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Golden Knights raise banner, defeat Kraken on opening night

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

The Vegas Golden Knights accomplished all they set out to on opening night defeating the Seattle Kraken 4-1 after raising their Stanley Cup championship banner.


The VGK picked up right where they left off last spring, showcasing timely goal scoring and elite goaltending to grab the win.


“We weren’t on top of our game early,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “As I said I’m not surprised, I figured we’d get to it eventually and it turned out it was, a lot of that had to do with [goalie Adin Hill] early.”


Hill was especially sharp for Vegas to start the season, making 32 saves on 33 shots, and sparking the Knight’s offense with a brilliant early save on Seattle goalie Andre Burakovsky that led to the game’s opening goal by center Chandler Stephenson.


Vegas would get the game’s next goal too, this time on a fluky bounce with right-wing Jonathan Marchessault batting the puck into the net off a Kraken stick.


After taking a 2-0 lead into the second period, the teams traded goals in the middle frame before center Jack Eichel sealed the Vegas win with an empty net goal in the final moments.


The win didn’t come without some consequences for the Golden Knights.


Vegas, already down two of its starting defensemen, lost two forwards on opening night.


Left-wing William Carrier left the game due to an upper-body injury in the second period, and center Brett Howden received a major penalty and game misconduct for a hit to the head on Seattle’s Brandon Tanev early in the third period.


That major penalty was another key point in the game in which Vegas prevented Seattle from gaining momentum.


“I thought our penalty kill did an excellent job,” Hill said.” It was kind of an area of emphasis during camp just trying to work on it and try to be aggressive… and I thought we did that tonight.”


While the game was the focal point of the night, the team built a great deal of excitement for the pregame banner-raising ceremony.


The team would be excused for a sluggish start after such an emotional ceremony, but rather harnessed the emotion into their play and found a way to win.


The banner itself was raised with a Vegas flair, coming out of a slot machine after Captain Mark Stone pulled a giant lever.


The players put their arms around one another and watched in awe as the final acknowledgment of their achievement ascended to the rafters to put a pin in the 2022-23 season and offer closure before moving ahead this year.


“The slot machine was freaking cool I thought,” Cassidy said. “The banner itself too was a great design.”


Cassidy went on to note the detail that went into the banner, something that also caught Hill’s eye.


“It was cool seeing the banner go up,” Hill said. I haven't seen a banner with that much detail on it before.”


Stephenson was so excited that he essentially downplayed the two points on the line in the opener, and remarked how the banner raising was the key event of the night.


Appearing on FOX Sports Las Vegas during the second intermission, he told broadcasters Dan D’Uva and Gary Lawless that “it would be nice to get the win, but I think everyone is going to remember what happened before the game.”


The VGK will continue their title defense on Thursday with a trip to San Jose to face the Sharks before coming back to T-Mobile Arena to take on Anaheim on Saturday.


The end goal may be the same for Vegas, but they’ll have to take things one step at a time, checking off boxes along the way as they seek to capture another Stanley Cup championship.

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