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

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Vegas is fresh off a historic regular season and a first-round sweep of the Kings; take a look back at how the Knights got here as they gear up for round two of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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

The second act of Vegas’ regular season and the first round of the playoffs have come to a close as the Knights set seemingly every record in the books en route to a playoff berth, Pacific Division title and first-round sweep in their inaugural campaign. Most of what took place this year defied all odds and exceeded all expectations. It’s possible the Knights serve this in the locker room, which might explain all the improbable accomplishments achieved on both an individual and a team level. But nothing has phased this team, a team built on such a strong identity that it has been able to overcome any and all obstacles thrown its way with grace, precision and skill. From day one, the Golden Knights have proven that they are capable of competing against the best the league has to offer. Amassing 51 wins in its first regular season and following that up with a first-round sweep will allow Vegas to continue to do just that as the Knights extend their playoff journey in round two against San Jose. So in case you missed any of what got the Knights to this point or just want to remind yourself of it all as we await round two of the second season, here’s a timeline of highlights and events from the second half of Vegas’ inaugural campaign.

ICYMI, check out our overview of the first half of the regular season here.

January 16-31

Knights’ Record: 4-2-1
Leading Scorers: Erik Haula (3-5—8), David Perron (3-5—8)

January was a bit choppy with the bye week and All-Star break thrown in the mix, though the Knights came out of it with a respectable 7-3-2 record. Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron maintained a point-per-game pace, grabbing 12 points in 12 contests, while William Karlsson and Erik Haula picked up 11 and 10 points, respectively. Marc-Andre Fleury went 6-3-1 in 10 starts, leading all goalies who played in at least five games with a .947 save percentage and 1.61 goals-against average. Here’s what happened in the second half of the opening month of 2018, which saw the Knights sit atop the league standings for the first time.

Jan. 16

Golden Knights sign defenseman Jon Merrill to two-year, $2.75 million contract extension.

GAME #43: Vegas @ Nashville (1-0 NSH)

Nashville netminder Juuse Saros shuts down the Golden Knights with an impressive 43-save shutout to put the Knights on a two-game losing skid. Fleury is excellent, stopping 26 of 27 pucks, but Vegas is unable to solve Saros. Neal comes away with a minus-one rating, two penalty minutes, four shots and one hit in 22:18 of ice time against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Juuse Saros
#2: Kevin Fiala
#3: P.K. Subban

Jan. 18

GAME #44: Vegas @ Tampa Bay (4-1 VGK)

Fleury holds the opponent to one goal for the second game in a row as the Knights hand the league-best Lightning a 4-1 loss. Deryk Engelland pots the 100th point of his career. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: David Perron
#3: James Neal

Jan. 19

GAME #45: Vegas @ Florida (4-3 FLA, OT)

A seesaw contest sees the Panthers jump ahead and the Knights tie it up three times. James Neal scores a dandy, his 20th of the season, at 17:51 of the third to force overtime.

But Florida has its way on its fourth rebound goal of the night just forty seconds into extra time. Former Panthers Reilly Smith and Marchessault combine for just one assist in their first trip back to Sunrise. Smith finishes the contest with a minus-one rating, two shots and one block in 18:10 of ice time, while Marchessault tallies an assist, four shots and one hit in 17:39. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Aaron Ekblad
#2: Aleksander Barkov
#3: James Neal

Jan. 21: Tops in the league

GAME #46: Vegas @ Carolina (5-1 VGK)

The Knights chase Hurricanes netminder Scott Darling after scoring three goals on eight shots in the first. Though Cam Ward, who replaces Darling, stops 23 of 25 shots the rest of the way, the early damage vaults Vegas to a 5-1 win that puts them in the lead in the President’s Trophy race as the top team in the NHL. For the third game in a row, Fleury holds the other team to just one goal. Colin Miller picks up three points in his most productive game of the season. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Colin Miller
#2: James Neal
#3: Marc-Andre Fleury

Jan. 23: How Swede it is

GAME #47: Columbus @ Vegas (6-3 VGK)

Just a little over eight minutes into the game, Karlsson exacts sweet revenge on the team that essentially gave him away for nothing in the expansion draft as he gets the Knights on the board with his 26th goal of the season. Though Vegas gives up the next two, the Knights score the next four, including Brad Hunt’s first of the season, and ultimately come away with a 6-3 win. Karlsson puts away one of the more memorable goals of the season on an alley-oop feed from Shea Theodore that sends him in alone on Sergei Bobrovsky.

Wild Bill finishes the game with two goals, a plus-three rating, three shots and two hits in nearly 18 minutes of ice time against his former team. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: James Neal
#3: Shea Theodore

Jan. 25

GAME #48: NY Islanders @ Vegas (2-1 NYI)

The Islanders hand Vegas its first regulation home loss since November as Jaroslav Halak stops 38 of 39 shots in the final game before the All-Star break. Vegas outshoots the Islanders 39-25, but turnovers and poor decisions lead to costly mistakes. Despite a late effort to tie things up, Halak stands pat and steals this one for the Isles. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jaroslav Halak
#2: Erik Haula
#3: Mathew Barzal

Jan. 27: All-Star Game skills competition

Fleury wins the first-ever Save Streak challenge with 14 consecutive saves on shots taken by Atlantic Division All-Stars. Interestingly, and in classic Flower fashion, Fleury requests “Let It Go” from Frozen as his song choice for his turn in the competition.

Neal finishes third in the Accuracy Shooting challenge.

