With a sword, a golden knight cut through a dusenjet. Impossible? Not in las vegas. With a breathtaking laser show on the ice, the golden knights field hockey team welcomed the winnipeg jets to the third nhl final game in the western conference.
Even more spectacular, however, are the performances of the team from the desert of nevada. Golden knights went 2-1 – two wins away from stanley cup finals. One way or another, the inaugural season of the 31. NHL team historic.
One record after another, the golden knights are rebounding as a so-called expansion team, a newly formed team. With 51 victories in the regular season, for example, they pulverized the best mark of the florida panthers (33). "It is perhaps the best story in the recent past for the league," called the U.S. Magazine "forbes". The broadcasting TV station NBC is also happy about the best ratings. "The nation is fascinated by the incredible story of the golden knights," declared sam flood, executive producer at NBC.
Yet the team didn’t even exist last summer. General manager george mcphee and coach gerard gallant selected one player from each of the 30 nhl teams in the expansion draft before the start of the season. No stars, but professionals from the second or third tier. "Nobody thought at the time we’d be where we are now," vegas keeper marc-andre fleury said after a 4-2 win in game three of the best-of-seven series against the jets.
Torhuter fleury, nicknamed "flower," is emblematic of the sensational team. In pittsburgh he lost his regular spot, in las vegas the 33-year-old really blossoms. "With flower in goal, you always have a chance to win," said teammate james neal. Jonathan marchessault, double-goal scorer on wednesday, and william karlsson are also on their way to becoming world-class players. "I’m so proud to be a part of this group. We deserve to be here," enthused fleury after second success in western conference finals.
Before the season, no expert believed that the golden knights could even sniff the play-offs. Even after the surprisingly good regular season, the field hockey world was still skeptical. "There’s no way they’re going to be better than us at the end of the season," LA kings star drew doughty said before the first playoff round. Doughty’s californians were whipped 4-0 by the golden knights on the road. Whereas the vegas odds at the bookmakers on the stanley cup victory in october were 500:1, the odds are now 4:1.
However, one reason for the success also has to do with a tragedy. On 1. October 2017 a u.S. Man shot 58 people and injured nearly 850 from a hotel room in las vegas. Golden knights players immediately donated $300,000 to bereaved families and visited hospitals. "This brought us all down to a common, personal level," said deryk engelland. Five days after the assassination, the vegas golden knights began their inaugural NHL season with a 2-1 loss at dallas. It was not to be the last victory.