Las Vegas–Tonight for Vegas Golden Knights fans and the organization this night has been a long time coming for the city that was planted almost 2 decades ago by then-Mayor Oscar Goodman in having pro sports in Nevada’s Thriving Metropolis.
For Oscar, he’ll get to see his dream become reality when the puck is dropped at T-Mobile Arena solidifying the city of Las Vegas as the professional sports town.
In wake of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, the Golden Knights organization officially announced after yesterday’s team practice session by General Manager George McPhee at “City National Arena” that they have differed their opening night ceremony till Friday, October 13 when the club faces off against the “Original 6 Franchise” Detroit Red Wings.
Instead, the Golden Knights are paying their respects to those who have lost their lives and for the victims and the first responders who were involved in this horrific tragedy.
The franchise has been instrumental in the healing process with the city of Las Vegas by participating in community visits that included, Las Vegas Metro Police Headquarters, UMC (University Medical Center), Las Vegas Convention Center to see the refugees, and United Blood Center on W Charleston to see the blood donors that were donating blood for the victims that were recovering at area hospitals.
In partnership with the UNLV Rebels Hockey Program, they made special “Vegas Strong” t-shirts for Associate Coach Nick Robone who was one of the 527 injured after last weeks shooting. All proceeds from the t-shirt went Coach Nick for his recovery effort.
With a 2-0-0 record, the Golden Knights early season success has become a bit of surprise around the league with goaltender Marc-André Fleury steller between the pipes for the NHL’s youngest team.
In his 1st ever regular season start for the Golden Knights, Fleury was their best player overall in the team’s matchup vs. the Dallas Stars. He made 45 of 46 stops that the Stars threw at him particularly in the 3rd period where the 3-time Stanley Cup Champion turned away 22 shots.
Fleury followed up that performance in net with 27 saves on 28 shots. These two contests for him, were a major improvement to his game than in the preseason.
Fleury’s Quick Start In Net Earned Him 2nd Star Of The Week Honors By The NHL
Fleury went 2-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average and a .973 save percentage as the Golden Knights opened the season with two victories. Fleury began the week by making 45 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Oct. 6 in the first ever regular-season game in franchise history. On Oct. 7, he stopped 27 shots in a 2-1 overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes, giving him 377 career victories — good for 15th on the all-time NHL wins last. The 32-year-old Sorel, QC, native was the first overall selection in the 2003 NHL Draft by Pittsburgh, for whom he won three Stanley Cups in 13 seasons.
Another contributing factor that played a major role in Vegas winning the 1st two games of the season was scoring touch from the former 40 goal scorer in forward James Neal.
Neal scored both goals in the game against Dallas this past Friday which was very historic as he recorded the Golden Knights 1st regular season and game-winning goal in franchise history and defeated the Stars 2-1.
His historic performance was followed up by another milestone marker for the Golden Knights as he became the 1st player in club history to score a regular-season overtime goal against the Arizona Coyotes.
That victory would not have been made possible if it were not of defenseman Nate Schmidt who scored the game-tying goal in the late stages of the 3rd period with 1:12 left.
The visiting Arizona Coyotes will be making their 2nd stop to Las Vegas in their clubs history.
1999 Frozen Fury Matchup
Their last visit came when the organization was called the then-Phoenix Coyotes and participated in the “1999 Frozen Fury Series” vs. Los Angeles Kings during the preseason of that year.
They ended up getting shut out of that matchup courtesy of a 4-0 loss. The winning goaltender of that matchup was Stephané Fiset who made 19 saves for Los Angeles. The Coyotes rolled two goalies that night Bob Essensa and Robert Esche. Essensa played for 40 minutes and made 24 of 27 saves while Esche came in relief in the 3rd period and stopped 11 of 12.
Present Day Coyotes
For the current Coyotes, they are currently 0-1-1 on the season and will try to get them back on track and prevent themselves from opening the season with 3 straight losses. The last time that the “Desert Dogs” had the worst start opening a season came last year when the team was 1-5 in October. Per USA Today Report on October 25, 2016.
Last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Golden Knights, was Antti Raanta’s 1st start between the pipes for the Arizona Coyotes. In that loss, he made 42 saves on 44 shots which was a very good performance by the former New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks backup netminder.
Defensemen Jason Demers and Niklas Hjalmarsson were Head Coach Rick Tocchet‘s go-to guys as they logged the most minutes for the Arizona Coyotes. Demers logged 24:28 while Hjalmarsson clocked at 24:26. For the Golden Knights players, expect that theme to continue tonight.
Tobias Rieder was the Coyotes only goal scorer in their last matchup and both Luke Schenn and Jordan Martinook
Special Game Day Itinerary Courtesy Of Vegas Golden Knights
NHL Centennial Fan Arena
The NHL Centennial Fan Arena will be stationed in Toshiba Plaza from 2-10 p.m. PT on October 1 to celebrate the Golden Knights inaugural home opener and centennial year of the NHL.
The interactive fan experience honors extraordinary players, teams, and unforgettable moments with an innovative museum, original video content, a first-of-its-kind virtual reality game, and features the most revered trophy in sports – the Stanley Cup®. It will also feature a street hockey rink and other fun, interactive activities, including the Stanley Cup® starting Wednesday. The event will be free and open to the public.
Gold Carpet Event
Fans will be able to witness Golden Knights players, coaches, and management arriving at T-Mobile Arena and walking a gold carpet ahead of the team’s inaugural home game. The gold carpet will start at Toshiba Plaza going into T-Mobile Arena, with arrivals starting at 3:30 p.m. PT. All fans are welcome to join the festivities.
Opening Night March To T-Mobile Arena
To celebrate the T-Mobile Arena doors opening for the Golden Knights inaugural home opener, there will be a fan march from New York-New York Hotel to the front doors of the arena. The march, which will feature special fan engagement activities, will start underneath the Brooklyn Bridge at 4:45 p.m. PT and conclude at Toshiba Plaza for a brief ceremony before the doors open at 5 p.m.
The national anthem at Tuesday’s game will be led by a member of the Route 91 Harvest Festival Team, the music festival that was the site of Sunday’s tragic shooting. He will be joined in by 14 other members of the Harvest Festival Team, all of whom were at the event on Sunday and acted with great courage helping those injured and assisting first responders with their efforts.
Update: 1:11 PM
After today’s morning skate session Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant who is known to be a guy that makes speeches before a game did not shy away from the sentiment.
“We talked about it the last number of days, the staff obviously came out and talked our ownership is going to talk to players tonight before the game, first home game, I’m not gonna say a lot, I’m going to say the hockey stuff like I usually do and the other people can take care of that ceremony stuff.” Gallant on the emotional night for the Golden Knights and the Vegas community.
Regarding the emotional factor that could play a potential role in tonight’s Coach Gallant was quick to speak about that storyline for the players.
“No there aware, I said we went over the rehearsal of what’s gonna happen yesterday it was pretty tough, it’s going to be a hard night.” Says Gallant.
Vegas Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant Presser On The Emotional Night For The Organization
Official Broadcast Schedule
Tonight’s matchup will not be seen on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain. Instead, the game will be televised Nationally in both the United States and in Canada.
US based hockey fans will have the game on the NBC Sports Network while Canada viewers will get it on SN360 and TVAS (French-speaking audiences).
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm PT/ 10:00 pm ET.
The radio broadcast is on FOX Sports Radio 98.9 FM/1340 AM.