When the Arizona Coyotes got off their team charter at McCarron Airport I don’t think they envisioned being part of NHL history in Vegas would go the way it did.
Less than seven minutes into the Las Vegas Golden Knights inaugural home opener the Coyotes were down 3-0. Ten minutes in it was 4-0. All thanks to these beauties:
It was like a senior paddling a freshman. Or like Tom Brady with the ball on the final drive. You couldn’t stop it if you wanted to. And even though I think most people felt the Golden Knights would ride the wave of the emotional home opener to victory I don’t think anyone could foresee the beat down they gave. It was more spectacular than any show on the Vegas strip, for sure.
When the first period throttling was over Vegas held a 4-1 lead. They would go on to finish of Arizona to the tune of a 5-2 lobsided thumping.
Here are some of the key notes from the game:
- Antti Raanta allowed 3 goals on the first 5 shots of the game before Yotes coach Rick Tocchet had nearly rage quit and pulled him. As a team Vegas scored on 4 of their first 7 shots.
- 11 Golden Knights players had a point or more in this one.
- The Coyotes couldn’t have started the game more sloppy if they tried. Turnovers everywhere, unforced at that, poor passing, and an obvious look of being overwhelmed. It was a huge moment not only from a historical hockey perspective, but also for the people of Las Vegas as well. And it just completely bulldozed the Coyotes. They had no chance.
- James Neal is as on fire as it gets. NBA Jam “on fire” even. It’s insane. He’s now pumped home 5 goals in just the first three games of the season and most of them were significant firsts for the Vegas franchise. He has more goals than the Montreal Canadiens have as a team through four games.
- Louis Domingue played excellent in relief for Raanta. Which is pretty damn impressive when you consider the amount of blood in the water when he entered the game. He’d finish the night with a respectable. 914 save percentage, giving up just one even strength goal, and one power play goal.
- It shouldn’t take long for free agents to realize Vegas is a great place to live and play. The energy in T-Mobile Arena last night should help any future sales pitch immensely. What an environment it was last night.
- Brendan Leipsic’s play to set up Oscar Lindberg for the 5th Golden goal was a thing of beauty. He danced his way into the slot, was forced wide, maintained possession, and when he ran out of room he threw a Magic Johnson-esque no-look backhand dish to Lindberg. Gorgeous. Leipsic finished the night with two assists.
- Las Vegas dominated the faceoff dot. And it wasn’t even close. As a team they killed it, winning 68% of all draws. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare led the way statistically, ripping off a 9-for-11 (82%) performance. Cody Eakin took the bulk of draws and went 19-for-28 (68%). Domination.
The Knights will be back it Friday night against the Detroit Red Wings. 4-0 is on the horizon.
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