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Looking back at the first half of the Golden Knights’ inaugural campaign

ICYMI, where in the world have you been? We got you covered, though.

Anaheim Ducks v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A LOT has happened through the first half of the Vegas Golden Knights’ 2017-18 season. From the Knights’ record-setting start to the Spinal Tap-esque goalie carousel to the Vadim Shipachyov saga, there has been no shortage of drama. But there also have been heroic efforts, moving tributes and plenty of exhilarating hockey. Even the introduction of the mascot was memorable. As the Knights find themselves in first place in the Western Conference with 61 points through 42 games, it’s clear that nothing about the first half of this season was ordinary. So in case you missed any of it or just want to reflect on it all as we enter the second half, here’s a timeline of highlights and events from the Knights’ season thus far.

October

Knights’ Record: 8-3-0
Leading Scorer: James Neal (3-7—10)

The opening month of the Knights’ season was marked by an improbable start after an unthinkable tragedy. “Vegas Strong” was adopted as the Knights’ mantra as the team became a symbol of Vegas’ resilience, jumping out to a record-setting 8-1-0 record and shattering all expectations. But that was just the beginning of a run that still has pundits shaking their heads in disbelief. Everyone has waited for this team to hit the inevitable rut and regress. While that’s still a possibility, one thing is for sure: Vegas is no longer being underestimated by anyone.

Oct. 3

Golden Knights claim goaltender Malcolm Subban off waivers from the Boston Bruins.

Golden Knights set 23-man roster, sending waiver-exempt Shipachyov, Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore to the Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

Golden Knights and National Hockey League donate $300,000 to victims of the Las Vegas tragedy.

Oct. 4

Golden Knights sign forward Brandon Pirri to a one-year contract.

Oct. 5

Golden Knights waive goaltender Calvin Pickard and name Subban as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup.

Oct. 6: The first game

Golden Knights trade Pickard to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Tobias Lindberg and a 2018 sixth-round pick.

We here at Knights On Ice record some bold predictions for the regular season, which have since been reexamined.

GAME #1: Vegas @ Dallas (2-1 VGK)

Vegas plays its first regular-season game.

Tyler Seguin scores the first goal against the Knights in franchise history at 17:01 of the second period.

James Neal scores the first goal in franchise history at 10:27 of the third period to tie the game at 1-1.

Golden Knights earn the first win in franchise history with a 2-1 victory in Dallas on two goals from Neal and 45 saves from Fleury as the team starts the season 1-0-0. Cody Eakin earns an assist on the game-winning goal against his former team. After being selected in the expansion draft and then traded to Dallas, defenseman Marc Methot finishes the game with one shot, two hits, five blocks, one takeaway and a minus-one rating. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Alexander Radulov
#3: James Neal

Oct. 8

GAME #2: Vegas @ Arizona (2-1 VGK, OT)

Nate Schmidt records the first goal by a defenseman in franchise history at 18:48 of the third period to force overtime.

The Knights defeat the Coyotes 2-1 as Neal records the first overtime goal in franchise history to give the Knights a 2-0-0 record to start the season. Neal scores three of the Knights’ first four goals in franchise history. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: James Neal
#2: Nate Schmidt
#3: Antti Raanta

Oct. 9: The Shipachyov saga officially sets sail

KHL insider Aivis Kalnins reports that Shipachyov is upset with the Knights organization and wishes to return to Russia.

General manager George McPhee, as well as Petr Svoboda, Shipachyov’s agent, deny the report.

Fleury is named the NHL’s second star of the week with a 0.98 goals-against average and .937 save percentage.

Oct. 10: Knights dominate in memorable emotional home opener

The Golden Knights organize an incredibly moving pre-game ceremony in which players are introduced with heroic first responders from the Vegas mass shooting. The stadium holds a 58-second moment of silence in honor of the 58 victims of the tragedy; the names of the victims are displayed on the ice. Vegas native Deryk Engelland caps off the meaningful ceremony by addressing the crowd at center ice with a heartfelt speech, saying “We are Vegas Strong.”

