Knights Have ‘Golden’ NHL Debut

© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-Vegas Golden Knights at Vancouver Canucks

By Jacob Messing

The past few months have been full of firsts for the Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s 31st franchise.

In March they signed Brandon Wheat Kings center Reid Duke, in June they sifted through opposing rosters during the expansion draft and selected one player from each team, and later in the summer they unveiled their home jerseys.

Not a bad few months of work.

But their most impressive feat yet came on Sunday, when they routed the Vancouver Canucks 9-4 in the franchise’s inaugural preseason game in a visit to Rogers Arenas in Canada.

As electric as the game was, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant attempted to temper expectations, joking with the media that he “hopes fans don’t expect [nine goals] every night.”

That may be hard to do with performances like Tyler Wong’s display. The 21-year-old Canadian posted a hat trick, although he seemed to follow his coach’s tone after the game.

"The puck was finding me in good spots," Wong told reporters. "I was able to bury them."

The Knights came out strong and killed 1:44 of five-on-three early in the first period before scoring on a power play of their own. On a feed from sixth overall pick Cody Glass, Wong buried a backhander nearly five minutes in. The undrafted Wong signed with Vegas after a 43-goal, 89-point season in 79 games with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Canucks tied it up a few minutes later with Brock Boeser’s fourth goal in two games before Tomas Hyka reestablished the lead. Vancouver defenseman Jordan Subban made it 2-2.

Former Red Wings prospect Tomas Nosek chipped in a goal and added an assist on Wong’s second of the game to close the period 4-2. Defenseman Brad Hunt tallied three assists in the first period as well.

Alex Tuch scored the lone second period goal, giving the Knights a 5-2 lead entering the final 20 minutes, where another six-goal period awaited.

Canucks prospect Philip Holm cut his team’s deficit down to two before Vegas scored another three goals in a span of four minutes. Wong recorded the franchise’s first hat trick before Hyka added his second of the night. Nick Suzuki, the 13th overall pick in June added an unassisted goal.

Boeser scored his second of the night, this time on the man advantage, before Paul Thompson closed the scoring in favor of Vegas, 9-4.

It was a game played largely with non-NHL rosters, but a nine-goal game certainly had to put a smile on the faces behind the newest team. Even though coach Gallant is preaching patience and lowered expectations, this is an auspicious beginning for the Golden Knights.

Perhaps a more NHL-based roster will be on the ice for Vegas when the Knights visit the Colorado Avalanche at 6:00 PM on Tuesday night.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

High And Wide: Washington, Wild, and Woeful Starts

© Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils

By Jacob Messing

The overhauled Arizona Coyotes remain winless through five games, the Buffalo Sabres grab their first win, three Washington Capitals sit atop the scoring race, and the Erik Karlsson-less Ottawa Senators have grabbed at least a point in all five games.

Bauer Motown Classic Brings Future NHL Talent To Detroit

© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets

By Jacob Messing

The Furious Return Of Alex Ovechkin

© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens

By Jacob Messing

High And Wide: Hot Starts, Hat Tricks, And Humbled Champs

© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

By Jacob Messing

Winnipeg Jets One Piece Away From Flight

© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-Winnipeg Jets at Calgary Flames

By Jacob Messing

The Atlanta Thrashers joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1999, and the journey to a serious postseason run has been anything but smooth. In 16 seasons, the organization has relocated, played eight playoff games, won zero, and morphed into the Winnipeg Jets, all while struggling to balance offense, defense, and goaltending.

UNLV Hockey Assistant Coach Injured In Las Vegas Attack

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UNLV hockey assistant coach Nick Robone was shot in the chest on Sunday night during the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which left 59 dead and over 500 injured. The 28-year-old was immediately hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery after a successful surgery. 

20 Predictions For The 2017-18 NHL Season

© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers

By Jacob Messing

It’s finally October, and with the new NHL season set to start on Wednesday predictions are flying all over the place. It’s just a part of coverage, like toothless smiles and trash talk are apart of the game.

Players Question Rule Changes -- And They Have A Point

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports NHL: New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings

By Jacob Messing

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg got straight to the point when asked about the NHL’s new rules.

“It's slowing down the game; it's almost mocking the game,” Zetterberg told MLive’s Ansar Khan.

St. Louis Blues And Other NHL Teams Fight Through Early-Season Injuries

© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

By Jacob Messing

With the puck set to drop October 4 for the new NHL season, a handful of injuries suffered during the preseason may hinder some teams getting off to a hot start.

'If You Ain't First, You're Last': Erie Otters Take Step Back In OHL

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By Jacob Messing

A historic Erie Otters season ended suddenly in late May when host Windsor defeated the regular season champions 4-3 for the Memorial Cup, given to the winner of a four-team tournament played