Jan. 28: All-Star Game

Neal scores two goals and Fleury stops 7 of 8 shots as the Pacific Division defeats the Atlantic Division 5-2 to win the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

Jan. 29

Knights recall defenseman Jason Garrison from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

Jan. 30

GAME #49: Vegas @ Calgary (4-2 VGK)

After trailing 2-1 with under two minutes left in the game, Vegas mounts a miraculous comeback with two quick strikes in the span of 10 seconds. Perron eventually ices the game with an empty-netter to give the Knights three goals in the span of just 53 seconds. It is a stunning victory and one of the most thrilling games of the season.

Earning win No. 33 on the year, the Knights tie the NHL record for most wins by a team in its inaugural season set by the 1993-94 Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Engelland finishes the game with a plus-one rating, two shots, one hit and five blocks in 21:30 of ice time against his former team. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: Sam Bennett
#3: William Karlsson

February

Knights’ Record: 8-5-1
Leading Scorer: Reilly Smith (8-12—20)

It wasn’t until February that Smith fully established himself as an elite member of the Golden Knights’ offense, scoring eight goals and 20 points in 14 games as the NHL’s third star of the month. In a month defined by the Knights’ actions at the trade deadline, which most notably included the acquisitions of Ryan Reaves and Tomas Tatar, Vegas had its ups and downs. For the first time all season, Vegas’ identity seemed to be in question with multiple injuries as well as the introduction of Reaves and his brand of hockey to the lineup. At the same time, however, the emergence of Ryan Carpenter brought an unexpected and much-needed burst of secondary offense.

Feb. 1: Keep the records comin’

GAME #50: Vegas @ Winnipeg (3-2 VGK, OT)

Smith sets the tone for the month to come with a phenomenal all-around play that culminates in a short-handed goal 12:10 into the second period.

After Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor ties the game at 2-2 late in the third, forcing extra time, a wild overtime ensues, fraught with diving blocks, mad scrambles and, as we’ve grown accustomed to, a pretty Perron snipe to finish things off.

With a 3-2 overtime win, Vegas sets the record for most wins by an expansion team in its inaugural season. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Connor Hellebuyck
#3: David Perron

Feb. 2

GAME #51: Vegas @ Minnesota (5-2 MIN)

In a demoralizing effort, Vegas goes down 3-0 and eventually loses 5-2 while getting completely outplayed in Minnesota. On the bright side, Haula scores against his former team, potting his 20th of the season, but that’s about as much of a silver lining as this game warrants. Haula records a goal and an assist as well as a minus-three rating, one shot and one hit in 15:52 of ice time. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonas Brodin
#2: Eric Staal
#3: Charlie Coyle

Feb. 4

GAME #52: Vegas @ Washington (4-3 VGK)

The Knights tie the game three times after Washington gets on the board first in each period, with Smith responsible for two of them. Eventually, Alex Tuch gives Vegas a 4-3 lead in the third, which stands as the game-winner in a back-and-forth contest. Carpenter nets his first goal as a Golden Knight.

Nate Schmidt tallies an assist, one shot and three blocks in 24:54 of ice time in his return to Washington. Fleury passes Dominik Hasek for 13th place on the all-time wins list. Full recap.

Photo courtesy of NBCSports Washington

Stars of the Game
#1: Reilly Smith
#2: Alex Tuch
#3: Matt Niskanen

Feb. 5

Smith is named the NHL’s third star of the week after scoring four goals and five points in four games.

Knights acquire defenseman Zac Leslie from Los Angeles for future considerations.

Feb. 6: All the feels

GAME #53: Vegas @ Pittsburgh (5-4 PIT)

In one of the most anticipated games of the season, Fleury makes his return to Pittsburgh.

The Penguins organization honors him with a video tribute.

In an emotional game, the Knights jump out to a 2-0 lead but surrender five unanswered goals, including one from from soon-to-be Golden Knights forward Reaves. Carpenter scores his second goal in as many games and the Knights pull within one at 12:01 of the third, but the Penguins spoil Fleury’s return. Neal scores against his former team as he grabs his 23rd of the season. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Evgeni Malkin
#2: Sidney Crosby
#3: Marc-Andre Fleury

Feb. 8

GAME #54: Vegas @ San Jose (5-3 VGK)

In the final installment of a six-game road trip, Fleury keeps the Knights in the game until the 14-minute mark, when Haula puts Vegas’ first shot of the game behind San Jose’s Martin Jones. Riding the momentum into the second, Karlsson gives Vegas a 2-1 lead less than a minute into the middle frame. The Sharks give the Knights a dose of their own medicine, however, tying the game later in the period and grabbing the lead in the third. However, the Knights tie it up less than two minutes later and eventually add two more in a 5-3 win. Marchessault reaches the 20-goal mark with a power-play marker to seal the game at 18:39 of the third. Perron tallies two assists in the 700th game of his career. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: David Perron
#3: Brent Burns

Feb. 11: Who needs goalies?

Vegas places Malcolm Subban on injured reserve, recalls Maxime Lagace.

GAME #55: Philadelphia @ Vegas (4-1 PHI)

The Knights host the Philadelphia Flyers to kickstart a seven-game homestand. In a game dominated by the Golden Knights, Philadelphia’s Michal Neuvirth stops 38 of 39 shots to steal a victory. The Flyers, led by the top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, capitalize on chances and Vegas mistakes to take a 4-1 win. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare throws away the puck on a 2-on-0 against his former team, finishing the game with a minus-one rating, three shots and two blocks in 12:45 of ice time. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Sean Couturier
#2: Brayden McNabb
#3: Michal Neuvirth

Feb. 12

Krispy Kreme launches a Golden Knights donut.