GAME #3: Arizona @ Vegas (5-2 VGK)

In an electric atmosphere inside T-Mobile Arena, Tomas Nosek scores the first regular-season goal at T-Mobile Arena to give the Knights a 1-0 lead just 2:31 into the game.

Knights follow up with three more tallies, all in the span of eight minutes and 11 seconds, to take a 4-0 lead at 10:42 of the first. The Knights win 5-2 to give the team a 3-0-0 record. Full recap.

Knights become the first expansion team in NHL history to go 3-0-0 through its first three games.

The City of Las Vegas is named the First Star of the game.

The world meets and reacts to the Knights’ mascot, Chance the gila monster.

Oct. 13: The first loss, down goes Fleury

Game #4: Detroit @ Vegas (6-3 DET)

The Knights fall 6-3 to the visiting Detroit Red Wings, suffering the first loss in franchise history after blowing a third-period lead and giving up four unanswered goals. Full recap.

Fleury takes a knee to the head from Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha at 8:36 of the second period; he stays down for a few minutes but does not exit the game. It is later learned that he suffered a concussion. He surrenders five goals after the collision in the Knights’ 6-3 loss.

Stars of the Game
#1: Henrik Zetterberg
#2: Gustav Nyquist
#3: Erik Haula

Oct. 14

Golden Knights recall Shipachyov, place Erik Haula on injured reserve.

Oct. 15: Impressive debuts

Knights put Fleury and Jonathan Marchessault on injured reserve, recall Tuch and goaltender Maxime Lagace.

Game #5: Boston @ Vegas (3-1 VGK)

Shipachyov, Tuch and Subban, as well as defensemen Brad Hunt and Jon Merrill, make their Golden Knights debuts. It is Shipachyov’s NHL debut as well.

Tuch and Shipachyov score their first career NHL goals.

Subban comes within 30 seconds of earning a shutout but makes 21 saves to earn his first career NHL win, a 3-1 victory against his former team. Colin Miller finishes the game with a plus-one rating, three shots, one hit and two giveaways against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Alex Tuch
#2: Malcolm Subban
#3: Vadim Shipachyov

Oct. 17

GAME #6: Buffalo @ Vegas (5-4 VGK, OT)

David Perron scores the overtime game-winner (his second goal of the night) as the Knights defeat the Sabres 5-4 in overtime after blowing a three-goal lead. William Carrier records three shots, three hits, one block and one takeaway in 8:46 against his former team. Subban makes 30 saves to earn his second career win and second victory in two games, giving the Knights a 5-1-0 record. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Reilly Smith
#2: Alex Tuch
#3: David Perron

Oct. 19

Knights recall goaltender Oscar Dansk, send Lagace down to the AHL.

Oct. 21: Let the goalie games begin

GAME #7: St. Louis @ Vegas (3-2 VGK, OT)

In his third consecutive start, Subban makes 37 saves on 38 shots in nearly 51 minutes of ice time, keeping the Knights in the game early even as Vegas is getting outshot 27-6 at one point in the second period.

Subban is injured late in the third period after stretching out his right leg to make a save.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Dansk replaces Subban, marking his first appearance at the NHL level.

Dansk gives up a goal to Alex Pietrangelo on the Blues’ first shot after Subban’s departure; the goal ties the game at 2-2 with just over five minutes remaining in the third period. Dansk stops all 10 of the other shots he faces, including this one in overtime.

William Karlsson lifts the Knights to a 3-2 overtime victory, giving Vegas a 6-1-0 record. Full recap.

Dansk earns his first career NHL win in his first career NHL appearance.

Perron registers five shots on goal but finishes with a minus-two rating against his former team.

Vegas becomes the first team in NHL history to win six of its first seven games in its inaugural season.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Malcolm Subban
#3: Alex Pietrangelo

Oct. 22

Subban is placed on IR and is expected to miss four weeks.

Oct. 23

Lagace is recalled from the AHL to serve as Dansk’s backup.

Oct. 24

Just 10 days after recalling him, the Knights reassign Shipachyov to the AHL after three games with the big club.

Vegas activates Marchessault from IR.

