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Greatest Games: Vegas Golden Knights – Responding To Tragedy

The expansion franchise hit the ice for its home opener and helped a devastated city start to heal.

No. 1 – Oct. 10, 2017 – Vegas 5, Arizona 2

On the ice, it was the first home game in Golden Knights history. But off the ice, the city was in pain in the aftermath of the most horrific mass shooting in American history. Fifty-eight people were dead.

The Golden Knights played their first two games of their inaugural season on the road and won both. They arrived home to as much fanfare as possible with the city still reeling from the tragedy. The game against the Coyotes would go on as planned, but the opening ceremony took on an added dimension. Each player was introduced in typical fashion and accompanying them onto the ice were first responders who were involved in helping the survivors of the shooting.

Then, Knights defender and Vegas resident Deryk Engelland took the microphone. His one-minute speech set an amazing tone. He talked about the city healing and thanked the first responders, then closed with “We are Vegas Strong.” While ‘1 October’ would never be forgotten, at that point it could at least temporarily be set aside.

Game on. Already up 1-0 on an early goal by Tomas Nosek, Engelland brought the crowd to its feet again, but this time, there were no tears. The hometown hero sent a slapshot past Antti Raanta to give Vegas a 2-0 lead. James Neal scored twice before the first period was over, chasing Raanta and paving the way to a 5-2 win.

The expansion Golden Knights went on to become one of the best sports stories of all-time. Later in the season, the team commissioned a banner with the names of all 58 victims that was raised to the rafters of T-Mobile Arena, while also retiring the number.

No. 2 – April 26, 2018 – Vegas 7, San Jose 0
Marc-Andre Fleury notched his third shutout in five playoff games as the Golden Knights blasted the Sharks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal.

No. 3 – May 28, 2018 – Vegas 6, Washington 4
The Golden Knights win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final on home ice thanks in part to Ryan Reaves’ game-tying goal early in the third period.

GREATEST PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME

William Karlsson
March 18, 2018 – Vegas 4, Calgary 0
It’s tempting to put Marc-Andre Fleury’s 42-save shutout from this same game in the spotlight, but Karlsson had a 20-minute stretch that aptly represented his stunning 2017-18 campaign.

With a 1-0 lead on the Flames,the second period become the “Wild Bill Show.” Karlsson put Vegas up by two as he finished a 2-on-1 by roofing a shot past Flames goalie Mike Smith. Less than seven minutes later, Karlsson took a pass from Jonathan Marchessault and slammed home his second goal. Only 1:48 later, he completed the natural hat trick by ripping a shot inside the post.

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