Feb. 13

GAME #56: Chicago @ Vegas (5-2 VGK)

Down 2-1 in the third, Vegas scores four unanswered goals, including three in the first five minutes of the final frame, to take a 5-2 victory. Five different players score for Vegas, including Carpenter, who picks up his third goal in five games. Fleury denies Patrick Sharp on a penalty shot in the middle third. Cody Eakin gets a season-low 9:42 of ice time. Tomas Nosek bags the empty-net goal to seal it in his first game since Jan. 16. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Reilly Smith
#2: Brad Hunt
#3: David Perron

Feb. 15

GAME #57: Edmonton @ Vegas (4-1 VGK)

For the first time all season, the Golden Knights shut down Connor McDavid, earning Vegas’ first win against the Oilers. Carpenter scores his fourth goal in six games as the Knights become the first team to hit 80 points in the Western Conference. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Ryan Carpenter
#3: Marc-Andre Fleury

Feb. 17

GAME #58: Montreal @ Vegas (6-3 VGK)

In a lopsided win against the struggling Canadiens, Vegas moves the needle in some statistical categories and regains the top seed in the NHL with its 39th win of the season. Smith’s three points tie his career-high in points (51), and the Knights become the second team in the league with four 50-point players, including Marchessault (58), Perron (53), Karlsson (51) and Smith (51). Carpenter scores in back-to-back games, giving him five goals in seven contests. It’s a costly victory, however, as Bellemare leaves the game and, despite his best attempts, is unable to return. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Reilly Smith
#2: Ryan Carpenter
#3: Nate Schmidt

Feb. 19

Knights place Bellemare on injured reserve, call up Tomas Hyka and Stefan Matteau.

GAME #59: Anaheim @ Vegas (2-0 ANA)

Vegas struggles with Neal, Theodore and Bellemare out of the lineup, putting forth a sloppy effort that includes just 13 shots through the first two periods (though Anaheim manages just 12). A Vegas offside challenge overturns a second-period goal from Ryan Getzlaf, but despite trailing just 1-0 after 40 minutes, Vegas fails to solve Anaheim’s duo in net after Ryan Miller replaces John Gibson in the third. The Knights lose 2-0 in a combined 33-save shutout by Gibson and Miller in the Knights’ first-ever loss to Anaheim. Hyka makes his NHL debut, logging 11:37 of ice time and recording two shots. Matteau rejoins the lineup for the first time since Dec. 5. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Rickard Rakell
#2: Jakob Silfverberg
#3: Tomas Hyka

Feb. 21

GAME #60: Calgary @ Vegas (7-3 VGK)

Carpenter scores his sixth goal in nine games to get the Knights on the board with a between-the-legs backhand shot 2:28 into the opening frame.

Both teams exchange goals multiple times. A successful offside challenge for the second game in a row preserves Vegas’ one-goal lead early in the third before the Knights net three additional unanswered goals to put the game away. Seven different Knights score (Carpenter, Karlsson, Smith, Tuch, Luca Sbisa, Nosek and Eakin) in an impressive 7-3 victory despite having Neal, Theodore and Bellemare out of the lineup once again. Vegas sets the record for most points by a team in its inaugural season (84), passing the 1993-1994 Panthers (83). Engelland picks up two penalty minutes, two shots, four hits and two blocks in 20:08 of ice time against his former team. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Alex Tuch
#2: David Perron
#3: Luca Sbisa

Feb. 23: The three-way deal

Vegas acquires Reaves in a three-way deal involving the Penguins and Senators. The deal initially gets rejected by the league, leading to speculation regarding Vegas’ involvement. In the end, the Knights retain 40 percent of Derick Brassard’s salary as he is shipped from Ottawa to Pittsburgh and send forward Tobias Lindberg to Pittsburgh in exchange for Reaves and a 2018 fourth-round pick. Many believed Ian Cole might be a Golden Knight, but he bypasses Vegas en route to Ottawa before getting traded to Columbus.

GAME #61: Vancouver @ Vegas (6-3 VGK)

Hyka scores his first career NHL goal.

The Canucks come back with goals from Sven Baertschi and Thomas Vanek, but Vegas’ top line scores the next three followed by a late-period goal by Nosek from Perron and Fleury, who gets his first point of the season. Daniel Sedin scores a power-play goal early in the third, but the Knights take a 6-3 win after Vancouver accidentally puts one in its own net. Sbisa finishes the contest with a minus-one rating, two penalty minutes, one shot and two blocks in 16:59 of ice time against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: William Karlsson
#2: Reilly Smith
#3: Tomas Hyka

Feb. 24

Knights reassign Hyka, Matteau to the AHL.

Feb. 25

Knights prospect Nikita Gusev leads Olympic Athletes from Russia to gold medal at 2018 Olympics, scoring two goals and an assist in the overtime thriller against Germany.

Feb. 26: Trade deadline

Knights trade Brendan Leipsic to Vancouver in exchange for 26-year-old defenseman Philip Holm.

Vegas makes big push for Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, but the reported deal falls through.

Knights acquire Tatar from Detroit in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick.

Knights on Ice reacts to McPhee’s trade-deadline deals.

