Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

Vegas Golden Knights' William Carrier (28) tries to gather in the puck as teammate Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) ties up Carolina Hurricanes' Justin Williams (14) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) NCKD125
Vegas Golden Knights' William Carrier (28) tries to gather in the puck as teammate Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) ties up Carolina Hurricanes' Justin Williams (14) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) NCKD125
Published January 21 2018
Updated January 21 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. ó The Golden Knights are giving Vegas a great odds-beating story in their first year.

The expansion team has the whole league playing catchup.

James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault scored to help Vegas beat the Hurricanes 5-1 on Sunday and pass the Lightning for the best record in the NHL.

The expansion Golden Knights are 31-11-4, good for 66 points. Thatís one ahead of Tampa Bay (31-12-3), which had the night off.

Just donít expect the veteran-heavy Golden Knights to get caught up in their unexpected standing.

"Itís an interesting story, and itís still being written," said forward Colin Miller, who had a goal and two assists in the win.

The Golden Knights finished 2-1-1 on this road trip, including a 4-1 win Thursday at the Lightning.

"We are winning in different ways. Thatís a big thing for our confidence," said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who had 27 saves.

This trip to Raleigh went much better for Vegas coach Gerard Gallant than his last. In his previous visit, in November 2016, he was fired at the arena by the Panthers as their coach. While the team bus took away his players, Gallant was left to wait for a taxi.

"Iím happy to be where Iím at, with the team Iím with," Gallant said.

Itís tough to be upset from atop the NHL world. Not that Gallant is getting caught up in that just yet.

"Every guy in our room knows thereís a long part of the season left," he said. "We canít worry about looking at the standings."

Game highlights: Travis Konecny scored 27 seconds into overtime and the surging Flyers beat the host Capitals 2-1. The Flyers have won three in a row and seven of eight to move into a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. I donít know, weíre just keeping things simple and weíre just trusting our abilities," Konecny said. Washington has dropped three in a row. Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-best 29th goal.

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