Engelland writes this heartfelt piece for the Players’ Tribune.

GAME #8: Chicago @ Vegas (4-2 VGK)

Dansk makes his first career NHL start. The fourth line of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Nosek and Carrier leads the Knights to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, giving Vegas a 7-1-0 record to start the season. Full recap. What we learned.

The Knights have a four-game winning streak.

Stars of the Game
#1: Oscar Dansk
#2: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
#3: Reilly Smith

Oct. 25: Ship gets real

One day after reassigning Shipachyov to the AHL, Vegas grants permission to Shipachyov’s representatives to explore a possible trade.

Oct. 26

Eric Engels of Sportsnet reports that Shipachyov will report to the AHL while his agent seeks a trade.

Oct. 27

Knights place Jason Garrison on waivers in order to activate Haula from IR. Vegas assigns Griffin Reinhart to the AHL for a conditioning stint.

GAME #9: Colorado @ Vegas (7-0 VGK)

Seven different players score a franchise record-setting seven goals in a 7-0 win against the visiting Colorado Avalanche. The Knights net four goals on six shots in the span of just under 10 minutes in the middle frame. Full recap. What we learned.

The Knights extend the team’s winning streak to five games with an 8-1-0 record through nine games.

Dansk earns his first career NHL shutout and the first shutout in franchise history with a 32-save performance.

Stars of the Game
#1: Oscar Dansk
#2: Oscar Lindberg
#3: Luca Sbisa

Oct. 28

A few hours before puck drop, Shipachyov reportedly decides to return to Vegas to be with his family, skipping the Chicago Wolves game.

Oct. 29

Golden Knights officially suspend Shipachyov for leaving the Wolves, as first reported by Sportsnet’s Eric Engels.

Knights place Reinhart on waivers.

Oct. 30: Mischief not managed

Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports that Shipachyov’s contract will be terminated and that he will return to the KHL.

The Knights recall Theodore from the AHL.

Dansk is named the NHL’s second star of the week with a 1.00 goals-against average and 2-0-0 record.

GAME #10: Vegas @ New York Islanders (6-3 NYI)

Karlsson scores the first short-handed goal in franchise history at 9:31 of the first in Brooklyn.

The goalie carousel keeps spinning as Dansk sustains an injury and leaves the game in the second period.

Lagace, goalie number four for Vegas, makes his first NHL appearance in relief of Dansk.

The Knights suffer the team’s second loss and first road loss in franchise history, falling to the Islanders by a final score of 6-3 in the first of six consecutive road games. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: John Tavares
#2: Josh Bailey
#3: Nikolay Kulemin

Oct. 31

On an emergency basis, the Knights recall goaltender Dylan Ferguson from the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL.

GAME #11: Vegas @ New York Rangers (6-4 NYR)

Theodore makes his Golden Knights debut and logs 16:06 of ice time, including 3:23 on the man advantage.

Oscar Lindberg scores a goal against his former team to tie the game at 1-1 at 5:22 of the first.

However, the Knights lose their second straight game, falling 6-4 to the Rangers after giving up four unanswered goals and managing just five shots in the third period. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Mika Zibanejad
#2: Pavel Buchnevich
#3: Reilly Smith

With the first losing streak in franchise history, the Knights finish the month with an 8-3-0 record.

Here are the top 10 plays from October, according to our own Danny Webster.

November

Knights’ Record: 7-5-1
Leading Scorers: Karlsson (10-5—15), Marchessault (5-10--15)

The Knights got goaltending from three different goalies in the month of November. The final four games of a six-game road trip threatened the Knights’ early-season momentum, but Vegas managed wins against Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Arizona. Karlsson and Marchessault emerged as offensive weapons for a Knights team that wins by committee. Karlsson earned at least a point in nine out of 13 games, putting together a five-game goal-scoring streak in which he scored seven goals and 10 points. Marchessault scored a goal and two assists in four separate games (including three straight) and had five multi-point efforts in the month. The Knights leapfrogged the Kings to take first place in the Pacific Division standings.

