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June 22, 2018

Expansion Knights win battle of top NHL teams

Expansion Knights win battle of top NHL teams
'Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights signs autographs for fans during the Vegas Golden Knights Fan Fest at the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 14, 2018' - By: GETTY/AFP/File Ethan Miller

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights swept the two-game season series with a 4-1 win over the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

David Perron tallied a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights in the mid-season heavyweight matchup between the two best teams in the National Hockey League.

James Neal, Nate Schmidt and William Karlsson also scored for Vegas, who won the only other contest between the two teams in December. Tampa has the best record in the league and surprise newcomer Vegas have the best record in the Western Conference.

"Obviously when you beat a team like Tampa Bay it is a good confidence booster for us and hopefully the momentum carries over for the next couple of road games," said Vegas coach Gerard Gallant.

Tampa Bay (31-11-3) received a goal from Ondrej Palat and netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots in front of a crowd of 19,090 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Vasilevskiy, of Russia, has allowed 19 goals over his last four games.

Fleury made a number of clutch saves in the win. He thwarted all-star Steven Stamkos and frustrated Nikita Kucherov in close during the second period.

Neal opened the scoring for Vegas (30-11-3) just under a minute into the game with a nice deflection. American Schmidt made it 2-0 with 3:57 left in the period.

After Palat delivered a power-play goal midway through the middle frame, Perron put the Golden Knights up 3-1 late in the period.

Karlsson, of Sweden, got his 24th goal of the season early in the third.

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Flyers retired Eric Lindros' No. 88 jersey in a stirring ceremony that marked another accolade for the Hall of Fame centre.

Lindros won the league MVP trophy in 1995 and a gold medal with Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

He had plenty of personal success in his career finishing with 372 goals in 760 games but failed to win the Stanley Cup, making it to the championship final once where the Flyers were swept by Detroit.

The Flyers went on to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.

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