(Photo by Getty Images)
Las Vegas–With the Vegas Golden Knights magical inaugural season long gone we take a look back at our top ten moments in year one of the franchise.
#1 Home Opener Pregame Ceremonies At T-Mobile Arena
After to the “Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting” that claimed the lives of 58 souls and injured 851 people, the Golden Knights organization decided to forego their original fan fest itinerary for the franchises inaugural home opener.
Instead, they honored the first responders in the community that were involved during that horrific tragedy as each player and members of the Golden Knights escorted them out onto the ice in front of 18,191 fans at T-Mobile Arena.
In addition that was followed up by a very moving and touching message by long time Vegas resident and Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland with his “We Are Vegas Strong” speech.
Golden Knights Honored “Vegas First Responders” and Deryk Engelland’s “We Are Vegas Strong Speech”
What the organization did for the community that night in front of their fans was something special that it should never be forgotten. In addition, the Golden Knights would give their fans their first ever home opener win in franchise history by beating the Arizona Coyotes by a final score of 5-2.
#2 Winning The Western Conference Championship vs. Winnipeg and Clarence Campbell Bowl Presentation
Before the regular season began, many picked the Golden Knights to finish dead last in the standings and not even make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Well they proved everyone wrong by having an incredible first season in the NHL and in doing so they broke many expansion records along the way and ended up winning the 2018 Western Conference Championship against the Winnipeg Jets.
Winnipeg native Ryan Reaves scored the clinching goal that won the Western Conference Championship for the Golden Knights.
#3 Capturing The Pacific Division Crown (A Little Help From William Karlsson)
It was on the night where the Golden Knights held their first ever fan appreciation game vs. the San Jose Sharks.
The “Golden Goal” that helped the Golden Knights capture the franchises first ever Pacific Division Title was thanks a beautiful shorthanded marker for William Karlsson in the third period of the contest.
Karlsson undressed San Jose netminder Martin Jones with his between the legs move and scored the go ahead goal that sent the crowd at T-Mobile Arena into a frenzy.
Not only did he give the Golden Knights the 3-2 lead on San Jose in the third period, his 42nd goal of the season clinched the Pacific Division for Vegas.
#4 Clinching A Berth Into The Stanley Cup Playoffs
Clinching a playoff spot is one thing but to do it at home in front of your fans is something else.
For the Golden Knights they were writing off firsts left and right over the course of their inaugural season and this one was definitely a big one for them.
A crowd of 18,326 at T-Mobile Arena witnessed history on March 26, 2018 as the Golden Knights punched their ticket in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time with a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
That night, Fleury made 28 saves that night which helped Vegas get their first Stanley Cup Playoff berth.
What made the night even more special was Head Coach Gerard Gallant getting his 200th win of his NHL coaching career.
#5 Colin Miller Scores First Ever Stanley Cup Final Goal
In the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final series against the Washington Capitals the Golden Knights recorded a milestone first in their history and the player that wrote it into their history books was none other than defenseman Colin Miller.
The Golden Knights were on the power play and it was Miller with the takeaway along the boards in Capitals territory. Washington gave him a gift with ample time and space up top where he unloaded his shot that beat Braden Holtby which sent the crowd of 18,575 at T-Mobile Arena into a frenzy.
#6 First Ever Playoff Series Sweep Against Los Angeles
The Golden Knights entered game four of the series against their Pacific Division rival Los Angeles Kings with a 3-0 lead and eyes were on Fleury who had an impressive .970 save percentage heading into the contest at Staples Center.
His outstanding performance in net for the Golden Knights book ended the series with a 31 save shutout showing for the first ever playoff sweep in franchise history.
Another highlight of that night was former Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb scoring the series clincher against his old club that sent the Golden Knights into the second round of the playoffs.
#7 Erik Haula Nets First Ever Stanley Cup Playoff Overtime Goal
In the second game of their series against the Los Angeles Kings, the Golden Knights recorded another first in franchise history when the contest not only went to a first overtime period but a second one as well.
The score was deadlocked at 1-1 with less 4:45 to go in the fifth period. On the scoring play James Neal walked the puck into the Kings end of ice and with a no look pass saw Erik Haula skating on Jonathan Quick’s left side where with plenty of time and space took in and snuck it five hole to secure the 2-1 victory in double overtime.
#8 Marc-André Fleury Records 400th Career Win Against Flyers
This past season Golden Knights goaltender Marc-André Fleury became the latest NHL goalie to join the exclusive 400 and over club when Vegas defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a final score of 3-2 back on March 12, 2018.
For Fleury, that win for him secured his 28th life time victory against a former divisional rival. That night Fleury made 39 saves that earned him a .950 save percentage for his awesome performance between the pipes for the Golden Knights.
#9 Oscar Dansk Gets Golden Knights First Ever Franchise Shutout
On October 27 the Golden Knights hosted the Colorado Avalanche and the starter in goal that game was Oscar Dansk. The Golden Knights were at the end of a seven game home stand during that part of the regular season and what they did to finish it off was an impressive 7-0 victory.
With the offensive side of the game taken care of, Dansk took care of business between the pipes for Vegas and stopped all 32 shots that Colorado threw at him over the course of the contest and in doing that he would earn the Golden Knights their first ever shutout in franchise history.
Not only did he record the first ever shutout for the Golden Knights, it would also be his first of his young NHL career.
#10 William Karlsson Scores First Ever Hat Trick In Golden Knights History
Back on New Years Eve 2018 the Golden Knights welcomed the Toronto Maple Leafs into town for the first time in their history and that was a night to remember for Wild Bill.
Karlsson prior to becoming a Golden Knights player never in his career netted a hat trick when he played for the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets so on New Years Eve night 2018 it was well worth the wait for him.
He would score a goal in each of the three periods against the Maple Leafs for his first ever career hat trick. The Golden Knights ended up beating the Leafs by a 6-3 final.
With the 2018-19 season slowly approaching we look forward to witnessing some more franchise moments in Golden Knights history.
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