Nov. 2

GAME #12: Vegas @ Boston (2-1 BOS)

Vegas loses its third straight game, falling 2-1 to Boston in Lagace’s second start and third appearance. He makes 26 saves on 28 shots. Miller finishes the game with a minus-one rating, two penalty minutes, four shots, one hit, one block, one giveaway and one takeaway in 19:00 of ice time against his former team. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Sean Kuraly
#2: Tuukka Rask
#3: Torey Krug

Nov. 4

GAME #13: Vegas @ Ottawa (5-4 VGK)

Lagace earns his first career NHL win with 24 saves and a lot of help from Vegas’ special teams.

The Knights score three power-play goals in the first win of the six-game road trip, snapping a three-game losing streak to bring the Knights’ season record to 9-4-0. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Erik Haula
#2: David Perron
#3: Jonathan Marchessault

Nov. 6

GAME #14: Vegas @ Toronto (4-3 TOR, SO)

Despite a mediocre effort from the Knights, Vegas fights back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game at 6:16 of the third on a wrister from Engelland.

Vegas participates in the first shootout in franchise history, taking a 4-3 loss on Mitch Marner’s shootout tally. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Nazem Kadri
#2: Mitch Marner
#3: Deryk Engelland

Nov. 7

GAME #15: Vegas @ Montreal (3-2 MTL)

Vegas comes up short in the second half of a back-to-back, finishing the road trip with a 1-4-1 record and giving the team an overall record of 9-5-1, good for second place in the Pacific Division. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Brendan Gallagher
#2: Jordie Benn
#3: David Perron

Nov. 8

Home Team, the NowThis Sports series that will chronicle the launch of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise, debuts on Facebook Watch.

Nov. 9: So long, Ship

Shipachyov voluntarily retires from the NHL to return to Russia to play in the KHL, putting an end to the dramatic and tumultuous relationship between the 30-year-old forward and the Knights organization.

Nov. 10

GAME #16: Winnipeg @ Vegas (5-2 VGK)

The Knights return home after a long and difficult 1-4-1 road trip and outplay the Jets to the tune of a 5-2 victory.

Luca Sbisa scores his first of the season at 6:41 of the first period.

Vegas’ penalty kill keeps the Jets’ lethal power play at bay, forcing Winnipeg to go 1-for-6 on the night. Karlsson scores two goals to help the Knights to a 5-2 victory. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Reilly Smith
#3: Maxime Lagace

Nov. 11

Shipachyov signs a one-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.

Nov. 14: (A little bit of) Goalie No. 5

GAME #17: Vegas @ Edmonton (8-2 EDM)

The Oilers overpower the Knights with a three-goal first period in which they score short-handed, power-play and even-strength goals. It is one of the worst performances of the season and brings the Knights’ road record to 3-5-1.

Ferguson makes his first NHL appearance in relief of Lagace; he gives up one goal on two shots in 9:14 of ice time. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Connor McDavid
#2: Oscar Klefbom
#3: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Nov. 16

GAME #18: Vegas @ Vancouver (5-2 VGK)

Perron scores 3:22 into the first on a beautiful toe-drag move.

Thanks to a strong three-goal third period, the Knights take a 5-2 win in Vancouver. Perron, Haula, Marchessault and Karlsson each pick up two points in the win. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: Erik Haula
#3: David Perron

Nov. 17

Golden Knights activate Subban from IR, reassign Ferguson to his junior team.

Knights place Sbisa on injured reserve.

Nov. 19

GAME #19: Los Angeles @ Vegas (4-2 VGK)

The Knights take on the Los Angeles Kings, who sit three points ahead of Vegas in the Pacific Division standings.

Karlsson scores two goals in the first period, the first of which comes just fifty-five seconds into the game. His second of the period gives the Knights a 3-0 lead, ending the night of Jonathan Quick, who surrenders three goals on nine shots.

