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.

FloHockey’s Western Conference All-Star Rosters

© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports NHL: St. Louis Blues at Carolina Hurricanes

Welcome back for the Western Conference installment of FloHockey’s NHL All-Star lineup predictions.

Catch up on the Eastern Conference selections right here.The NHL is opting for a third year of the three-on-three format. Each division has a team of 11 players — six forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies — with at least one representative from each team.

FloHockey’s Eastern Conference All-Star Rosters

© Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports NHL: San Jose Sharks at Florida Panthers

By Jacob Messing

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Detroit's Darren Helm On Both Sides Of A Big Hit

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning

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© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Calgary Flames at Montreal Canadiens

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© Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild

By Jacob Messing

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Strength And Pain: The Hardest Hits Of The Week

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators

By Jacob Messing

Another weekly dose of strength and pain coming together as FloHockey compiles the best hits from around the world right here.

High And Wide: Wheeler, Winnipeg, And We’ll Call It Upper-Body

© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights

By Jacob Messing

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost 10 straight games, the Metropolitan is demolishing the Eastern Conference, and the two types of injuries are flaring up.