GAME #62: Vegas @ Los Angeles (3-2 LAK, OT)

Reaves makes his Golden Knights debut, receiving just 7:12 of ice time. Neal exits the game in the second period after taking an awkward spill behind the net; he does not return. Vegas secures a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the third period, but a Reaves hooking penalty proves to be a game-changer. Kings netminder Jonathan Quick robs Karlsson on a short-handed breakaway before Los Angeles capitalizes on its power-play opportunity as Jeff Carter scores his first goal of the season to cut the lead in half at 12:28 of the third. It’s an unfortunate bounce for Vegas as Eakin accidentally redirects a rebound into his own net.

Los Angeles remains relentless, eventually tying the game with just 11 seconds left in third.

The Kings carry that momentum into overtime, where Dustin Brown converts on a 4-on-3 power play to complete the Kings’ late comeback. McNabb finishes the game against his former team with a minus-one rating, one hit and four blocks in 20:36 of ice time. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Dustin Brown
#2: Jonathan Quick
#3: Marc-Andre Fleury

Feb. 27

Knights recall Hyka from the AHL on an emergency basis.

GAME #63: Los Angeles @ Vegas (4-1 LAK)

Tatar makes his Golden Knights debut and finishes the game with four shots, three hits and an 89.47 Corsi For percentage in 12:38 of ice time skating on the third line. Lagace makes his first start since Dec. 9 in the second half of the back-to-back home-and-home against the Kings. Despite finishing the first tied at 1-1, Los Angeles scores two in the middle frame, including a back-breaker in the final 30 seconds of the period.

The third period features a taste of what Reaves brings to the table. He delivers a crowd-rousing crushing check on Kings defenseman Derek Forbort, but the hit gets called for boarding.

Vegas kills off the penalty, but Reaves finds himself right back in the sin bin just a few minutes later (16:37) following this play:

Gerard Gallant is so incensed over the call that the referees assess a bench minor for “Abuse of officials.” The Kings convert on the 5-on-3, giving Los Angeles a three-goal lead with under two minutes to go, thus securing the win. Jack Campbell, who is in net for the Kings, earns his first career NHL win, stopping 41 of 42 shots and finishing with a .976 save percentage. A sloppy and, at times, careless effort from the Knights leads to a Los Angeles sweep of the home-and-home. McNabb comes away with two penalty minutes, two shots, two hits and one block in 17:52 of ice time against his former team.

“I’m not going to apologize for any one of those penalties,” Reaves says after the game. “They did cost the game, but that’s my style of play. I bring energy, I bring physicality, and that’s going to continue every team we play.”

Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jack Campbell
#2: Anze Kopitar
#3: William Karlsson

March

Knights’ Record: 9-5-2
Leading Scorer: William Karlsson (7-9—16)

In the face of what could have been a derailing injury to the surging Smith, the Knights’ resilience yet again reared its head in a month that saw Vegas clinch a playoff berth and the Pacific Division by reaching 50 wins, something only four other teams in the league were able to do. Fittingly, the Knights accomplished this in the final home game of the regular season in front of 18,458 fans, the biggest crowd in team history (at the time). Karlsson finished the month on a four-game point streak, which included the division-clinching goal worthy of goal-of-the-year status. But as per usual, the Knights won by committee as they collected 20 points in the month of March.

Mar. 1

Smith is named the NHL’s third star of the month after recording 20 points in 14 February contests.

Mar. 2

GAME #64: Ottawa @ Vegas (5-4 OTT)

Smith strikes less than a minute into the contest, and Reaves draws a penalty late in the opening frame to help the Knights take a 2-1 lead into intermission. However, Ottawa grabs a 4-2 lead after a three-goal second frame. Karlsson nets his 35th of the season 3:35 into the third period, and Carpenter makes things interesting with a game-tying short-handed marker just 4 minutes and 20 seconds later. However, Ottawa re-claims the lead less than a minute later, and the Senators do not look back. Vegas suffers its third consecutive loss for just the second time this season, extending its post-trade-deadline record to 0-2-1. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Mark Stone
#2: Erik Karlsson
#3: William Karlsson

Mar. 4

GAME #65: Vegas @ New Jersey (3-2 VGK)

After a scoreless first period, Perron grabs his career-high 58th point of the season to give the Knights a 1-0 lead 4:39 into the middle frame; Hyka earns his first assist on the goal. It is the first of five second-period goals as neither team gets on the board in the first or third. Less than three minutes after New Jersey ties it up on a power-play goal, Engelland nets his fourth goal of the season as Reaves picks up his first point as a Knight. Tatar scores his first goal as a Knight at 17:43 of the frame.

While Taylor Hall extends his impressive point streak with a goal just 12 seconds later, the score holds at 3-2 as Vegas snaps a three-game losing skid in part one of a five-game road trip. Merrill finishes the game with an assist, a plus-one rating, two penalty minutes, one shot and two hits in 13:57 of ice time against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Tomas Tatar
#2: Taylor Hall
#3: David Perron

Mar. 6

GAME #66: Vegas @ Columbus (4-1 CBJ)

Before the game, Karlsson makes this classic comment about his return to Columbus:

Bellemare returns to the lineup after missing seven games. Vegas surrenders a goal to Artemi Panarin just 16 seconds into the contest. Though Haula ties it up 1:30 into the second period, Columbus later grabs two goals in under two minutes to take a 3-1 lead just before the midway point of the game. The Knights lose Smith, who leaves the game late in the second period holding his left side; he does not return. A Blue Jackets empty-netter late in the third seals the game, Vegas’ fourth loss in five games, giving the Knights a 1-3-1 record since the trade deadline. Karlsson manages just one shot, one hit and a minus-three rating in 16:21 of ice time against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Joonas Korpisalo
#2: Artemi Panarin
#3: Pierre-Luc DuBois

Mar. 8

Knights sign defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a three-year entry-level contract.

