Las Vegas–Today the Vegas Golden Knights hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs to close out 2017 on New Year’s Eve Day for the first time in franchise history.

The last time these two teams faced one another was when the Golden Knights took their game to the East Coast that kicked off the organization’s first ever Eastern Conference road trip where Vegas lost to the Maple Leafs 4-3 in the shootout. For Vegas on that road trip, they recorded a 1-4-1 record.

For the Golden Knights they knew what time the game started today and would get off to a quick start over the Maple Leafs.

Getting things going for the Golden Knights in the opening stages of the 1st period was Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Bellemare connected with a pass down low from Alex Tuch and went backhander on Frederik Andersen to give Vegas the early 1-0 lead at 2:24 into the 1st. This was Bellemare’s 4th of the season with the Golden Knights.

The Bellemare line has been working hard as of late so it was good to see them get rewarded for their hard work with that opening goal of the game.

Bellemare Opens The Scoring For The Knights

Less than two minutes later, Vegas continued their scoring attack on Toronto and the next man up for the Golden Knights would be William Karlsson. Karlsson’s goal was made possible by a Reilly Smith pass off of a 2 on 1 rush against Andreas Borgman.

Karlsson ended up one timing the Smith pass as his shot in which Andersen had no chance at stopping, extended the Golden Knights lead over the Maple Leafs 2-0.  This gave Karlsson his 18th of the year.

Karlsson’s Goal For The Golden Knights

With 6:36 left in the opening period the scoring parade continued for the Golden Knights and it was Erik Haula who decided to join up. David Perron and Colin Miller teammed up to set up Haula who had plenty time and space, walked into Toronto’s end and fired a wrister past Andersen for a 3-0 Vegas lead.

Haula would record his 14th of the campaign on that sequence.

Haula Strikes For The Golden Knights

In the middle frame of the game, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally put themselves on the board and it was former longtime San Jose Sharks mainstay Patrick Marleau. Marleau converted on pass by Connor Brown who sneak the puck past Malcolm Subban that made it a 3-1 game at the 5:07 mark of the 2nd period.

Over three minutes later the Golden Knights restored their 3 goal cushion and to no surprise it was Karlsson who connected off of a pass by Jonathan Marchessault.

The play started by Tornoto’s Martin Marincin who tried to pass the puck behind the Leafs net but his attempted effort bounced off the ref and Marchessault was opportunistic and collected the rubber biscuit and sent a feed to Karlsson in the slot and beat Andersen stick side for a 4-1 lead.

With the middle period winding down the Leafs closed the gap once again and it was Arizona product Auston Matthews who answered the call for Toronto. Matthews connected on a Zach Hyman pass who sent a sharp wrister shot that went off of Subban’s glove for a 4-2 game with 48 seconds left of the period.

In the opening stages of the 3rd period, it was Matthews that continued where the Leafs left off at in the prior frame. Matthews cashed in a rebound shot by Morgan Reilly that found it’s way past Subban that tighten things at 4-3. This was Matthews 100th career point in the NHL.

Nearly 6 minutes after Matthews made a 4-3 game, the Golden Knights found an insurance goal by Marchessault who connected on a Karlsson pass.

Theodore came down the ice against 5 Leafs players and found Karlsson on the far side of the ice in Toronto’s end, Karlsson then sent to puck to Marchessault in the low slot and scored on an exposed 4 by 6 by Andersen for a 5-3 score.

Marchessault Provides Insurance For Vegas In The Third

With 1:36 remaining of the game, history came calling for the Golden Knights as Karlsson would score the franchises first ever hat trick in front of 18,118 hockey fans at T-Mobile Arena. This was also Karlsson’s first hat trick in his NHL playing career and 20th marker of the season with the Golden Knights.

Karlsson hat trick goal would seal the deal for the Golden Knights with a 6-3 victory over Toronto to close out 2017.

Karlsson’s First NHL Career Hat Trick Goal

At the end of the game, the Golden Knights would put another stat in the history books in the NHL as they become the 1st club to have multiple months in their inaugural season in wins. With 11-1-1 in December bested their previous record in October at 8-2-0.

The 6-3 win against the Maple Leafs improved the Golden Knights record on the season at 26-9-2 at 54 points to maintain their lead in the Pacific Division ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.

They would also hold on to their 1st place spot in the Western Conference ahead of Nashville and 2nd place overall position in the league behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who currently has 56 and a 27-8-2 record.

Subban improved his season record too with the Golden Knights for his 10th win of the season at 10-2-0.

Season Series: 1-1 tie.

3 Stars Of The Game

Vegas Golden Knights: William Karlsson (4 point game including 1st NHL Hat Trick)

Vegas Golden Knights: Jonathan Marchessault (1 goal and 1 assist)

Vegas Golden Knights: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Opened the scoring for the Golden Knights)

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