The Kings eventually pull within one goal but are unable to overcome the brilliant play of Lagace, who carries the Knights to a 4-2 win. This is the Knights’ seventh straight win at home. Brayden McNabb finishes the night with a plus-two rating, one shot, four hits and one takeaway against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Cody Eakin
#3: Maxime Lagace

Nov. 22

GAME #20: Vegas @ Anaheim (4-2 VGK)

Despite outshooting the Ducks 32-12 in the first two periods, it takes Vegas 39 minutes to solve goaltender John Gibson. Perron makes a beautiful cross-ice pass to Marchessault, who buries a one-timer on the man advantage.

Miller, Neal and Karlsson score in the third in a dominant performance by the Knights, who win 4-2. The win puts Vegas in first place in the division with 27 points through 20 games. Theodore tallies a power-play assist, two shots and three blocks and finishes with a plus-one against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Erik Haula
#2: John Gibson
#3: Jonathan Marchessault

Nov. 24

GAME #21: San Jose @ Vegas (5-4 VGK, OT)

Theodore scores his first goal of the season just 2:33 into the first period.

Neal gives the Knights 2-0 lead with his 250th career goal. San Jose’s Tomas Hertl scores with under three minutes in the frame to cut the lead in half. But Karlsson scores 10 seconds into the second on the power play, which chases Martin Jones from the game. However, Karlsson scores again at the 6:55 mark, his 12th of the year, giving Vegas a healthy 4-1 lead. But that lead vanishes as the Sharks net three unanswered goals, including the first of the year for Brent Burns.

Subban replaces Lagace for the third period and gives up a goal; however, it gets disallowed for goalie interference, keeping the game tied at 4-4. Sixty minutes is not enough, which is fine with Marchessault, who wins it in overtime. The Knights win their eighth straight game on home ice. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Shea Theodore
#3: Jonathan Marchessault

Nov. 25

GAME #22: Vegas @ Arizona (4-2 VGK)

Vegas scores three goals in under two minutes in the second period. Arizona pulls within one but the Knights come away with a 4-2 win thanks to stellar goaltending by Subban and a three-point game by Marchessault (his third straight three-point game). Subban earns his fourth win of the year after missing more than a month of action. Karlsson passes Neal for the team lead in goals with 13. Vegas becomes the first team in NHL history to put together two five-game winning streaks in its inaugural season. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: Brendan Perlini
#3: Malcolm Subban

Nov. 27

Marchessault is named the NHL’s first star of the week after scoring a goal and two assists in three consecutive games.

Nov. 28

GAME #23: Dallas @ Vegas (3-0 DAL)

Both Subban and Dallas’ Ben Bishop put on a goaltender clinic through 32 minutes of action. But Radek Faksa scores a natural hat trick in the second period, with all three goals coming in the span of 6:46. The second and third goals are scored just eight seconds apart and both come in the final 30 seconds of the frame. Dallas hands Vegas its first shutout loss. Stefan Matteau makes his Knights debut. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Radek Faksa
#2: Ben Bishop
#3: Alex Tuch

Nov. 29

Vegas signs McNabb to four-year, $10 million extension.

Nov. 30

Knights place Perron, Carrier on IR, activate Sbisa.

GAME #24: Vegas @ Minnesota (4-2 MIN)

Knights blow a 2-1 lead, go 0-for-3 on the man advantage and fail to defend well in a 4-2 loss to the Wild. Tuch grabs two shots, one block and a takeaway in 18:05 while Haula registers just one giveaway in 16:00 against their former team. Knights lose back-to-back games to close out the month with a 7-5-1 record. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Devan Dubnyk
#2: Eric Staal
#3: Matt Dumba

December

Knights’ Record: 11-1-1
Leading Scorers: Erik Haula (6-6—12), Jonathan Marchessault (4-8—12)

D is for December. D is for domination.

The Knights were dominant in the month of December, going 11-1-1, picking up 23 of a possible 26 points and finishing 2017 with seven straight wins. It was also a breakout month for Haula, who scored six goals and 12 points in 13 games. He earned at least a point in 10 out of 13 games and put together a seven-game point streak during which he collected five goals and 10 points. It was the second straight month in which Marchessault tied for the team lead in scoring, though he did most of the scoring at the tail end of the month. In fact, he closed out 2017 on a six-game point streak, recording four goals and 10 points.

