Historic Golden Knights face Devils focusing on playoff seeding
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LAS VEGAS -- The milestones just keep on coming for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
The Pacific Division leaders return home to host the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night at T-Mobile after an impressive 4-1 road trip on the east coast that was capped by a 3-2 victory at Philadelphia on Monday night.
That win gave the Golden Knights (45-19-5) 45 points on the road, breaking the NHL record for an expansion team (44) set by the Florida Panthers in 1993-94 with five more road dates still left on the schedule.
And it was also the 400th career victory for goalie Marc-Andre Fleury who did it in 728 games, the second-fastest in NHL history by just one game behind Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers who did it in 727 games.
"To get his 400th win, that's a huge accomplishment," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "Hopefully we're around for 500."
"It's pretty cool," Fleury said. "It's something I've heard a little bit more about in the last few days here and to finally achieve it, especially against the Flyers ... we always had good games against them and I'm really happy it's finally over with."
More milestones could be reached for Fleury during a homestand that also includes games with Minnesota, Calgary and Vancouver. He needs just one more win to catch Chris Osgood (401) for 12th place on the NHL all-time wins list and three to tie Grant Fuhr (403) for 11th place.
Vegas, which is 24-7-2 at home, has a comfortable 12-point lead over San Jose in the Pacific Division and is playing for home ice advantage down the stretch. They'll be facing a New Jersey squad that enters Wednesday night's contest with a three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and is in a battle for its playoff lives.
The Devils (35-26-8, 75 points) lost to the Golden Knights, 3-2, at the Prudential Center on March 4 in the only previous meeting between the two teams. It's the second game of a 14-day, six-game road trip for New Jersey which opened the trip with a 3-2 shootout victory at Western Conference leading Nashville on Saturday, snapping the Predators' 10-game win streak which tied for the longest in the NHL this season.
The Devils returned to New Jersey for a couple of days to practice before flying to Las Vegas on Tuesday. Center Pavel Zacha (upper-body injury) didn't make the trip but could rejoin the squad later on the trip which also includes stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Pittsburgh. However, center Travis Zajac (upper-body injury), who has 10 goals and 10 assists this season, could return to face the Golden Knights.
"I feel better than expected," Zajac, who was hit on his right arm and shoulder during an open-ice hit by Winnipeg center Andrew Copp last Thursday, told NJ.com after practice on Tuesday. "So that was good."
Updated March 14, 2018