GAME #67: Vegas @ Detroit (4-0 VGK)

Fleury bounces back with a 28-save shutout, his third of the season, as the Knights’ third line accounts for all of Vegas’ offense. Tuch and Eakin pick up two goals apiece as Tuch records the first multi-goal game of his career. Vegas ties the 1993-1994 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in road wins by a team in its inaugural season (19). Nosek manages an assist, a plus-one rating, two shots and one block in 11:45 of ice time against his former team, while Tatar picks up four penalty minutes and three shots in 15:46 as he returns to Detroit for the first time since the trade. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Cody Eakin
#3: Alex Tuch

Mar. 10

GAME #68: Vegas @ Buffalo (2-1 VGK, SO)

In a forgettable effort that sees neither team strike until the third frame, Engelland scores his fifth of the season at 15:46 to tie it at 1-1 and send the game into extra time. The contest requires a shootout; Perron and Haula score as Fleury stops four of five attempts to give the Knights wins in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 23. Vegas breaks the record for road wins by a team in its inaugural season as it picks up its 20th of the season. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Robin Lehner
#3: Deryk Engelland

Mar. 12

GAME #69: Vegas @ Philadelphia (3-2 VGK)

The Knights take an early lead in Philadelphia as Flyers netminder Petr Mrazek deflects a centering feed from Haula into his own net. Giroux ties it up 1:27 into the second, but it takes more than 24 minutes for another player to find twine. At the 6:00 mark of the third, Karlsson scores his 36th of the season; however, Wayne Simmonds ties it up just a minute and six seconds later, with both goals coming on the power play. A dominant shift by Bellemare gives the Knights a 3-2 lead with under three minutes left in the game as Carpenter bags his eighth of the season.

Fleury stops 38 of 40 shots to earn his 400th career win, becoming just the 13th goalie to reach that milestone. Bellemare picks up a helper on Carpenter’s goal, finishing the game with an assist, a plus-one rating, one hit and three blocks in 16:18 of ice time against his former team. The Knights win three straight to close out their five-game road trip with a 4-1-0 record. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Ryan Carpenter
#2: Claude Giroux
#3: William Karlsson

Mar. 14

GAME #70: New Jersey @ Vegas (8-3 NJD)

The Knights look to extend their strong play as they return to T-Mobile Arena for a four-game homestand. Unfortunately, the Devils have other plans as they chase Fleury after scoring four goals on 11 shots. Lagace enters the game at 2:31 of the second, and the Knights make the most of the period, scoring two goals to cut the lead in half at the end of 40 minutes. However, the third sees the Devils put up four more goals. Haula scores his second of the game and 27th of the season with 28 seconds left in the game in an ugly 8-3 blowout loss. Merrill grabs two penalty minutes, one shot, one hit and one block in 19:38 of ice time against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Blake Coleman
#2: Keith Kinkaid
#3: Taylor Hall

Mar. 15

Knights reassign Hyka, Lagace to the AHL as Neal and Subban return to the lineup.

Mar. 16

GAME #71: Minnesota @ Vegas (4-2 MIN)

Minnesota scores three unanswered goals in the first two periods. It takes Vegas 53:28 to get on the board, but Haula finds twine against his former team, cutting the Wild’s lead to two at 13:28 of the third. Gallant takes a risk and pulls Fleury with more than three minutes remaining in the contest. Carpenter scores his ninth goal with 56 seconds left in the game, bringing the Knights within one.

However, a poor zone entry attempt leads to a turnover that results in Zach Parise putting the game away with an empty-netter. Vegas loses its fourth consecutive home game as Minnesota becomes just the second team to sweep its season series against Vegas. Haula finishes the game with a goal and an assist, a plus-two rating, two shots and two hits in 18:12 of ice time, giving him two goals and four points in three games against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jason Zucker
#2: Erik Haula
#3: Matt Dumba

Mar. 18

GAME #72: Calgary @ Vegas (4-0 VGK)

Fleury stops 20 of 20 first-period shots in an early onslaught by Calgary, including this beauty:

Miller gets a busy second period started with a power-play blast that deflects off a Flames defenseman and gives the Knights a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the frame. Less than a minute later, Karlsson nets the first of his natural hat trick, picking up goals 37, 38 and 39 and giving the Knights a 4-0 lead that holds through the end of 60.

Karlsson records his second hat trick of the season as Fleury collects his fourth shutout of the year in an important bounce-back performance by the Knights. Engelland records five hits and one block in 20:36 of ice time against his former team. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: William Karlsson
#3: Colin Miller

Mar. 20: Here we go again...

GAME #73: Vancouver @ Vegas (4-1 VGK)

Vegas pots four unanswered goals in the first two periods, three of which come in the opening frame. However, Subban replaces Fleury to start the second; it is initially rumored to be for rest purposes since Fleury has started 20 of the team’s last 21 games, but it is later confirmed to be injury-related. Despite the potential significant loss, Vegas plays well as it picks up points 98 and 99 on the year, getting goals from Marchessault (23), Eakin (10), Bellemare (6) and Tatar (18). Leipsic returns to Vegas, finishing the game with a minus-two rating, one shot and two takeaways in 14:43 of ice time. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: Cody Eakin
#3: Tomas Tatar

Mar. 20

Vegas recalls Oscar Dansk from the AHL amidst suspicion surrounding Fleury’s injury.

