Vegas Golden Knights Remain Undefeated After an Emotional First Game at T-Mobile Arena

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 10: James Neal #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates with teammate Reilly Smith #19 after Neal scored a first-period goal against the Arizona Coyotes during the Golden Knights' inaugural regular-season home opener at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 10: James Neal #18 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates with teammate Reilly Smith #19 after Neal scored a first-period goal against the Arizona Coyotes during the Golden Knights' inaugural regular-season home opener at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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After an emotional opening night, the Vegas Golden Knights gave the city of Las Vegas a reason to smile.

The Vegas Golden Knights opened up at T- Mobile Arena against the Arizona Coyotes. Before the game, we had the pre-game ceremonies. And it was absolutely mesmerizing to watch.

Las Vegas Heroes from the mass shooting were honored and introduced with the players of the Golden Knights on the ice. It was very cool seeing doctors, police officers, firefighters and nurses honored on the ice for their brave work. There was a 58 second moment of silence for the lives that were lost in the tragedy  As if that wasn’t enough, what came next brought fans into one of the loudest applause of the night.

The Golden Knights brought out the survivors to center ice with Owner Bill Foley for the ceremonial puck drop. And to top it all off, Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland had an incredible speech for the fans that you need to watch. The Coyotes also stood together with the Golden Knights as an act of respect. I loved every second of that Golden Knights ceremony.

Don’t forget folks we still have a hockey game to cover. There was tons of action right out of the shoot. It only took over two and a half minutes for the first goal in Golden Knights history at home. For anybody who took Tomas Nosek in your first goal pool, you’re the big winner! Nosek’s quick release entirely fooled Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta and put Vegas up 1-0 early.

Almost two full minutes later the Golden Knights tacked on another goal, this one from an unlikely source. Engelland blasted one from the point off a nice setup by Brendan Leipsic to put the Golden Knights up by two. Can’t write up a script much better than that one.

The Golden Knights weren’t done pouring it on in the first period. Two minutes after the bomb by Engelland, it was “Real Deal” James Neal getting his fourth goal of the season. Defensemen Brayden McNabb wristed one through to Raanta who left out a huge rebound for Neal to spin around and find the opening on the blocker side. As a result, Raanta got pulled and in came Coyotes backup goalie Louis Domingue.

The rout was on from there as the Golden Knights power play got to work. Vegas was on a short five on three advantage, and the Coyotes killed the first penalty, but Neal once again found the back of the net and scored the first ever power play goal in franchise history. His fifth of the campaign gave the Knights a 4-0 lead, and the fans were the loudest they’ve been all night.

The Coyotes finally got on the board thanks to a double deflection from Tobias Reider. There was nothing goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury could do on this shot. The Coyotes relentless forecheck on this sequence was a sight to see.

The first period ended, and the fans got their money’s worth. The Vegas crowd serenaded the Golden Knights after the best period of hockey in the team history. Great first frame for the Vegas Golden Knights leading 4-1.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 10: Deryk Engelland #5 of the Vegas Golden Knights addresses the fans on the tragedy of the prior week in Las Vegas prior to the game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes during the Golden Knights’ inaugural regular-season home opener at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada. On October 1, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 450 after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 10: Deryk Engelland #5 of the Vegas Golden Knights addresses the fans on the tragedy of the prior week in Las Vegas prior to the game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes during the Golden Knights’ inaugural regular-season home opener at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada. On October 1, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 450 after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

In the second period, the game settled down quite a bit. Not a ton of scoring chances on each end. The Golden Knights maintained the pace of play and did a real swell job limiting the Coyotes chances. Fleury saved all nine shots he faced in the second period.

With over 17 minutes gone, Leipsic made a beautiful play on a blind backhand pass to Oscar Lindberg who sniped one past Domingue for his first of the year. Leipsic had a fantastic game tonight for the Golden Knights, and his effort on this play shows it.

The Knights had a 5-1 lead heading into the final frame, and the team finally started to show some wear and tear. Geeting outshot 9-0 in the first eight minutes is not an ideal situation. However, Fleury was up for the task and did a great job keeping the Coyotes at bay for a second straight game. Eventually, the Coyotes broke through Fleury as Kevin Connauton’s shot deflected past Fleury. That’s another one where the Knights goaltender had no chance of stopping.

The clock hit zero, and the crowd once again came to their feet for a standing ovation as “Viva Las Vegas” was blaring through T-Mobile Arena. The night was a big success on the ice, in the stands and also for the City of Las Vegas. Both teams stayed and saluted the fans after the game.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 10: Oscar Lindberg #24 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates his goal at 17:22 of the second period and is joined by Deryk Engelland #5 against the Arizona Coyotes during the Golden Knights’ inaugural regular-season home opener at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 10: Oscar Lindberg #24 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates his goal at 17:22 of the second period and is joined by Deryk Engelland #5 against the Arizona Coyotes during the Golden Knights’ inaugural regular-season home opener at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Golden Knights made NHL history as the only expansion team to start 3-0. This team loves to keep creating history so it’ll be fun to see what other milestones they achieve this year. All in all, a fantastic effort from the Golden Knights for the first 40 minutes.

Next: Can James Neal Score 30 Goals This Season?

My third star of the game was Brendan Leipsic due to the insane amount of plays he made coming into the offensive zone. My second star is James Neal with two goals that ultimately put Vegas over the top. And obviously, my number one star was none other than Deryk Engelland. Engelland’s speech to start the night, his rocket past Raanta and his solid defensive play throughout the game earned the number one star.

Wasn’t this fun Vegas sports fans? We’re going to it all over again when the Vegas Golden Knights continue their homestand on Friday where they are set to battle the Detroit Red Wings.