The Vegas Golden Knights have shocked the NHL world, starting the season 10-5-1. They became close as a team due to the unthinkable shooting just prior to the season. Tragedy struck their city on October 1st, when a gunman opened fire and killed 58 civilians. Another 546 were injured.
Outside of Deryk Engelland who lived in Vegas, none of the new players had much connection to the city, but that changed significantly after October 1st. Players went to the hospitals. They spoke to fans. They connected with the residents and the city rallied around them.
They became closer as a team and to the city because of it, according to David Perron.
“It is tough to compare real life and sports, but probably it did help us. I don’t want to make it all about us, because it is about the city in that regard,” said Perron.
“The first game we had, we took a step back as an organization and really put the city forward. The 58-second moment of silence was something I’ve never experienced before. You heard nothing in the rink. There were a lot of emotions and it probably unified the city a bit, and if we can try to help the healing a little bit we are trying to do that. We are happy with our start, but we have a long way to go,” continued Perron.
The Golden Knights’ work ethic and accountability to one another has them off to a great start. Injuries to their top-three goalies have them relying on Maxime Lagace and he’s doing his best, however, he isn’t ready to be an NHL starter. Lagace will start his seventh game tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury had four starts, while Oscar Dansk and Malcolm Subban each started three.
Subban is on this brief two-game road trip and is getting close to returning, but head coach Gerard Gallant has preached no excuses all year. The players have bought into it. They won’t roll over. They want to keep winning and hopefully inspiring a city that desperately needs something to rally around after the horrible tragedy on October 1st.
Sports can be an escape from real life, but in special circumstances, it can also be used as an outlet to bring a team and its city closer.
Drake Caggiula skated this morning and told me he is a game time decision. He took a shot on the tongue of his skate, just below the bottom of his shin pad where there is no protection. It is on a pressure point and every time he takes a stride there is pressure on the spot where he was hit. It is just a matter of it not impacting his ability to push off.
Andrej Sekera was on the ice this morning and he was working on more specific game situational things than when we saw him before the road trip. This Saturday will be six months since he had surgery. We could see him before the end of the month.
Gallant rolls four lines. Their top-three lines have all played between 11-14 minutes at even strength. Vegas’ second PP has been quite good using two D-men in Miller and Hunt and they have seven and five PP points respectively, while Karlsson and Smith have five and four points. That unit has been the more dangerous of the two.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Vegas has allowed 24 goals in their last six road games. They have struggled on the road, while the Oilers are 3-6 on home ice. The Oilers get a boost from facing a fourth string goalie and win 5-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: David Perron scores his sixth goal and 15th point. He is off to his best start since he had 28 goals and 57 points as a member of the Edmonton Oilers in 2013/2014. Since then he has scored 17, 12 and 18 goals, but buries his sixth of the season tonight.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid has one five-point game and 16 three-point games in his career, but tonight he produces his first four-point game. He doesn’t have a 5×5 point in five games and changes that in the first period.
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Source: Jason Gregor, Verified Twitter Account, 11/14/2017, 1:00pm