Mar. 22

GAME #74: Vegas @ San Jose (2-1 SJS, OT)

Tatar scores for the second game in a row, getting the Knights on the board less than four minutes into the contest.

But Brent Burns once again is a thorn in Vegas’ side, picking up his second goal and fifth point in three games against the Knights. It is the only regulation goal allowed by Subban, who plays perhaps his best game of the season. Most of the Knights roster puts forth one of the most uninspired efforts of the year in the second and third periods, getting outshot 18-4 in the middle frame and out-chanced 32-11 in all situations in the third. Subban stops 13 of 13 shots on the penalty kill throughout the game as he almost singlehandedly steals Vegas its 100th point of the season. He is unable to get to 101, however, as Logan Couture scores just 39 seconds into overtime. Subban finishes the contest with a .955 save percentage after stopping 42 of 44 shots. It’s an especially encouraging performance from the backup netminder considering the uncertainty surrounding Fleury’s injury. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Brent Burns
#2: Malcolm Subban
#3: Logan Couture

Mar. 23

Dansk is reassigned to the AHL as Fleury is expected to join the team in Colorado.

Mar. 24

GAME #75: Vegas @ Colorado (2-1 COL, SO)

Despite holding the red-hot Nathan MacKinnon off the scoresheet, Vegas is unable to take advantage in a tightly-fought contest in what is believed at the time to be a potential first-round playoff preview. Marchessault ties the game at 1-1 early in the third after Carl Soderberg connects on a first-period power play to give Colorado the early lead. However, both goalies dictate that the game will require extra time as Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov stops 39 of 40 shots at one end while Fleury makes 29 saves on 30 shots at the other. Gabriel Landeskog gets the only goal in the shootout to give Colorado the win. Vegas fails to clinch a playoff spot. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Semyon Varlamov
#2: Marc-Andre Fleury
#3: Carl Soderberg

Mar. 26: The clincher

GAME #76: Colorado @ Vegas (4-1 VGK)

In the second half of the home-and-home against Colorado, the Golden Knights solidify the next chapter of this impressive run on a magical night filled with impressive individual efforts that come together in a solid 4-1 team win. Marchessault hits the 70-point mark, Karlsson grabs his 40th of the season, Fleury ties Grant Fuhr for 11th all-time in goalie wins and Gallant earns his 200th career win behind the bench. Marchessault and Karlsson each finish with three points as the Knights OFFICIALLY CLINCH A PLAYOFF BERTH in their inaugural campaign, doing so in impressive fashion in front of 18,326 fans at T-Mobile Arena in yet another script-worthy moment in this wild season. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: Shea Theodore
#3: Alex Tuch

Mar. 27

Hunt is named as Vegas’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, as selected by the Las Vegas chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Mar. 28

GAME #77: Arizona @ Vegas (3-2 ARI)

The red-hot Antti Raanta stops 27 of 29 shots as the Coyotes top the Knights for the first time in five meetings, snapping Vegas’ five-game point streak. The Knights hit the post four times but are unable to get the equalizer in a 3-2 loss. Vegas gets power-play goals from Haula and Tuch; Arizona defenseman Kevin Connauton produces the first two-goal game of his career and the Coyotes’ top line continues to wreak havoc across the league as Richard Panik scores his 12th of the year from Clayton Keller. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Kevin Connauton
#2: Erik Haula
#3: Alex Tuch

Mar. 30

GAME #78: St. Louis @ Vegas (4-3 VGK, OT)

In an electric game that fittingly ends in sudden-death overtime, Vegas gives up a goal less than three minutes into the contest and shortly thereafter takes back-to-back minor penalties, seemingly hand-delivering the momentum to the Blues. But Karlsson has other ideas, capitalizing despite Vegas’ misfortune by scoring his third short-handed goal of the year off a beautiful tape-to-tape feed from Eakin, knotting things up at 1-1 6:18 into the first.

Marchessault takes Wild Bill’s queue and notches his 26th of the season to give the Knights a 2-1 lead at 13:31 of the first, but Brayden Schenn evens things out once again to make it a 2-2 game after one. Nothing changes for most of the middle frame until Neal scores this highlight-reel beauty to give the Knights a 3-2 advantage after 40 minutes.

For the second straight period, only one puck finds its way into the net as Blues fourth-liner and one-time Golden Knight Chris Thorburn scores his first goal since Dec. 11 of 2016. With neither team able to get the go-ahead goal, this one heads to overtime but lasts just 22 seconds as Marchessault scores the game-winner, his second of the night.

The Knights pull within one point of clinching the Pacific Division. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Jonathan Marchessault
#2: William Karlsson
#3: James Neal

Mar. 31: Pacific clinch

GAME #79: San Jose @ Vegas (3-2 VGK)

The Golden Knights retire No. 58 in a pre-game ceremony in honor of the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 shooting.

In what could become one of the most iconic highlights in Golden Knights lore, Karlsson scores an unforgettable between-the-legs short-handed marvel that turns out to be the game-winner as the Knights clinch the Pacific Division in the 50th win of their inaugural campaign.

Fleury passes Fuhr with career win No. 404, good for 11th all-time and third among active goalies. Full recap.

