the first goal, but netted two in the second period, to flip the stat in their favor. The Kings improved to 8-1-0 when leading after two periods, and the Golden knights fell to 2-12-0 when trailing after two.

Nate Schmidt had a rough day, screening Fleury and allowing Scherbak’s shot to go through his legs, as well as inadvertently deflecting Jeff Carter’s centering pass through the crease into the net. He finished with a team-worst minud-3 rating.

“You give anybody that much time or that much room and they’re going to be able to make some plays,” Schmidt told AT& SportsNet. “We had some opportunities in the third period, but that was when the game was already out of hand.”

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