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Memorable Night For Fleury, IceHogs Light ‘Em Up, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

We knew it was going to be a tough game no matter what for the Blackhawks against the Golden Knights, but adding the extra pressure of having it be Marc-André Fleury’s return to Vegas to face his former team made it a whirlwind night for Chicago. Luckily, with goals coming from unexpected places and a shutdown defensive effort, the Blackhawks snapped a six-game losing streak and topped the Golden Knights behind Fleury’s 30-save performance.

•   Familiar faces coming together before the game as former teammates in Vegas Marc-André Fleury and Robin Lehner had a chat during warmups.

•   Wonder what the former Blackhawks goaltender and former Golden Knights goaltender had to talk about? Possibly the outpouring of love Fleury was receiving in his return to Vegas.

•   Prior to the game, the Golden Knights had a welcome back video for Fleury, bringing the 2021 Vezina Winner to tears.

•   Fleury has been renowned in his career as an ideal teammate and great ambassador to whichever community he was playing for. He’s only been with the Blackhawks for nearly half a season, but already he’s loved in Chicago. He is still loved in Pittsburgh and last night was evident he was still loved in Vegas.

•   The Golden Knights, seemingly using the tribute video to get Fleury off his game early, got out to a 1-0 lead in the first period. But in the second period, the Blackhawks evened the score with a goal from Jujhar Khaira.

•   Later in the period, it was Riley Stillman getting a fortunate bounce and giving the Blackhawks the 2-1 lead.

•   Khaira’s third goal of the season and Stillman’s first of the year we enough to give the Blackhawks the lead heading into the third period, where they held a 6-1-1 record heading into last night’s third period.

•   From there, the defensive effort from Chicago shut down the Golden Knights and Fleury was able to close the door on his former team.

•   It was Fleury’s 67th career win at T-Mobile Arena.

•   It also made Fleury the only goaltender to have beaten every current NHL team.

•   I’d say that is deserving of the Blackhawks belt.

•   Chicago snaps a six-game losing streak and will complete their current three-game road trip on Tuesday night when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets, where they’ll see former defenseman Adam Boqvist for the first time since trading him as part of the Seth Jones deal. Boqvist is tied for fifth in the NHL with seven goals this season, while the Blackhawks have combined for 11 goals between the 11 defensemen who have skated for Chicago this season (six goal-scorers).

•   History in the Blackhawks broadcast booth last night as Jason Ross Jr. became the first Black play-by-play broadcaster in franchise history.

•   And he got to call a win, in Vegas. Not a bad night.

•   The IceHogs were also in action last night, following up their 8-0 win over the Chicago Wolves on Friday night. Carrying over their offensive output from Friday, Brandon Pirri got the IceHogs on the board just 37 seconds into the game against the Admirals.

•   Prior to Friday night, Brandon Pirri was a free agent who last played a competitive game in May. After last night, he has four points (not five as the tweet says, scoring change) in just two games with Rockford. He completed a hat-trick last night to come closer to becoming the clubs all-time leader in goals. He’s 12 away.

•   Not to be overshadowed following his four-point night on Friday night, rookie Lukas Reichel tallied a goal and an assist in Milwaukee to extend his team-lead in points to 20 in 20 games for the IceHogs this season.

•   Reichel’s 20 points as a rookie ranks him sixth in the AHL among active rookies, and his 11 goals are tied for third among rookies. You can find the full highlights from last night’s 6-2 win over Milwaukee below, including a 33-save win for Collin Delia.

•   After getting pulled after allowing three goals in one period for the Blackhawks on January 1, Delia has back-to-back wins for the IceHogs this weekend, making 63-of-65 saves. He is 3-1-0 over his last four starts for Rockford with a .966 save-percentage and a shutout. He’s 6-4-2 this season, with a .920 save-percentage and a 2.51 GAA.

•   Other AHL news yesterday, the San Jose Sharks are terminating Evander Kane’s contract for “violating AHL COVID protocols.”

•   Kane was previously suspended in the NHL for providing a fake vaccination card and was playing with the San Jose Barracuda. He had two goals and eight points in five AHL games.

•   One year ago today, Corey Crawford retired.

•   It still feels weird how his time in the NHL ended.

•   In the NHL last night, the Washington Capitals scored on themselves…

•   It came in the same game where Capitals goaltender Zach Fucale set the NHL record for longest shutout streak to begin an NHL career.

•   The goal ended up costing the Capitals in the end as they blew their 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 in a shootout.

•   Speaking of blown leads, the Toronto Maple Leafs were up…you guessed it…4-1 on the Colorado Avalanche last night when Cale Makar (who else) sparked the comeback effort.

•   But it wasn’t for a lack of effort as Jack Campbell made a save of the year candidate play!

•   Unfortunately, the effort was wasted as the Avalanche came back to force overtime and the Maple Leafs lost 5-4 in the extra frame.

•   The loss will not cost anyone their jobs. But today, the Bears are likely playing their final game under Matt Nagy, win or lose.

•   That will do it for today, hope you all enjoy your Sunday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.