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

April 1-7

Knights’ Record: 1-2-0
Leading Scorers: Brandon Pirri (3-0—3), William Karlsson (1-2—3), Alex Tuch (0-3—3)

With just three games remaining to close out the regular season, Vegas had little left to play for once Nashville clinched the President’s Trophy. Brandon Pirri got called up and made an immediate impact, scoring three goals in three games and becoming yet another success story for this Golden Knights team. With all the records already broken and a playoff ticket in the bag, Vegas managed a 1-2-0 record against three non-playoff Pacific Division teams. But at that point, the real story of the month of April had yet to be written.

Apr. 1

Vegas hands out year-end team awards, giving Karlsson the Seventh Player and First Star awards and Engelland the Vegas Strong Service award.

Apr. 2

Karlsson is named the NHL’s first star of the week after recording three goals and nine points in four games.

Apr. 3

The Knights recall Pirri.

GAME #80: Vegas @ Vancouver (5-4 VGK, SO)

Pirri scores two goals on seven shots in his impressive Golden Knights debut.

William Carrier returns to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 4. Karlsson picks up three points, taking the team lead in points (78) as Marchessault sits out for maintenance purposes. Tatar reaches the 20-goal mark with a second-period tally. The Knights watch a 4-1 lead evaporate in the third period as the Canucks fight back and force overtime. In the shootout, Subban stops all four Vancouver shots as he improves his shootout prowess to 13-for-13 on the season. Theodore ends the game in style, roofing a backhand shot over the shoulder of Jacob Markstrom.

The Knights remain on the ice after the game to salute Daniel and Henrik Sedin as they near their retirement after 17 seasons in the NHL. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Nikolay Goldobin
#2: William Karlsson
#3: Shea Theodore

Apr. 5

GAME #81: Vegas @ Edmonton (4-3 EDM)

Both teams participate in a pre-game moment of silence in honor of the Humboldt Broncos.

Pirri scores his third goal in two games to give the Knights a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes, but a tough three-goal third period gives the Oilers the edge. McNabb and Lindberg score their fifth and ninth goals of the season, respectively, and Vegas comes close to tying it in the final two minutes with a 6-on-4, but Edmonton holds on for the win. Subban surrenders four goals on 33 shots in a less-than-ideal final start before the playoffs. McDavid once again gets the better of the Knights, adding three points to his season total of 106 as Edmonton wins the season series against Vegas. Full recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Connor McDavid
#2: Ty Rattie
#3: Cam Talbot

Apr. 6

Knights reassign Pirri to the AHL.

Apr. 7

GAME #82: Vegas @ Calgary (7-1 CGY)

Calgary scores back-to-back 2-on-1 goals in the span of 10 seconds a little more than four minutes into the first, which sets the tone for a strong season finale for the Flames and a meaningless loss for Vegas. Fleury gives up six goals on 18 shots through 40 minutes, and Subban stops 12 of 13 in the third as the Flames take a 7-1 win. Smith returns to the lineup for the first time since Mar. 6. Engelland finishes the game with a minus-one rating, one shot, two hits and five blocks in 20:53 of ice time against his former team. “Full” recap.

Stars of the Game
#1: Mark Jankowski
#2: Johnny Gaudreau
#3: Matt Stajan


2017-2018 Regular Season Statistical Overview

Overall Record: 51-24-7-109, first in Pacific, third in Western Conference, fifth in NHL
Record Against Pacific Division: 20-6-3
Best Month: December (11-1-1)
Leading Scorers: Karlsson (43-35—78), Marchessault (27-48—75), Perron (16-50—66)
Leading Scorers (D): Miller (10-31—41), Schmidt (5-31—36), Theodore (6-23—29)
Power Play Points: Haula (19), Perron (18), Miller (17)
Game-winning Goals: Karlsson (6), Marchessault (6), Neal (6)
Points Per Game: Marchessault (.974), Karlsson (.951), Perron (.943)
Points Per 60 (5v5, > 5 GP): Karlsson (2.54), Smith (2.51), Marchessault (2.46)
CF% (5v5, > 10 GP): Miller (55.63), Carrier (53.65), Smith (53.54), Karlsson (53.31)
Games Played: Karlsson (82), Miller (82), Eakin (80)
TOI/GP: Schmidt (22:14), Theodore (20:21), Engelland (20:17), McNabb (20.09)
TOI/GP (F): Karlsson (18:43), Smith (17:55), Perron (17:49)
PP TOI/GP: Theodore (2:33), Perron (2:32), Marchessault (2:28), Neal (2:27), Miller (2:27)
SH TOI/GP (> 35 GP): Engelland (2:58), McNabb (2:43), Bellemare (2:09), Schmidt (1:54)
Hits/GP: Reaves (3.6), Carrier (3.1), McNabb (3.0)
Blocks/GP (> 35 GP): McNabb (2.3), Engelland (1.9), Schmidt (1.6)
Goalie Stats: Fleury (29-13-4, 2.24 GAA, .927 SV%, 4 SO), Subban (13-4-2, 2.68 GAA, .910 SV%)
Power Play: 21.4% overall (9th in NHL), 24.2% at home (10) and 18.5% on the road (18)
Penalty Kill: 81.4% overall (10th in NHL), 84.1% at home (7) and 79.2% on the road (16)
Goals For: 78 in first periods (7th in NHL), 94 in second (6), 88 in third (9)
Goals Against: 66 in first periods (22nd in NHL), 73 in second (25), 82 in third (17)



2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Round One: Vegas vs. Los Angeles

Apr. 11

GAME #1: Los Angeles @ Vegas (1-0 VGK)

Vegas scores the first postseason goal in franchise history as Theodore puts one past Quick at 3:23 of the first period.

