Talk about picking up where the left off, the Vegas Golden Knights opened 2018 preseason play with dominant wins in their first two exhibition games. The Golden Knights opened preseason action with a 7-2 blowout of the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Area followed by a 5-1 victory at Denver over the Colorado Avalanche.
Both games were highlighted by the first appearances from two of the Golden Knights’ marquee offseason acquisitions, Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny. Both contributed early as Pacioretty scored a goal in his debut during the opener. Stasty followed suit in Game Two with a pair of impressive assists.
“That was playoff atmosphere for a preseason game,” Pacioretty said after win, which featured an energetic crowd and a ton of local support following the team’s Stanley Cup Final earlier this year.
Get used to it Max, you’re in Vegas now!
Over 17,500 fans packed T-Mobile Arena Sunday night for the first VGK preseason game, and you could feel it. Coach Gerard Gallant even said some of the new guys on the bench said it “felt like a playoff game.” Vegas fans coming out in full force to see the likes of Wild Bill Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, to join Pacioretty and Stastny in their Vegas debut.
In the opener, the top line for Vegas the preseason game was obviously way better than the Coyotes top line, and they should be better. The Knights dressed some of their top guys from last season, where as Arizona didn’t. It took Vegas 16 seconds into the game for Marchessault to slam home a fat rebound off of a shot from Tomas Nosek, who played along side the top line with Wild Bill and Marchy.
The rout was on and 2018-19 underway in earnest.
Every time Pacioretty touched the puck, every fan in the arena got on the edge of their seat and cheered. Already getting a warm reception from the Vegas faithful, Pacioretty earns himself the second star of the game, finishing with a goal and an assist.
Lost in the offensive frenzy that was this game, goaltender Dylan Ferguson had a solid performance between the pipes, stopping 25-27 shots, including a penalty shot attempt from Vinny Hinostroza. When asked after the game on Fergy’s strategy for the penalty shot, he gave all the credit to his goalie coach
“Just listen to Dave (Prior),” he said.
That’s always a good call, kid.
Preseason DOES matter for this squad
There will be people who say “it’s just preseason it doesn’t count” or “who cares how the top players did they played against rookies.” All of that is obviously true. However, there are a few positives to take away from the first preseason game.
First, Erik Bransstrom, Nic Hague, and Jake Bischoff could very well crack the opening night roster on the VGK blue line. With Nate Schmidt suspended for 20 games, the status of Shea Theodore’s contract dispute still up in the air, that leaves two vacant sports on the VGK blue line. The players mentioned above along with Whitecloud, Hunt, Merrill, and Rheinhart all of a chance to crack the roster. Competition breads excellence.
Second, the top line of Marchessault, Karlsson, and Nosek could be unstoppable. It is great to see that the chemistry between Marchy and Wild Bill hasn’t changed one bit. Considering so many people in the national media are saying how Vegas is about to drop off, or Wild Bill is a fluke and he won’t repeat his season from last year, they have just as much to prove this year as they did last year.
Also, look for Nosek to get more playing time this year. The young winger got faster and quicker this offseason, according to coach Gallant, and it showed Sunday night, tallying 3 assists.
Lastly, Pacioretty is having fun again. It was no secret that Pacioretty carried one of the hardest burdens in all of hockey, and that is being the captain of the Canadiens.
“It’s like I was a kid again” Max said after the game.
The fans went crazy for him every time he touched the puck, he was blown away by the atmosphere of “The Fortress,” and most importantly, he showcased his skills and what he brings to the team. He can very well net 35-plus goals this year.
Oh yeah, that was also the first home, preseason win in Knights franchise history. New year, still having “firsts.” The Golden Knights return to preseason action tonight in Los Angeles against the rival Kings at 7:30.
Vegas Golden Knights hockey is back.