Dec. 1

GAME #25: Vegas @ Winnipeg (7-4 WPG)

The Knights give up five goals in the third period and three power-play goals in an ugly road loss, extending Vegas’ losing streak to three games. Eleven different Knights earn a point in the contest. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Patrik Laine
#2: Nikolaj Ehlers
#3: Matt Hendricks

Dec. 3

GAME #26: Arizona @ Vegas (3-2 VGK, OT)

Tuch gets things started with a beautiful goal 2:42 into the second period.

The Knights improve to 4-0-0 against Arizona with an overtime game-winner from Reilly Smith off a great play by Marchessault (his second point of the night). Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Reilly Smith
#2: Alex Tuch
#3: Scott Wedgewood

Dec. 5

GAME #27: Anaheim @ Vegas (4-3 VGK, SO)

Tuch scores the first shootout goal in franchise history. The Knights win their first shootout in franchise history. Haula records three points, including the game-tying goal at 15:38 of the third. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Erik Haula
#2: James Neal
#3: Alex Tuch

Dec. 6

Team Canada invites Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki to World Juniors selection camp.

Fleury returns to practice almost two months after sustaining a concussion Oct. 13.

Dec. 8: Battle of the Subban’s

Knights activate Perron from IR.

GAME #28: Vegas @ Nashville (4-3 VGK, SO)

Subban takes on older brother P.K. as the Knights travel to Nashville. Neal scores a goal against his former team. Haula ties the game with under 40 seconds in regulation (recording a game-tying third-period goal for the second straight game), and the Knights end up in their second shootout in as many games. Malcolm stops every Nashville shooter, and Smith nets the game-winner in round six of the shootout. Malcolm finishes with a career-high 41 saves to give the Knights their third straight win.

Alexei Emelin, whom the Knights selected in the expansion draft and then traded to the Predators, finishes the game with a plus-two rating, one shot, four hits and two blocks in 17:51. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Viktor Arvidsson
#2: Nick Bonino
#3: Reilly Smith

Dec. 9

GAME #29: Vegas @ Dallas (5-3 VGK)

Knights score three middle-third goals and win their fourth consecutive game. After 14 appearances, Lagace makes 36 saves in what would be his final start of 2017. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: David Perron
#2: Reilly Smith
#3: Jason Spezza

Dec. 10: Return of the Flower

Vegas activates Fleury, reassigns Lagace to AHL.

Dec. 12

GAME #30: Carolina @ Vegas (3-2 CAR, SO)

Fleury makes his long-awaited return after missing two months of action. But this bizarre play gets the Hurricanes on the board late in the first.

Continuing with the bizarre, Engelland blasts this one home to tie the game 1:07 into the second. Trevor van Riemsdyk, whom the Knights selected from Chicago and proceeded to trade to Carolina, gets his revenge on this beauty. But Smith follows suit later in the frame with this dandy on a beautiful stretch pass by Miller. The Knights head to their third shootout in four games. Despite a stellar performance by Fleury, Carolina hands the Knights their first loss in 11 days. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Phillip Di Giuseppe
#2: Marc-Andre Fleury
#3: Reilly Smith

Dec. 13

Knights claim Ryan Carpenter off waivers from San Jose.

Dec. 14: Fleury vs. Murray

GAME #31: Pittsburgh @ Vegas (2-1 VGK)

At the beginning of the season, the two games on the Vegas schedule that were circled first were the two against Pittsburgh. Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion over a 13-year career with the Penguins, was overtaken on the depth chart by Matt Murray, but this would be his chance to make a statement. And he did just that.

Neal scores against his former team, giving him goals against all three of his former teams.

After giving up the tying goal at 12:04 of the first, Fleury shuts down his former teammates for the rest of the game, making several stunning saves, like this one:

And this one:

Merrill surprises everyone at T-Mobile Arena with this shot, which proves to be the game-winner.

Fleury makes 24 saves as he bests Murray and his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Matt Murray
#3: James Neal

Dec. 17: Revenge is sweet

GAME #32: Florida @ Vegas (5-2 VGK)

In the second of back-to-back revenge games, all eyes are on former Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant and former Panthers forwards Marchessault and Smith. All three were, in effect, dismissed by the Panthers.

