Marc-Andre Fleury would’ve let a bad goal get to him earlier in his career. Now 36 years old, the Vegas Golden Knights goalie wasn’t rattled by the moment Tuesday.
Fleury allowed a goal with 0.8 seconds left in the first period but recovered to make 28 saves for a 3-2 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at Ball Arena in Denver on Tuesday.
With the period coming to an end, Avalanche forward Brandon Saad shot from along the boards at the top of the left circle. Fleury attempted to play the puck with his glove but misread it and Saad scored at the short-side corner.
“Well, I saw it pretty good,” Fleury said. “I didn’t think it was going too fast. I thought I could just catch it. I felt bad. It wasn’t fun for sure. I felt stupid. I think when I was younger, this would’ve thrown me off a bit more.
“I’ve been around for a little bit. The guys had my back coming back in the locker room. That felt nice, and I just did my best to keep the game close. I always feel with this group that we can come back in games, and we did that in a big way tonight.”
Colorado outshot Vegas 11-5 in the second period, with Fleury saving 10 of them.
Joonas Donskoi scored on a one-timer from the slot at 16:28 to make it 2-0. It ended a shift that lasted 2:12 in the Vegas defensive zone.
“Fleury made some big saves, especially in the second period,” Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch said. “We wanted to help him out. He’s bailed us out all year long, and we knew he wanted that first goal back.”
Tuch scored 1:03 into the third period to make it 2-1, and Jonathan Marchessault tied it 2-2 at 4:07.
Stone scored at 50 seconds to end the second overtime game in the best-of-7 series. Colorado won Game 2 on Mikko Rantanen‘s goal at 2:07.
The Avalanche almost scored 10 seconds into overtime Tuesday, but Fleury saved shots by Gabriel Landeskog and J.T. Compher on the first shift.
Then, after Max Pacioretty blocked consecutive shots by Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves, Stone received an outlet pass from Pacioretty and scored on a breakaway to give Vegas the lead in the best-of-7 series.
“I think 20 seconds into overtime, the game should’ve been over,” Stone said. “We should’ve been going home, but ‘Flower’ made a huge save and kept us in it, and gave me that opportunity to end it.”
Fleury (88-67) tied Ed Belfour and Billy Smith for fourth in Stanley Cup Playoff wins, behind Patrick Roy (151), Martin Brodeur (113) and Grant Fuhr (93).
One more will put the Golden Knights into the third round for the third time in their four-season history. Game 6 is at Vegas on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“He’s bailed us out a number of occasions this year when we’ve made mistakes,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. “I had no doubt after that [goal] that he was going to be lights out and our group was going to be lights out for him.”