If Game 1 is indication of what is it to come in the Stanley Cup finals, the opening ceremonies in Vegas will be forgotten as the real show will take place on the ice.
The Vegas Golden Knights are exactly that – golden, and with a slogan “Welcome to Impossible” welcoming those in attendance and the viewing audience, impossible is exactly what they deliver. The slogan is now part of the Vegas landscape, written on white towels, adjourning T-shirts, mugs and just about anything else you can imagine – and for fans, they are eating it up.
Last night’s opener saw 10 goals, the lead changing hand five times and an unprecedented action from beginning to end. Scoring first for the Golden Nights was Sault Ste. Marie’s Colin Miller at 7:55 of the first period.
This led to a slew of goals, both from the Washington Capitals responding, to the Golden Knights defending. Brett Connolly responded for the Capitals scoring at the 14:41 mark after deflecting a shot in front of Fleury. Less than a minute later the Capitals took the lead after Nicklas Backstrom picked up a wraparound attempt by T.J. Oshie.
As the first-period clock was ticking down, the William Karlsson and Jonathon Marchessault went two-on-two, sent the shot wide, only to be picked up by Reilly Smith whose shot missed the net and was pushed in by Karlsson to tie the game.
As the second period got underway, a shot by Marchessault on net was deflected by Braden Holtby and chipped in by Reilly Smith to give the Knights a 3-2 lead. At 9:29, Washington tied the game yet again after John Carlson found himself alone in from of Fleury.
The third period saw the game tied the Capitals Tom Wilson score less than two minutes in to give Washington the lead, only to then have Ryan Reeves of the Golden Knights make It 4-4 minutes later and the games was once again tied.
For Washington, that was the last lead they would see as the Golden Knights, with just less than half of the period remaining took the lead and this time, they kept it after Tomas Nosek scored his second of the night. With the goalie pulled, the Knights would score their sixth of the game to take the lead in the finals.
“Welcome to Impossible” – we think so!
For Ryan Reeves, the night was a wild one. Joking after the game, Reeves said,
“I was saving them, I don’t know if you guys knew but I told everybody I was going to save them for the playoffs.”
Game 1 will be one to remember, not only for the spectacular Vegas-like opening, a star-studded affair that included Michael Buffer and illusionist Criss Angel but for the lead changes and non-stop action that kept fans on the edge of their seats.
Nate Schmidt, who plays defence for the Golden Knights found the energy was intense, saying,
“A lot of up and down, man, I got to tell ya. A lot of lead changes, right? A lot of times when you feel like the game’s going a direction – you score, then they score – a lot of emotion.”
“You’ve just got to make sure you keep it in check. It was a pretty emotional game for everybody. I think the fans got their money’s worth tonight.”
Washington got a glimpse of the speed and determination of the Golden Knights last night. Nicklas Backstrom, who scored one goal and earned an assist last night, he was disappointed in the way the Capitals played overall saying,
“The good thing is we scored four goals, but I think we’re all aware we’ve got to be better next game. Vegas is a good team, they have a lot of speed and are creating a lot and we’ve got to make sure we’re on the right side in the defensive zone.
Game two of the Stanley Cup playoffs will take place tomorrow night at 8pm in Vegas. It will then head to the countries capital for games 3 and 4 before returning to Vegas for Game 5 – that is unless the Knights sweep the series in four, and as they say in Vegas – “Welcome to Impossible”