Florida scores twice in the first 5:13 of the game, but there is no panic on the Vegas bench. Slowly but surely, the Knights climb back into the game, ultimately scoring five unanswered goals in an impressive win. Marchessault scores a goal and two assists and finishes with a plus-four rating, six shots and a block, while Smith registers two assists, a plus-two and two shots.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: Colin Miller
#3: Erik Haula

Dec. 18

Knights place Sbisa on IR for the second time in a month, recall Tomas Hyka.

Dec. 19: Tampa time

GAME #33: Tampa Bay @ Vegas (4-3 VGK)

The league-best Tampa Bay Lightning come to town in the most exciting Knights game of the season. In an electric playoff-like atmosphere, it’s a battle of the power play, as the first five goals come on the man advantage. Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov give the Bolts a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Knights strike back with two power-play tallies in the second, both of which are assisted by Theodore and Perron. The Knights take a 3-2 lead in the third on a goal by Haula (from Theodore, Perron), but Victor Hedman ties it at 16:08 on the only even-strength goal of the game. This game comes down to the wire, but the Knights get a late power play and Theodore grabs his fourth point of the game in a wild buzzer-beater finish as he scores with under three seconds left in the third. The Knights win 4-3, defeat the best team in the NHL and move into first place in the Pacific. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Shea Theodore
#2: Erik Haula
#3: David Perron

Dec. 20

Perron writes about his experiences leading up to the expansion draft and early on in the season in this piece for the Players’ Tribune.

Dec. 23: Revenge part three

GAME #34: Washington @ Vegas (3-0 VGK)

McPhee faces his former team for the first time since the Capitals decided not to renew his contract back in 2014. Three first-period goals and solid play from Fleury in net give the Knights their fourth straight win. Schmidt finishes with a plus-one, two hits, two blocks and a takeaway in 20:29 against his former team; he is still beloved by Caps fans, though. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Nate Schmidt
#3: Alex Tuch

Dec. 27

GAME #35: Vegas @ Anaheim (4-1 VGK)

Vegas finds itself down 1-0 early, but Theodore, whom the Ducks essentially gave away in order to protect other players in the expansion draft, is having none of it. He ties the game late in the first on this snipe.

The Knights score three more in the remaining 40 minutes and take a 4-1 win, extending their winning streak to five games and point streak to 10 games. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Rickard Rakell
#3: Brayden McNabb

Dec. 28

GAME #36: Vegas @ Los Angeles (3-2 VGK, OT)

Perron scores a game-winning goal of redemption in overtime after taking a costly penalty late in the third. Vegas wins its sixth straight game, setting yet another NHL record for the longest winning streak by an expansion team in its inaugural season. Notably, Brendan Leipsic records his first goal as a Golden Knight. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: Jonathan Quick
#3: Nate Schmidt

Dec. 31: Hats off to 2017

GAME #37: Toronto @ Vegas (6-3 VGK)

Auston Matthews impresses in a two-goal game as he hits the 100-point mark in his career, but Karlsson manages to outshine him with his first career NHL hat trick and the first in Knights history. His first comes 4:17 into the first to give the Knights a 2-0 lead, his second in the middle frame sandwiched between two Maple Leafs goals and the third at 18:24 of the third to seal the win. He becomes the first player in franchise history to reach 20 goals with his hard-fought empty-net finish, while Marchessault extends his point streak to six games. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Jonathan Marchessault
#3: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Vegas extends its winning streak to seven games as it goes 10-0-1 to close out 2017.

January 1-15

Knights’ Record: 3-1-1
Leading Scorer: Reilly Smith (3-3--6)

January is a work in progress, as the Knights have played just five games so far in 2018. That being said, the team entered its five-day bye week having won back-to-back games and three out of four. Smith has recorded points in four out of five games, including points in each of his last three games. While it has been the Marchessault and Karlsson show for most of the year, Smith is really showing off his skillset and proving his significance on the top line.