Fleury records a 30-save shutout, the 11th postseason shutout of his career, as the Knights take a 1-0 series lead with a 1-0 victory in Game 1. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: James Neal
#3: Jonathan Quick

Apr. 12

Department of Player Safety suspends Kings defenseman Drew Doughty for an illegal check to the head of Carrier in Game 1.

Apr. 13

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

For the second straight game, Vegas jumps out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, this time on a power-play goal by Tuch, who scores the first postseason goal of his career. Los Angeles ties it late in the second on a power-play goal by Paul LaDue, who scores his first postseason goal. However, the game requires extra time due to the stellar play of Quick and Fleury.

It takes 95-plus minutes, but the magic continues.

In an epic battle, Haula scores the game-winner at 15:23 of double overtime to give Vegas a 2-0 series lead.

Quick is outstanding yet again, making 54 saves on 56 shots in the Kings’ loss, though Fleury holds his own with 29 saves on 30 shots. Full recap. What we learned.

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

Apr. 15

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

Perron returns to the lineup for the first time in the series as Tatar serves as a healthy scratch. Alex Iafallo gives Los Angeles its first lead of the series with a first-period tally.

But the Knights ride three third-period goals to victory as they take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Eakin, Neal and Karlsson net their first of the postseason in the span of eight minutes and 34 seconds, with Karlsson grabbing the eventual game-winner at 14:44 of the third, a stunning turn of events just 21 seconds after Neal’s go-ahead goal.

Anze Kopitar scores with just over two minutes remaining in the game off a defensive-zone turnover by Smith, but Fleury holds down the fort as the Knights pull within one win of advancing. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: James Neal
#3: Alex Iafallo

Apr. 17: The sweep

GAME #4: Vegas @ Los Angeles (1-0 VGK)

In a strong defensive effort and Fleury’s second shutout of the series, Vegas wins 1-0 on McNabb’s first of the playoffs as the Golden Knights sweep Los Angeles, four games to none. Fittingly, it is McNabb that scores the series-clinching goal against his former team as Vegas becomes the first franchise to sweep a first-round series in its inaugural season.

Fleury stops 31 of 31 shots in the contest, finishing the series with 127 stops on 130 shots for an absurd .977 save percentage and 0.65 goals-against average. His save on Brown very late in the third is quite the exclamation point on his series performance.

The Knights advance to the second round and remain undefeated in postseason play. Full recap. What we learned.

Stars of the Game
#1: Marc-Andre Fleury
#2: Jonathan Quick
#3: Brayden McNabb

Apr. 18

San Jose completes its four-game sweep over Anaheim, advancing to the second round where they will face the Golden Knights.

Apr. 20

Karlsson is named a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who is “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

Apr. 24

Engelland is named a finalist for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, “given annually to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and plays a role in his community growing the game of hockey.”


Round One Statistical Overview

Overall Record: 4-0
Goals For: 7
Goals Against: 3
Power Play: 8.3 percent
Penalty Kill: 92.3 percent
Leading Scorer: Smith (0-3—3), Marchessault (0-2—2), Theodore/Tuch/Karlsson/Neal (1-1—2)
TOI/GP: Schmidt (27:56), Engelland (25:26), McNabb (24:23), Karlsson (23:28)
Corsi For Percentage (5v5): Theodore (61.96), Marchessault (60.0), Karlsson (59.33)
Points Per 60: Smith (2.12), Perron (1.98), Tuch (1.69), Neal (1.52), Marchessault (1.39)
Hits/GP: Carrier (6.3), Tatar (5.5), Eakin (4.5), Marchessault (4.0), Neal (4.0)
Blocks/GP: McNabb (3.3), Miller (2.0), Schmidt (2.0)
Goalie Stats: Fleury (4-0, 0.65 GAA, .977 SV%, 2 SHO)


It has been quite a season so far. Remarkable, memorable, magical and one-of-a-kind. From the poignant and emotional pre-game ceremony at the home opener that established and set the #VegasStrong tone to the 3-0-0 and 8-1-0 starts to the electric and raucous atmosphere at T-Mobile Arena all year to the individual and franchise records broken every step of the way to the playoff berth and Pacific Division clinch to the first-round sweep of the Los Angeles Kings, this season truly has been a dream. As in the kind that requires pinching because it is hard to fathom what the members of this team, organization, city and fanbase have come together to accomplish through 86 games.

It feels as though this team has been part of Las Vegas for a long, long time, but that’s just because of the overwhelming bond that has formed between the city and its hockey team. It goes beyond rooting for a collection of athletes as the heart of this city is reflected in the work ethic and relentless effort these players put out on the ice night after night. But the regular season and first round of the postseason have concluded, and Vegas will now turn the page and gear up for the franchise’s next chapter as it continues on its first-ever playoff run, hosting the San Jose Sharks in round two.

No one expected any of this to happen. It’s easy to take that for granted considering how exceptional this season has been, but no one had Vegas getting this far, and certainly not in the dominant fashion in which things have unfolded.

But here comes the second round, and here is Vegas. A group of misfits that banded together with the strength and support of the city of Las Vegas to establish an identity and a swagger that simply didn’t get the memo about slowing down or fading away. Expansion teams don’t work like this, but this is no ordinary expansion team. This Knights team isn’t perfect, but they, like the city they play for, are survivors. Whatever is thrown at them, they react, adjust and come back stronger than ever. Nothing in life or in hockey is guaranteed, but one thing is for sure: playoff hockey is another sport entirely. We’ve gotten a taste, but round two is yet another venture, so buckle up; it’s showtime.