It was an emotional night when the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights took the ice for the very first time at T-Mobile Arena. Not only was it the first professional sporting event played in the city of Las Vegas, it was also the first big event to take place after the tragic mass-shooting at Mandalay Bay. The stage was set for an unforgettable night as the Knights geared up for their home opener.
The events taking place before puck-drop will likely be remembered more than the actual game (even though the Knights won, 5-2). The names of all 58 victims in the Mandalay Bay massacre were displayed on the ice as the Knights took to the arena for the first time. In honor of those victims, the crowd joined the players in a 58-second moment of silence. After the victory over the Arizona Coyotes, the players saluted the crowd as “Viva Las Vegas” blared out of the stadium speakers. It may have been just a game, but the moment brought the city to its feet and put a smile on its face.
The Golden Knights currently sit atop the Pacific Division in the Western Conference with six points. And the club has already made history, becoming the first expansion team in NHL history to win its first three games. The story of year so far has been veteran winger James Neal, who has 5 goals on the season – good for second in the league. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, a cast-off from the Pittsburgh Penguins, has flourished in net so far. His .963 save percentage and 1.32 goals against average are near the top of the NHL.
Vegas’ new team has been the talk of the league in this young season. Expansion teams are not predicted to compete among the league’s best right away, so expectations should be tampered at this point, while fans are obviously free to remain optimistic. The Philadelphia Flyers were the fastest expansion team to win a Stanley Cup – it was their seventh season in the NHL.
Upcoming Schedule: vs Detroit 10/13, vs Boston 10/15, vs Buffalo 10/17
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