Jan. 1

Karlsson is named the NHL’s second star of the week after recording his first career hat trick and a total of four goals and nine points in three games.

Jan. 2

GAME #38: Nashville @ Vegas (3-0 VGK)

Vegas blanks a tough Nashville team as Fleury earns his second shutout in three games. He stops 29 shots to improve to 5-0-1 since returning from a concussion. Vegas gets goals from Smith, Theodore and Marchessault, who pots his 15th of the year. “Former” Golden Knights defenseman Emelin registers one hit, two blocks and a takeaway in 18:18. The Knights extend their winning streak to eight games. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Reilly Smith
#3: Shea Theodore

Jan. 3: Marchy for six

Marchessault signs six-year, $30 million extension.

Jan. 4

GAME #39: Vegas @ St. Louis (2-1 STL)

Haula nets his 15th goal of the year to tie the game at 1-1, but Marchessault later fans on a wide-open net. Fleury is excellent, but so is St. Louis netminder Carter Hutton. The Blues score on a fluky play in which Fleury thinks the puck is underneath him. The loss ends the Knights’ eight-game winning streak and is Vegas’ first regulation loss since Dec. 1. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Carter Hutton
#2: Alexander Steen
#3: Marc-Andre Fleury

A #VegasBorn baby is born.

Jan. 5

Knights activate Sbisa, place Merill on IR with an “undisclosed” injury.

GAME #40: Vegas @ Chicago (5-4 VGK)

The Knights blow a 3-1 lead in one their sloppiest efforts of the season. Fortunately, Smith creates a breakaway for himself out of thin air and buries the game-winner at 13:53 of the third to get the Knights back in the win column. Carpenter makes his Knights debut, picking up a minus-one, two shots, one hit, one block and one takeaway in 12:33 of ice time. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Reilly Smith
#2: Vinnie Hinostroza
#3: Jonathan Toews

Jan. 7

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports that the Knights may “soon” enter contract negotiations with Neal.

GAME #41: New York Rangers @ Vegas (2-1 VGK)

Fleury makes 28 saves on 29 shots to hold off the Rangers in a 2-1 win. The Knights get goals from Neal (18) and Karlsson (22) and enter the bye week with two straight wins. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Marc-Andre Fleury
#3: James Neal

Jan. 10

Neal and Fleury are selected to represent the Golden Knights at the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game. Fleury gets the honor having played just 12 games this season. But were Marchessault and Karlsson snubbed?

Sbisa is placed on injured reserve for the third time this season after suffering a torn ligament in his left hand. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Jan. 13: Welcome back: bye to the bye

GAME #42: Edmonton @ Vegas (3-2 EDM, OT)

Vegas earns a point in its first game back after the bye week. Despite several more instances of “the usual magic” from the top line, including a gorgeous goal by Smith, sloppy play and rust keep this one out of reach. Edmonton defeats the Knights for the second time this season, becoming the first team in NHL history to beat the Knights twice. The Knights’ home record “drops” to 18-2-2, but thanks to a Winnipeg loss, Vegas remains in first place in the Western Conference. Connor McDavid tallies two assists to reach the 200-point mark in his career on his 21st birthday. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Reilly Smith
#2: Connor McDavid
#3: Marc-Andre Fleury

Jan. 15

Knights sign Engelland to one-year, $1.5 million extension.


It’s difficult to summarize many of these games with a few statistics here and a few highlights there. The truth is, Vegas wins games by committee. This team is successful because everyone on the roster works hard every shift, every game. A lot of the intangibles get lost in the shuffle, but it’s safe to say that every member of this team has made a difference this season. The hockey world has been stunned by Vegas’ play through the first half of its inaugural campaign, but from day one, everyone on this roster bought in to Gallant’s system and the mindset of a team of “misfits” trying to prove themselves night after night. This team has skill, heart and grit, and it has taken every member of the team to get to where the Knights currently sit at 29-10-3. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning have a better record, and Vegas has two games in hand. While there is still so much hockey to be played, and anything can happen, it has been one fun ride thus far. We can’t wait for part two.