Golden Knights Cover Avalanche on Pirri’s Game Winner

LAS VEGAS — Brandon Pirri scored his fourth goal of the season midway through the third period, sending the Vegas Golden Knights to a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.

Pirri, recalled from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves earlier in the day, blistered a shot from the point past goaltender Philipp Grubauer with 9:49 left.

With the seventh-best penalty kill in the league, Vegas staved off back-to-back power plays for Colorado in the final six minutes.

Paul Stastny celebrated his 33rd birthday with a goal for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves to improve to 21-10-4. He earned his 50th win overall with the Golden Knights.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury has exceeded expectations over his career. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

J.T. Compher scored for the Avalanche, and Grubauer (8-4-3) made 41 saves.

The Avalanche, third in the Central Division with 44 points, remained two back of second-place Nashville. Vegas moved into second place in the Pacific Division with 46 points, pending San Jose’s late game against Anaheim.

Colorado, which ranks third in the NHL in goals (130) and fifth in goals per game (3.42), was held to one or none for the sixth time this season. The Avalanche lead the league in third-period goals (54) but were shut out late by Fleury, who made 13 saves in the final frame.

Compher gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead when he camped out to the right of Fleury and tipped in Mikko Rantanen’s shot from the point for the team’s 37th power-play goal. The Avalanche are tied with Florida for the second-most power-play goals in the NHL.

Rantanen, meanwhile, has 60 points (16 goals, 44 assists), including at least one in 19 of his last 22 games.

Vegas tied it later in the first period when Stastny — drafted 44th overall by Colorado in 2005 — took the puck to the net and was denied by Grubauer before punching in his own rebound with a backhand.

Stastny, who played his first eight NHL seasons with the Avs and ranks ninth on their career scoring list with 458 points, has three goals for the Golden Knights — all in the last six games.

NOTES: Vegas forward Max Pacioretty was put back on injured reserve. … Golden Knights forward Ryan Carpenter played in his 100th career game. … Vegas improved to 8-0 with 40 or more shots on goal. … Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is the only NHL player to rank among the league’s top 10 in points (third with 57), goals (ninth with 22) and assists (fifth with 35). He has a point in 20 of his last 25 games.


Avalanche: Open a four-game homestand Saturday vs. Chicago.

Golden Knights: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.


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W.G. Ramirez, The Associated Press