LAS VEGAS — Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves for his 11th career playoff shutout, Shea Theodore scored in the first period and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Wednesday night to win the franchise’s first playoff game.
The expansion club will try to take a 2-0 lead in its first-round playoff series Friday night.
Fleury got his first playoff shutout since last May, when his Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 1-0 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Kings entered with a combined 928 games of playoff experience, but Vegas came out looking like a seasoned bunch ready for the post-season. Just like the Golden Knight mascot who slayed a bumbling king at centre ice during a pregame show, Vegas was physical from the start. William Carrier led the team with 10 hits, and Vegas’ aggressive forechecking kept Los Angeles off its game throughout.
Theodore got on the board 3:23 into the first. Tomas Nosek came from behind the goal to fire a pass to Theodore, and he blasted a wrist shot through traffic for the Golden Knights’ first playoff goal.
The Kings blew a chance to tie it in the second period, when defenceman Drew Doughty‘s rebound found Dustin Brown, who was staring into an empty net two feet away. He lifted his shot over the goal.
Los Angeles, which allowed a league-low 202 goals and had the league’s best penalty-killing unit, stopped the Golden Knights on all three of their power plays. Vegas ranked second in the NHL by converting 29 of 102 power plays since Jan. 21.
The Kings were also 0 for 3 with a man advantage.
NOTES: The Golden Knights were to 34-5-2 in the regular season when scoring first, second in the NHL. … NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance for the first-ever playoff game in Las Vegas. … Los Angeles has won 10 of the last 12 playoff series it has played, but it has lost 21 of the last 29 series in which it’s lost Game 1. … The Golden Knights wore Humboldt Broncos stickers on their helmets in honour of the junior hockey players who were killed when their bus crashed on a Saskatchewan highway.