LOS ANGELES – A year ago, the Vegas Golden Knights had no players on their list and Gerard Gallant spent four days in his new job as the expansion's first head coach. On Tuesday, Vegas became the first franchise in NHL history to sweep a postseason series in its first season when it defeated the Los Angeles Kings 1-0.
The Golden Knights will be the winner of the San Jose Sharks-Anaheim Ducks series in the next round. San Jose currently leads the series 3-0.
It was already a historic season for the Golden Knights after the Pacific Division to attract the first modern-era expansion team in the NHL, NBA, NFL or MLB Division in its first season, excluding mergers and expansion divisions.
They are now rewriting the record books in the postseason. With the sweep on Tuesday, the Golden Knights were just the third team from NHL, NBA and MLB to complete a four-game sweep in their very first playoff series. The Pittsburgh Penguins did so in 1
A big reason for Vegas & # 39; s success this season and in the playoffs has been the game of goalkeeper Marc – Undre Fleury, who was selected by Vegas after helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup three times , He now has 66 career-axle season wins, passing Dominik Hasek (65) for the 11th most in NHL history among goalies. On Tuesday, Fleury's 12th career break after the season, along with Terry Sawchuk for the 10th place in the history of the NHL.
"They remind us or tell us about these records, but it's not something we talk or shoot about," Fleury said. "All season long, I did not have any record of expansion teams, we just do what a normal team would do, we just play the game and try to win, that's it."
No one expected much from Vegas this season. Many had the Golden Knights as the worst team in the league after the expansion training, which they dwarfed as Fleury, James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault, Deryk Engelland, David Perron, William Karlsson, Nate Schmidt, Erik Haula, Cody Eakin, William Carrier and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
The star and face of the franchise would always be Fleury, but no one thought he would become a catalyst for another Stanley Cup contender.
"He had three experience winning Stanley Cups all those years at the Pittsburgh Penguins, we knew when we got him we had a superstar goalkeeper, we knew that," said Gallant. "He was very supportive of our team, he made our team better and more confident and everything started with the first 10 games of the season when we were 8-2 and he's a big part of our group."
The Golden Knights swept the Kings despite seven goals in the series and only three goals from Los Angeles. Vegas's seven goals are two less than any other team has scored in a best-of-seven sweep in NHL history.
"It feels great," Marchessault said. "We all came with a chip on our shoulder, and we just look at the next game, if we play right away, I think we can go a long way, but we can not look too far now and catch the rest that we'll have here and be ready when the second round starts. "
The game-winning goal on Tuesday came from Brayden McNabb, who played the previous three seasons for the Kings before leaving Vegas was selected in the expansion draft. It was McNabbs first postseason goal.
"I'm not a big offensive guy, but to score a goal and get our team going, it felt pretty good, I was just happy to get the team started," McNabb said. When Vegas was ready to leave the Staples Center after winning and sweeping the first playoff series on Tuesday night, Gallant could not help but remember what an incredible journey it was in his first year as the team's first head coach so far. 19659002] "It's unreal," said Gallant. "If you think back to the beginning of October, when the season started, we thought about competing and playing hard, and now we're off to the second round of the playoffs, we're playing good hockey and we've got experienced people and one good hockey team, so we're pretty proud of it and really happy.
"We'll have a week off to prepare for the next one. It is great. It was a great feeling. "