No one saw any of this coming. The Vegas Golden Knights weren’t supposed to make the playoffs and they definitely weren’t supposed to win the Pacific. But they defied the odds, threw logic and reason right out the window and put together one of the most memorable inaugural campaigns in the history of sports.
There were obviously a ton highlight-reel plays throughout the regular season, but we’ve decided to narrow the list down to 10 standout plays that will live in the memories of Golden Knights fans for years to come. And looking back, the amount of ridiculous goals the Knights produced this season is almost incomprehensible.
Let’s start off with an old friend, shall we?
10. Brendan Leipsic sets up Oscar Lindberg with gorgeous spinning feed
Goodnight, sweet prince.
It stinks that the Golden Knights decided to move Leipsic at the trade deadline, but he didn’t leave Vegas without making a few dazzling plays. Arguably the most impressive play of his brief stay with the Golden Knights came in Vegas’ home opener against the Arizona Coyotes when he hit Oscar Lindberg with a beautiful spinning pass to give Vegas the 5-1 lead.
9. David Perron’s toe drag in Vancouver
I still think about this goal multiple times every day. Granted, the Canucks were an abomination this season, so it’s not much of a surprise that Perron managed to pull off a toe drag this dirty against a team as horrible as Vancouver. But it’s not like he dangled around some no-name player. He did it against Daniel Sedin. That’s not exactly an easy thing to do! This goal is way too underrated, and I, for one, will not stand for it!
8. Jonathan Marchessault completes Vegas’ comeback in Calgary
Marchessault now makes more money in a year than any of us will for the remainder of our lives. And he deserves every single penny. The former Panther (thanks again, Florida) put on a show this season and his game-winner against the Flames is just a small sample of why he should have earned a trip to the All-Star game.
7. Marc-Andre Fleury recreates Game 7
What would we do without Flower?
I can answer that.
Nothing. We’d all rot in a dark void of miserable anguish.
At 33 years old, Fleury put together the best statistical campaign of his storied career. And against his former team (!) he managed to make a save reminiscent of the one that won the Penguins the Stanley Cup in 2009. What a guy.
6. Shea Theodore springs William Karlsson with insane stretch pass
Shea Theodore is only 22 years old. Incredible, right? You know what’s even more incredible? The Anaheim Ducks literally gave him to the Golden Knights last offseason. What a nice thing to do!
Theodore registered 23 assists on the season, but this one certainly takes the cake as the most impressive of the bunch.
5. Karlsson completes first hat trick in Golden Knights history
It feels a little weird putting an empty-netter on the list, but this is just too good to leave out. Not only did Wild Bill complete his first career hat trick, but it was also the first hat trick in Golden Knights history. And he did it in style, diving ahead of Toronto’s Morgan Reilly to swat the puck into the open net. On New Year’s Eve, no less!
4. Theodore’s game-winner against Tampa Bay
I’ve never heard an arena get as loud as the T-Mobile Arena did when Theodore beat Andrei Vasilevskiy with just 2.3 seconds to go in regulation. The Lightning gave Vegas fits that night, but Theo’s heroics earned Vegas a valuable two points in one of the very best games of the NHL’s 2017-18 regular season.
3. Deryk Engelland’s one-time goal in Vegas’ home opener
It doesn’t get any better than this. In Vegas’ home opener, a little over a week after the events that occurred on October 1, Engelland, a long-time Vegas resident, beat Antti Raanta with a one-timer from the point to extend Vegas’ lead to two goals. A storybook start to the Golden Knights’ season got even sweeter when Engelland pulled this off.
2. James Neal’s game-winner in season opener
Imagine scoring a goal in the NHL. Pretty hard! Now imagine doing it on your knees in the third period of a tie game. I can’t. My brain cannot handle the rapture. This is a prime example of why the universe was created — so we as existing lifeforms can witness the heroics of the one called James Neal.
1. Karlsson’s between-the-legs shorty
No surprise here, folks. This is easily the most awe-inspiring goal of the Golden Knights’ season, and potentially the 2017-18 NHL season as a whole. We’ve seen between-the-legs goals before, but shorthanded during a high-stakes game against a division rival? Please.