Vegas edges Chicago to take commanding lead in series

Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves in his first start of the Western Conference first round, leading the Vegas Golden Knights to a 2-1 win against Chicago in Game 3 on Saturday in Edmonton.

William Karlsson scored short-handed, and Patrick Brown scored in his first game of the series for the top-seeded Golden Knights, who can sweep the best-of-seven series with another win in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.

Olli Maatta scored, and Corey Crawford made 24 saves for 12th-seeded Chicago.

Reilly Smith was in the penalty box for slashing Calvin de Haan when Karlsson scored short-handed at 4:12 of the first period.

WATCH | Patrick Brown finds the net for Golden Knights:

The Vegas Golden Knights take a huge 3-0 series lead over Chicago. Patrick Brown’s first playoff goal with the team was the eventual game-winner. 1:03

Mark Stone stole the puck from Duncan Keith and centred a pass to Karlsson coming through centre ice with speed. Karlsson lifted a backhand from the inside edge of the right circle into the top left corner.

Chicago forward Patrick Kane hit the right post with the net wide open with just under two minutes left in the first period, the 13th time Chicago has hit a post or crossbar in this post-season.

The Golden Knights were without forwards Paul Stastny and Tomas Nosek, who were unfit to play. Brown drew into the lineup and scored off a rebound at 15:23 of the second period to stretch the lead to 2-0, his first career playoff goal.

Fleury gets the nod

Fleury, who sat in favour of Robin Lehner the first two games, was 14 minutes from the 16th playoff shutout of his career, which would have tied Curtis Joseph for third on the all-time NHL list. But Maatta scored at 6:21 of the third period to cut it to 2-1.

Maata brought the puck down the left side and squeezed a slap shot between Fleury’s body and right arm from the top of the circle.

Vegas did not have a shot on goal the first 10:08 of the third period, while Fleury made six saves in that span.

Knights forward Max Pacioretty returned after being unfit to play in Game 2.

Pacioretty, who led the Golden Knights in goals (32) and points (66) during the regular season, was a minus-1 in 15:16 of ice time.

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Johny Watshon

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